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Two Mount Vernon Officers Allege Retaliation By City

Two officers in the Mount Vernon Police Department filed claims against the city, saying they were retaliated against for reporting a fellow officer.
Two officers in the Mount Vernon Police Department filed claims against the city, saying they were retaliated against for reporting a fellow officer. Photo Credit: File

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Two Mount Vernon police officers filed notices of claims against the city on Wednesday, alleging they were victims of retaliation by other officers.

Attorney Eric Sanders, who is representing the plaintiffs, Detective Martin Bailey and Police Officer Janie McKennie, said the officers, who are both African-American, have been treated unfairly by the Police Department, especially by white male officers, since providing a report to the Internal Affairs Division in March 2009.

Sanders said the two officers saw Sgt. Michael Marcucilli assault a 12-year-old African-American boy, and their testimony led to discrimination by the department, including being passed over for promotions.

Representatives of the city declined to comment. A notice of claim against a municipality is a precursor to filing a lawsuit.

Sanders said both officers filed complaints four years ago through the Internal Affairs Division but the complaints were not followed up.

"Unfortunately, what these officers of color are experiencing is inherently part of the police culture everywhere," Sanders said. "Although it is a tough road, I commend these officers for doing the right thing for themselves, the community and the department. Since we cannot rely on the management to do the right thing, we will utilize the litigation process to vindicate their civil rights."

The notice of claim alleges that about Feb. 28, 2009, Bailey and McKennie saw Marcucilli use excessive force against a 12-year-old boy. Since they filed Internal Affairs reports, they allege, police supervisors and other officers have engaged in a pattern of harassment and discrimination against  them.

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