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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Federal Complaint Accuses District Attorney of Covering-Up NY Cop's Murder

Federal Lawsuit Says District Attorney DiFiore is Covering-Up Murder of Brave Cop, Christopher Ridley 
by Frank Brady - April 12, 2009

The father of 23-year-old slain Mount Vernon, New York, Police Officer Christopher A. Ridley filed a lawsuit on friday, April 10, 2009 in White Plains federal court alleging that his son was murdered, and that various Westchester County officials covered up known facts of the crime. 

Stanley Ridley is the lone plaintiff in the federal action (09civ3379) against 9 defendants:  JANET DiFIORE, Westchester County District Attorney, county detective ROBIN MARTIN, police officer FRANK OLIVERI, police officer JOSE CALERO, police officer CHRISTIAN GUTIERREZ, Public Safety Commissioner THOMAS BELFIORE, medical examiner MILLARD HYLAND, county executive ANDREW SPANO and the COUNTY OF WESTCHESTER. 

The complaint alleges that at about 5:00pm on January 25, 2008, off-duty Officer Ridley was murdered while coming to the assistance of an assault in progress. The allegations include:
  • Officer Ridley had extended both arms and was displaying his badge.
  • That officer Calero and Gutierrez shot Officer Ridley, and he fell to the ground.
  • Officer Oliveri approached Officer Ridley and shot him at point blank range.
  • Officer Oliveri retrieved Officer Ridley's badge from the sidewalk and secreted it.
  • The incident was captured on a least four security video cameras, the tapes now secreted.
  • The Medical Examiner's report indicates powder burns on Officer Ridley's forehead.
  • That District Attorney DiFiore determined that a cover-up would better serve her politically.
  • That the Medical Examiner's Report has been improperly kept secret.
  • Officer Ridley's head was bandaged in the morgue to hide the close rang bullet hole.

----------

BACKGROUND:

Slain Officer Memorialized Amid Questions
The New York Times by NICOLE NEROULIAS - February 1, 2009

The newly designated Detective Christopher A. Ridley Plaza on Court Street here and Detective Christopher A. Ridley Way in front of Mount Vernon Police Department headquarters pay tribute to the off-duty officer who was mistakenly shot by county police officers last year as he tried to apprehend a violent homeless man in downtown White Plains. The memorial signs also serve as a cautionary reminder of the risks faced by police officers, particularly when responding to a crime in plain clothes. On Jan. 25, 2008, Mr. Ridley, a 23-year-old Mount Vernon officer, was struggling to detain Anthony Jacobs, whom he had spotted assaulting another man, when county police officers opened fire. Witnesses told investigators that Mr. Ridley, who was killed instantly, did not seem to hear warnings to drop the gun he was carrying and showed no sign of his badge.

Within a week, the Mount Vernon department posthumously promoted Mr. Ridley to the rank of detective. Six weeks later, shortly before a grand jury chose not to indict the four county officers involved in the shooting, Thomas Belfiore, the county’s public safety commissioner, appointed a seven-member panel to review the curriculum at the Westchester County Police Academy, which trains the recruits for all 43 departments in the county. “We can’t change the circumstances of that day, but we can make it have a meaning,” said Andrew J. Spano, county executive, last Sunday at the dedication ceremony at 85 Court Street, the scene of Mr. Ridley’s death. The meaning, however, varies for those affected by Mr. Ridley’s death: law enforcement agencies, family members and friends, young black men and others. The panel commissioned by Mr. Belfiore — two criminal justice professors, four law enforcement officials and a Mount Vernon pastor — came up with 64 recommendations in May. The academy has put 45 into practice, including having recruits go through diverse role-playing confrontation exercises that are videotaped and critiqued. Forty recruits recently completed the revised 20-week program, including 7 from Mount Vernon. All 270 county police officers have received enhanced confrontation training, as will Westchester’s probations and corrections officers, Mr. Belfiore said.

