NEW YORK 

Federal prosecutors with the Department of Justice in New York opened an investigation against the Mount Vernon Police Department, officials announced Friday.

The investigation will assess whether MVPD engages in a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing. The investigation will also assess MVPD’s use of force, strip and body cavity searches, and how it handles evidence.

The department will conduct a comprehensive review of Mount Vernon Police Department’s systems of accountability, including complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition and discipline.

Federal prosecutors will also reach out to community groups and members of the public to learn about their experiences with the MVPD.

Prior to the announcement, department officials informed Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, MVPD Chief Marcel Olifiers, City Council President Marcus A. Griffith, Commissioner of Public Safety Glenn Scott, and Corporation Counsel Brian Johnson of the investigation.

“Police officers have tough jobs, and so many do their work honorably, lawfully, and with distinction, respecting the rights of the citizens they have sworn to protect,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “But when officers break the law, they violate their oath and undermine a community’s trust. “

Federal prosecutors ask that anyone who has information relevant to the investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department to contact the Department of Justice via email at community.mvpd@usdoj.gov or to call (866) 985-1378.

By Raul

Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California. He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.