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As DOJ Probes Mount Vernon Police More Press Questions About Officers In Civil Cases

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 18 – A Federal civil rights investigation into the police department in Mount Vernon, New York, including for falsification of evidence, was announced in a December 3 press conference by Damian Williams, the new US Attorney for the Southern District of New York  and Kristen Clarke,  Assistant Attorney General for DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

  Inner City Press, which has reported on the SDNY's cases in Mount Vernon, including a murder case that after a change of counsel and ostensibly guilty plea simply disappeared from the docket, went to cover the press conference. 

After a presentation including ways for the public to have input into the investigation, Inner City Press asked US Attorney Williams, Will this impact your Office's prosecutions and even convictions?

Will your Office treat information from the MVPD differently during the pendency of the investigation?  

 US Attorney Williams said that is a question for another day. Fair enough. But this may be one of the days.

  A civil case against the MVPD and particular officers is coming to trial, and Inner City Press is digging into it. Names officers include Detective Sergeant Sean Fegan, Detective Camilo Antonini, PO Robert Puff, PO Patrick King, and PO "John" Valente. The complaint has the shield numbers. Now, on what SDNY federal cases have they worked, and what review is being conducted?

That civil case is Govan v. City of Mount Vernon, et al., 19-cv-8830 (Halpern)

 Later in December Inner City Press identified at least three more civil cases concerning such abuses in the MVPD: false searches of cars and houses, abuse in detention. The same names show up again and again. So what are the SDNY prosecutors doing to review their prosecutions and convictions? Hasn't that "other day" arrived? What this site.

Or this one: on November 24, 2020 Inner City Press reported Raheem Jones was charged with aiding and abetting a murder in Mount Vernon. He was assigned a Criminal Justice Act lawyer, Mark S. Demarco.  

  On May 17, 2019 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Nelson Stephen Roman relieved DeMarco and appointed Donna R. Newman as CJA counsel. 

   On November 24, Jones pleaded guilty to racketeering, and to the aiding and abetting murder, with a guidelines sentence of 300 months or 25 years.  Inner City Press covered the change of plea proceeding. 

  During the proceeding Ms. Newman referred to an earlier version of the plea agreement which referred to Jones as a career offender.

 AUSA Andew Fong Chow quickly pointed out that was never filed with the court.  

  Jones, who said his first name was Lonzo, was read his newly-explicit Brady rights under the Due Process Protection Act - and then, as part of this plea, appeared to waive any Brady violation.

 Ms. Newman added she was not aware of any such violations in his case.    Sentencing was set before Judge Roman for either February 25, or March 4, at 10:30 am. 

But now on December 3, 2021, there is nothing in the docket. The case is US v. Jones, 15-cr-661 (Roman).  We aim to have more on all this.


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