A few months ago, similar training was added to the statewide curriculum, through Mr. Belfiore’s position as chairman of New York’s Municipal Police Training Council. Westchester’s local departments have received the new materials and will each decide how best to incorporate those lessons for their 2,200 officers, he said. “We want, as best as we can, to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” Mr. Belfiore said. “It’s a sad but important tribute to Detective Ridley.” David E. Chong, the Mount Vernon police commissioner, said his 207-member department, which Detective Ridley served for two years, now offers a training day that covers off-duty confrontations. “Learning how to act, how to identify yourself and how to recognize potential dangers when you take action in plain clothes is very, very important,” he said. While they appreciate the improvements to police training, activists like Damon K. Jones, executive director of Westchester’s chapter of the National Black Police Association, and the Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church, where Mr. Ridley had been a youth mentor, say much more needs to be done. They have called on Westchester police departments to hire and promote more minorities and for the county to create a civilian review board on police procedures.

Mr. Ridley’s family, which agrees that more education and review policies are needed, said it plans to file a lawsuit within six weeks against the county and the cities of Mount Vernon and White Plains. They want “real answers” about the shooting circumstances and whether Mr. Jacobs, who lived in one of the county’s homeless shelters, had been appropriately supervised, said Calvin Scholar, the family’s lawyer. Mr. Jacobs has since pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and will be sentenced to six years in prison on Feb. 10. But those who loved Mr. Ridley say no amount of commemoration, compensation or curriculum changes can make up for their loss. Even their own efforts to make sure his sacrifice was not in vain, including establishing a memorial foundation to encourage youths to enter law enforcement and to finance police awareness programs, feel bittersweet, his parents, Felita Rucker Bouch√© and Stanley Ridley, said. At the plaza dedication ceremony, Mr. Ridley tearfully thanked the crowd of more than 150 government officials, officers and residents who had braved frigid temperatures. Such events, which bring members of the community together, truly honor his son’s memory, Mr. Ridley said. “I gave him to the community so he could make the community better,” he said.

------ FROM THE YONKERS INSIDER:

HEADLINE: $90 MILLION SUIT : D.A JANET DIFIORE ALLEGEDLY COVERED UP MURDER OF BLACK POLICE OFFICER. ACCUSED OF RACISM, AND CORRUPTION. CALLS FOR HER RESIGNATION.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: BRUCE LYNN 212-706-0696

WHERE: 85 COURT ST. WHITE PLAINS N.Y
WHEN: TUESDAY, APRIL 14TH, 11AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  --  PRESS CONFERENCE

FATHER OF SLAIN MOUNT VERNON POLICE OFFICER, CHRISTOPHER RIDLEY FILES $90 MILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL LAWSUIT ALLEGING A MURDER COVER UP BY DISTRICT ATTORNEY JANET DIFIORE AND COUNTY OFFICIALS.
OFF DUTY SON WAS SHOT POINT BLANK, EXECUTION STYLE IN THE HEAD BY A WHITE COUNTY POLICE OFFICER.


A Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit was filed on Friday April 10th in U.S District Court in White Plains naming District Attorney Janet Difiore, County Executive Andrew Spano, Westchester Police Commissioner Thomas Belfiore, the County of Westchester and four County police officers who were involved in the shooting. The lawsuit alleges that Westchester County Police officer, Oliveri, a Caucasian, shot off duty police officer, Ridley, a black man, point blank range in the head as Ridley was falling defenselessly to the ground after being shot several times in the midsection by Westchester County Police. Ridley a brave Mount Vernon Police Officer was off duty and in the process of stopping an assault in progress in front of 85 Court St. in White Plains N.Y. when shot.

