Protesters Demand Westchester Police Reform

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Guisela Marroquin of the Lower Hudson Valley Civil Liberties Union speaks at a rally outside the Westchester County offices in White Plains on police reform. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Protesters in White Plains demand oversight and training reform for police officers throughout Westchester County. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue
Protesters speak out against cases of police brutality and racial profiling in Westchester. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A group of community organizations led by the Westchester Coalition for Police Reform gathered in White Plains Friday afternoon to demand more oversight and accountability to prevent cases of police misconduct in Westchester County.

The rally also included members of local NAACP chapters, Westchester RISE, Blacks in Law Enforcement of America, the Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence, and local churches. The rally was held to speak out against uses of excessive and deadly force by police and to institute ways to hold officers, management and district attorneys accountable. Recent cases cited in the event included the shooting of Pace University student DJ Henry in Mount Pleasant, the shooting of Kenneth Chamberlain of White Plains, the death of Samuel Cruz in New Rochelle and the death of Irma Marquez in Yonkers.

“Failing to establish a system of accountability allows a uniform to become legitimized as a symbol of violence. We cannot allow this to happen.,” said Guisela Marroquin, a community organizer for the Lower Hudson Valley Civil Liberties Union. “If we are to break the patterns that allow power and privilege to victimize our families, neighbors, and friends, we must demand change from those who are hired to keep us safe.”

Stephen Glusker of WESPAC said that the goals of the movement are to establish independent oversight structures to review police practices and investigate potential misconduct, implement protocols in departments to address the use of force, reform training programs to emphasize nonviolence and increase the hiring and promotion of African American and Latino officers.

“The Westchester district attorney has failed to indict police officers for misconduct. An independent body of special prosecutors needs to be created to investigate and impose sanctions when local and county officials fail to act,” Glusker said.

Tom Kissner, a former police officer and former president of the Port Chester-Rye NAACP, said that police officers must be trained to act wisely and to disregard any stereotypes or personal insults when dealing with the public. “A police officer, someone who has been selected to have the awesome power to take human life should the circumstances require it, also must have awesome responsibilities,” Kissner said.

“We’re looking at millions of our tax dollars being spent unnecessarily when they can just properly train these officers and hold them accountable,” said Damon Jones of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America. He encouraged people to reach out to elected officials and demand change. “It cannot be politics as usual anymore. People are dying.”

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Comments (8)

patrickilkenny:

All of you folks need to know is that police have qualified immunity and can only be held liable for ministerial acts, which then become impossible to prove. Know the law before you spout off about nothing of which you know.

tjkoovalloor:

We want a Total Reform in the Police Department all over in Westchester. yonkers Police a sort of better now, compared to the past. it is true that Westchester DA is not doing nothing to reform the police force. it seems she has her own problems. Police should be always helpful to the citizens, not hostile to the people. While hiring, hire educated candidates, who are friendly with the society, not uneducated and hostile candidates, in the police force. it is true that some police officers are very hostile towards the society, especially towards the immigrants. It has to stopped by all means.

taxpayers:

I agree and westchester has been covering up these cases
Each time they happen.

patricia.donalds:

DoD study on random polygraphs for personnel. http://t.co/Tr7uafTd

"the polygraph is the single most effective tool for finding information people were trying to hide." - DIA, NSA.

CBP could require current employees to undergo polygraphs. http://t.co/MpPsmq2p

Make policy that polygraphs for all new hires expire every 2-5yrs. http://shar.es/epfm2

Random drug, lie detector tests for Police Officers in Spain. http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Random-drug-lie-detector-tests-221734651.

LAPD body video cameras. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-dodgers-lapd-20131002,0,4237783.story

The honest, brave officers with integrity deserve better.

And so does the public.

Wherever you are in the World, in your own jurisdictions, in your own capacity, you can do something, anything, just one thing. And make a difference.

Body cameras for fighthing misconduct.

Routine polygraphs as hiring policy for fighting corruption.

Break the code. Break the culture.

TheWestchesterNews:

If we could protect the citizens as well as we protect the authorities, it would be a just society.

Barbara Ricci, Publisher of The Westchester News

phil.foley.142:

God bless and watch over all our Police Officers everywhere in the USA!

bigjerry:

DJ Henry was shot because he was driving away with the injured police officer hanging on the hood of his car for dear life. Henry was drunk . All he had to do was apply his brakes. Excessive force??? Surely you jest.

taxpayers:

I think its you that jest, Another police cover up here in Westchester is more like it.

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