Thursday, April 23, 2009
In Our Opinion...
Yonkers Police Commissioner Hartnett Continues To Ignore Police Brutality
In our April 16th issue, Damon K. Jones, Executive Director of the Westchester Chapter of the National Black Police Association declared, in a press release, “There is hypocrisy in Westchester politics. Why did the County Executive and County Legislators push a Shot Spotter System that
is neither preventative nor a true quality-of-life investment for the residents of Mount Vernon and Yonkers, while residents of Ardsley receive monies for school improvement, road maintenance, and wireless systems for their schools?”
Jones was essentially questioning whether the $3 million that the County had agreed to spend on the state-of-the-art technology to more promptly locate the scene of gunfire and probable violence on the streets of Yonkers and Mount Vernon might not have been spent more effectively on other, more fundamental, police department equipment such as computers and working car cams in squad cars. He further suggested that some of the funds might have been better allocated for preventative measures such as job placement, outreach and educational assistance in coordination
with Operation Protect. Officer Jones also expressed his views in The Journal News to which Yonkers Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett saw fit to respond on Sunday, April 12th.
Responding to Jones’ position, Hartnett accurately indicated that Jones felt the taxpayer funds “would be better spent on long-term solutions to long-standing problems in both communities,” Mount Vernon and Yonkers. Then Hartnett gave Jones the benefit of the doubt declaring, “Although he is probably well-intended, Mr. Jones is missing the point.”
In Mount Vernon, how can Commissioner Chong have any realistic expectation of cooperation and assistance from law-abiding adults and seniors when their 12- and 13-year-old sons and grandsons are beaten and bitten up by squads of rogue cops bent on racial retaliation and punishment
reminiscent of the South of 50 years ago; missing only the high-pressure hoses?
And then there is the Yonkers Police Department, to whom the Mount Vernon Police turned when their own dog was otherwise occupied. For some two and a half years now, Edmund Hartnett, who authored the response to Officer Jones’ comments, has been heading that department as its commissioner.
Hartnett declares, “Gun violence is an immediate problem that requires using all resources and tools at our disposal,” and, We certainly agree. He goes on to say, “The People, especially the children of Yonkers, and Mount Vernon need our help and protection now.” Again, We couldn’t agree
However, the People, especially the children, shouldn’t need our help and protection from violent rogue cops such as the squad of both Mount Vernon and Yonkers Police who beat up and mauled three young boys found loitering in the A.B. Davis Middle School one Saturday evening several
Furthermore, perhaps if the cities of Yonkers and Mount Vernon had meaningful civilian complaint review boards, Irma Marquez would not have been brutally body-slammed by Officer Wayne Simoes as a half-dozen other Yonkers officers did nothing to stop or apprehend him; and, Rui Florim would not have been beaten, nearly to death, by six off-duty Yonkers cops in the Town of Greenburgh. Commissioner Hartnett, and the Mayor who hired him, see no need for a civilian complaint review board. Each of them have told The Guardian as much, publicly. They like things
just the way they are; and, so, apparently, does DA Janet DiFiore, who covers up the actions of rogue cops while prosecuting not only their civilian victims, but good cops as well.
Our Readers Respond....
Re: Paul Cote
I am writing regarding Paul Cote, the Westchester Correction Officer. I have known this man for a very long time. My sister (who lives in Mount
Vernon) is Paul’s aunt. When I heard of his involvement with the incident at the County Jail I could not believe this was the same Paul Cote I know.
I know Paul to be a family man who is respectful, soft-spoken, loving and kind. My understanding is he went to help his partner, another correction officer, who had a problem with an inmate. How come Paul is the only one charged and convicted? Are young people, familiar with this case, going to believe “it doesn’t pay to help a friend”?
Paul doesn’t deserve this injustice. He has suffered enough. Send him home to his children, his wife and his family.