This was an execution says Civil Rights Attorney, Jonathan Lovett. The D.A, Janet Difiore determined that to cover it up would better serve her politically, says Lovett. Oliveri in an attempt to cover up the killing retrieved Officer Ridley's badge from the sidewalk and secreted it-- so that it could be later discovered in Officer Ridley's automobile- a circumstance later used by the Defendants to justify the County Police's killing Officer Ridley on the pretext that he did not identify himself as a policeman.  Corruption in the D.A.'s office will not be tolerated. We are demanding the resignation of District Attorney Janet Difiore, effective immediately says Damon K. Jones of the National Black Police Assoc. She has shown on many occasion by her corrupt and biased treatment of Blacks and Latino' that she is a racist and therefore unfit. The Press Conference will be held at the same location where Officer Ridley was shot and killed, (85 Court St. White Plains, N.Y.) Present at the Press Conference will be, Officer Ridley's father, Stanley Ridley, Civil Rights Attorney, Jonathan Lovett, Damon K. Jones, (National Black Police Assoc ), Civil Rights Activists, and family and friends of the Ridley family.

36 comments:

retired said...

Where are the feds on this? Looks like massive amounts of federal crimes to me. First Pirro, now DiFiore. Westchester has to be near the top in corrupt DA offices. Seeing this cop's picture brings tears to my eyes every time. This was murder and Janet DiFiore covered it up. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

So, DA Janet DiFiore thinks it's OK for an off-duty cop to be murdered? And while he was trying to help people.

Is that OK, Janet, because he was a BLACK off-duty cop.

Or is that OK, Janet, because you don't want another cop on trial during your false-dreaming re-election season?

Or is it both, Janet?

You have succeeded in bring more disgrace to Westchester, and justice, than the prior idiot DA, Jeannine Pirro did.

outraged in ossning said...

Who are these people: Pirro and DiFiore. How the hell do people like this become judges and district attorneys. The Public is so stupid to vote these people into any office. You get what you vote for. And you voted for a District Attorney who would cover up a crime like this so she could get re-elected. Wake up any smell the coffee, people.

Anonymous said...

I'm calling Al Sharpton.

Anonymous said...

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore MUST resign THIS WEEK !!!! She has violated the public's trust and she has disgraced every person who believes in a just and fair system of law. She belongs behind bars.

Anonymous said...

Check out the editorial at:

www.yonkersinsider.wordpress.com

Anonymous said...

Bring in Tony Castro as Westchester County DA in November...indict DiFiore, Spano, and Nicolai shortly thereafter.

Anonymous said...

are the feds all corrupted too in ny or a major part of the feds? the yonkers insider has reported "fed" investigations of mob related activity connected to major pols for years but nothing ever seems to get done.

how many "investigations" start but are never finished?? sounds like some of the "investigations" get published to make the public think something is happening when meanwhile it is all a rigged game?

hope to be proven wrong. that would be a good thing for ny.

max from eastchester said...

I find the travesty of justice in this execution-style murder to be beyond the bounds of all human decency. What has happened to the law?

West Co Resident said...

Janet DiFiore with her liar husband think they are important and they live in exclusive Bronxville. Two Big Shots! In the real world they are both garbage and belong in a federal jail! The black families should picket her house in Bronxville.

mount vernon mobster mel said...

Get rid of this mobster-wanna-be DiFiore as Westchester District Attorney. Bring back Jeannine Pirro and her lapdog Al. Westchester needs real mobsters in the DA's office, not fakes.

Lifelong Democrat said...

I'm a lifelong Democrat. I stupidly voted for Republican District Attorney candidate Janet DiFiore. I will not be voting for Democrat District Attorney DFiore in the next or any election. Big changes are needed in the D.A.'s office. Anyone but DiFiore!!

Anonymous said...

Where is Saint Andrew? Is he perplexed, whether he should protect the corrupt district attorney, or the people? Has Janet prayed to Saint Andrew, Patron Saint of crooked lawyers and judges? DiFoire is there becaue Saint Andrew allows it.

Roe said...

What in heaven’s name is in that Kool Aid you people are drinking?
Who is the attorney who filed the suit? Oh, wait a minute let me guess…
Karnak says “Jonathan Lovett”. Why does this not surprise me? This is another ploy by Sammy boy and his minions a.k.a. Tony Castro et.al. to besmirch the good name of our DA. How low can you go? It seems to me that all the “anonymous” posters are all the same person. Tony, Tony, Tony, you should be eating Easter dinner with your family and thanking the good Lord you have food on the table and a family to share it with. Sammy says jump and Tony asks how high. How many times did you sign in with different email addresses at Sammy command? We the residents and good citizens of this county are not stupid and are insulted by your conjecture that we are gullible enough to believe your drivel.

