CNN OUT FRONT Host ERIN BURNETT has Reporter JASON CARROLL report on a group of four BLACK New York State Parole Officers who in April 2015 were en route to execute a search warrant when they were pulled over, removed from their New York State Government vehicle, and held a gunpoint by a group of WHITE Police Officers!!!
CNN reports NEW YORK STATE PAROLE Officer MARIO ALEXANDRE said the police officers participating in the ROCKLAND COUNTY, NEW YORK stop violated his civil rights, along with those of three of his fellow parole officers - Officers ANNETTE THOMAS-PRINCE, SHEILA PENISTER, and SAMUEL WASHINGTON.
Officer MARIO ALEXANDRE said;
"I was violently pulled out of the vehicle, and I was slammed against the vehicle."
The four parole officers have filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that they were racially profiled by the white officers and that their detainment was unnecessarily malicious and reckless.
According to the lawsuit, the officers state;
The RAMAPO POLICE DEPARTMENT and the city "failed to adequately train ... its police officers concerning the rights of citizens, in particular against racial bias/profiling and the use of force."
According to RAMAPO TOWN Assistant Attorney DENNIS LYNCH;
the Ramapo police officers were "reasonable under the circumstances" and that the "parole officers had not notified the town that they would be in town."
On the morning of April 21, 2014, the parole officers were on their way back from attempting to execute an arrest warrant when they were stopped on the side of the road by police officers, some of whom had their weapons drawn.
The parole officers state that they were all wearing their department-issued bullet proof vests with their gold badges displayed prominently around their necks. Additionally, they said their car had an official New York State placard displayed conspicuously on the dashboard, according to court documents.
Alexandre and his colleagues were ordered to "raise their arms high in the air." Alexandre stated he was "punched" by a police lieutenant and was "forced out of his vehicle despite having identified himself as a parole officer," the documents state.
Officer SHEILA PENISTER said she attempted to show her New York State ID to a police sergeant, and said;
he "became enraged and approached her in a threatening manner with his hand held on the butt of his gun."
She said that the incident has caused her to have anxiety attacks when she sees other police officers, despite wearing a similar uniform herself.
Officer PENISTER continued;
"It's still the anxiety I have, that I've never had before. I mean, an officer with anxiety, when they see another officer?"
Attorney BONITA ZELMAN is representing the four officers and states that all four parole officers have been diagnosed with POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.
The police officers involved in the case are affiliated with the RAMAPO POLICE DEPARTMENT and the SUFFERN POLICE DEPARTMENT, both in ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY.
The police officers said they were simply responding to a 911 call, alerting them to "four big people" with "bullet proof vests on" riding in an unmarked vehicle.
The 911 caller did not identify any of the officers by race and told the dispatcher that she didn't notice any identifying police jackets on any of the people in the car, according to a transcript of the 911 call.
Despite the allegations, the dashcam video made public by police does not appear to show Alexandre being slammed against a vehicle, though the parole officers say the incident started before the video begins.
Though the parole officers state otherwise, Lynch said the parole officers were "free to proceed on their way" promptly after their identification.
Assistant Attorney LYNCH added;
"It's easy to second guess the split second decisions of police officers on the scene. Not being cautious enough at times can result in a Brian Moore situation."He was referring to NYPD Officer BRIAN MOORE who was fatally shot Sunday by a suspect he was attempting to question.
Zelman would not indicate the amount they were suing for, but told CNN that at the very least, the officers should be disciplined for their actions.