Civil Rights Suit Against Ramapo and Suffern Police Officers

At a Monday press conference four black New York State Parole Officers announced that they will be filing a civil rights lawsuit following allegations they made against a group of Ramapo Police Officers and a Suffern cop that they were held at gunpoint for over an hour after being pulled over by the officers on April 21. The parole officers Sheila Penister, Mario Alexandre, Annette Thomas-Prince, and Samuel Washington, stated on Monday that they were driving on Airmont Road in an unmarked vehicle checking on state prison parolees when they were pulled over by the group of officers, including Ramapo Sgt. Margaret Sammarone, Capt. Thomas Cokely, Lt. Robert Lancia, and Suffern Sgt. Edward Dolan. According to Ramapo Police Capt. Brad Weidel the officers were responding to a call from a concerned resident who was reporting “four individuals in bulletproof vests in an unmarked vehicle.” The parole officers wear vests on duty, as well as badges hanging from their necks and they states that even after the identified themselves as officers they were treated like criminals and remained surrounded by guns, including an assault rifle. Penister stated that she was afraid for her life during the incident, which her life during the incident, which her fellow parole officer Alexandre called, “an attack on my life and integrity.” Ramapo Councilman and Town Police Commissioner Patrick Withers stated that the car stop followed the cops’ training because the department had not received a call about parole meetings in the area and the unmarked car made them unaware they were officers, and it was in no way a racial attack. The department will be reviewing camera footage from the dashboard of the police cars and would be conducting an internal investigation. The parole officers’ civil rights lawyer Bonita Zelman stated that they would be pursuing the suspension and firing of the police involved.

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