Anonymous said...

It's all about the money. The Reverend Al must have put a seed in the head of Ridley's father and the fool believed him. Once again Al dupes and uses his own people for his monetary gain. Shame on you.

LM said...

Hey, Roe. I would never vote for Mr. Castro and I don't drink Kool Aid, but I work in the White Plains courts and I know what's going on. I take Sammy whatever his last name is, and his paper, with a pound of salt but I can tell you that much of what I read in the Westchester Guardian is mostly true. If you don't think our elected officials, and many in the judicial arena, are not, on a daily basis, breaking the law, then it is you who is drinking Kool Aid and/or who has their head in the sand. I, for one, would love to speak to a grand jury about what I've witnessed. Grow up, Roe, this isn't 'politics.' What's been going on in this county is criminal. There's no other way to describe it.

me said...

Dear Roe- why don't you tell the people where you get a paycheck from.......hmmmm...... very interesting. I see you everyday, Roe. Of course, you think all is well in this corrupt city.

Tania10550 said...

A very sad situation all around. I do wonder where Officer Ridley's mother is in all of this. Odd that she is not joining Officer Ridley's father in this lawsuit. Truly sad that someone like Attorney Lovett preys upon the emotions of a grieving father. Lovett is again looking for a big payday at the expense of a horrible event. Its an election year for Spano and DiFiore and that is the only reason they are named. Just a way to smear goo people.

jw from bronxville said...

These are very serious accusations. Don't they deserve to be investigated? I think so. It is strange that the video tapes that will show exactly what happened are being kept secret..... Maybe a special investigator from the state attorney general's office should look into the matter.

Anonymous said...

Forget all the personal attacks people. The truth needs to get out!

mt vernon resident said...

I agree, the truth is needed. There shouldn't be anything to hide. The DA should open up and clear her name.

Anonymous said...

The big question for the feds is how the state grand jury proceedings went...... where there is smoke......

Anonymous said...

Ms DiFiore broke out of the starting gate of DA Handicap 10 lengths in front when she blew by Jeff Deskovic. Built up a great lead, but has since faltered in the mud the acid rains left at the far turn into the home stretch.

There has been so much mud slung around that the track announcer can no longer distinguish the jockey silks of the riders - they all have mud on them.

Anonymous said...

A poster asked: Where is St.Andrew in all this? Andy Panda is busy cultivating those politicians he will need to win when he runs for governor.

dg said...

Gee, for a bunch of people who are always screaming about justice and due process you seem a little quick to convict based on unproven allegations in a lawsuit. Is this the type of court reform you advocate on this site: as soon as an allegation is made let's rush to judgement. If that's the case, I'll stick with our current system, thank you.

Anonymous said...

DG...I think you are already part of the current system..who do you think you are kidding with your twisted comments about serious questions and issues relative to a very well known corrupt NY state judicial system!?

OCA always has a mole lurking somewhere..and usually it is not well articulated. Maybe they should try another one of you gutless employees, that they have given 6 figures to, undeserving and generally not versed in court or legal matters!

dg said...

So you are saying that the allegations of whomever files a lawsuit first should be taken as the gospel truth and that in the name of fairness and court reform people should be convicted and dragged through the mud before any other facts are in? Wow.

former state employee said...

That's the whole point. The DA has been covering up the FACTS, as you put it.

DG, please tell us which New York State office you work in, and your title. Thanks.

dg said...

How does my work situation change the basics of our system? Someone filed a suit containing allegations. The person or people sued now have an opportunity to respond. Then we go through a fact finding process. I'm not ready to accept on its face the allegation that the two police officers involved executed another officer in cold blood. Maybe they did, but I want to at least see some of the evidence first. Does that make me some kind of corrupt tool of the system?
And by the way Former State Employee, how do you know that the DA is covering up the facts. Do you know all the facts? If so why don't you share some of them with us? What exactly is she covering up? How did you come to this conclusion?

Anonymous said...

I see you have not denied being OCA...mole person...since only the exempt, highly paid supervisors are allowed to view this blog. That being confirmed..no I do not agree that guilty before proven innocent is correct...even though your chief administrative Judge Plumadore... of OCA fame and fortune... has verbalized and ascribed to that premise, I do believe that people that are writing about this case..which I know nothing other than what has been reported here...are giving opinions and possibly information about individuals they have personal knowledge regarding questionable behavior, and are thus relating possible guilt because of said prior knowledge of unehtical behavior.
A predictor of future behavior is reflected from past behavior...ask any forensic psychiatrist!

dg said...

The bottom line is that this lawsuit accuses two police officers of MURDERING another officer. That's pretty serious stuff so before everyone jumps in and accepts that as being true, maybe we should wait a bit.
And I don't need to be lectured about my "true identity" by someone who posts as "anonymous."

former state employee said...

dg, thanks for your message. No one said TWO officers fired a shot a close range, etc. It was only one officer. By the way, does a dead corpse need a bandage?

I am not suggesting that you are some sort of corrupt tool of the system, to use your words. We both agree that the facts should be known, so I guess we're on the same side. I'm not sure where you stand on the need for a clean up within OCA, but I can tell you that I think a top to bottom cleaning is necessary- and long overdue. (I still have many friends who are employed by the state) Can you honestly tell me that you have not witnessed the destruction of innocent OCA employees at the hands of angry people using the full weight of the state court system? Can you honestly tell me that you have not witnessed grossly improper acts within the state court system by those who are politically positioned?

My big issue is with a possible cover up. It should not have taken a federal civil suit to get the truth out. And if the DA had conflicts, she should have let someone else handle it. There's a procedure for that, as you know.

You owe me a drink once the Westchester County DA is held accountable by the FACTS. By the way, did you know that a few eye witnesses have come forward? (DA wasn't interested in what they had to say) Did you know that the feds are all over this? Did you know that the Westchester DA's office is, rightfully, quite nervous about this? Now you know.

Finally, don't you need to get back to work? When I worked for the state we didn't have the internet. I guess I'm jealous that you get to surf the web all day while collecting a handsome state salary. Another reason for you to be buying drinks!!

Anonymous said...

That shooting never passed the smell test. Right from the beginning, there seemed to be some sort of cover-up. Once a lie is told, it takes more lies to justify the first one.
Lovett only takes cases that will get him publicity, and money from municipalities.

The family is entitled to the truth, and going into Federal Court is the only way they can get it.

As for expecting anyone in Westchester or New York State to step up to the plate, it won't happen. It doesn't matter what hard evidence you provide DA, OCA, OIG, AG or anyone else, they either ignore it or it's not something they handle.

P. Stephen Lamont, CEO-Iviewit; Lead Appellant 08cv4873 said...

To Roe and LM:

You may be aggrieved citizens in Westchester some day, and will regret your allegations against the most honesty, fairest attorney I know. Tony Castro is the poster boy for integrity -- 13 years in the Bronx DA's office where criminals demanded prosecution by him as they know they would receive a fairshake. Reveal yourselves and we can continue this debate, hide behind your pen names and you are afraid of putting up so shut up.

Anonymous said...

as a former nypd police officer of 29 years service, I think I can safely say and say it with confidence - a cop doesn't leave their shield in the car. he may leave it home while off duty, but he doesn't take it out with him and leave it in a car - not unless he is going to take his clothes off somewhere he should be.

Keep it simple I say. why make up a lie when you don't have to. in the heat of the moment a police shield in another person's hand is very easy not to see. Why lie?

either the tapes show a wanton execution, or it does not.

Anonymous said...

This is going to get ugly. I love it. Westchester has the best childish politics in the world. All of them are greedy, dumb and unethical. It's better than watching sports.

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