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City of Mount Vernon Responds To Allegations Of Excessive Force

The City of Mount Vernon has issued a statement following allegations posted on social media last week that a Mount Vernon police officer used excessive force against a 49-year-old female motorist.

City Attorney Daniel J. O’Connor said the city has not received any direct or formal complaint regarding the March 3 incident in Mount Vernon that prompted the post. “While these kinds of allegations are taken seriously, the allegations in this case are inaccurate in light of the evidence gathered by the City, including relevant body cam footage,” O’Connor said continued from page

in the statement. “Probable cause existed for the motorist’s arrest for driving under the influence, yet the motorist resisted arrest after repeated attempts by the officer to bring her into custody voluntarily.” The attorney said that based on the evidence available, the arresting officer exercised no more force than was necessary to arrest her in the face of physical resistance.

“It appears that the arrestee hit her head on the ground in her efforts to avoid arrest. Allegations that an officer kicked or hit the arrestee are false, and law enforcement sought medical attention for her apparent head injury promptly after she came into custody,” O’Connor stated. The suspect, Regina Holmes of Ailey, remained in custody for only a short period of time before being released to a relative who could safely transport her, the statement revealed. “The City of Mt. Vernon will continue to investigate this matter and will review any evidence made available to it. To date, no evidence of wrongdoing by the officer in question is known to the City,” O’Connor concluded.

A report made by the arresting officer noted the incident occurred at 8:47 p.m. near the ice machine at Washington Street and U.S. Highway 280. The officer stated that a witness who observed the suspect driving “all over the roadway” alerted police to the scene. The witness said that the suspect “almost ran over him,” according to the report. When the officer arrived, he observed that the subject’s car “appeared to be coming down off of something.” The officer said when he approached the vehicle where the subject was seated on the passenger’s side he could smell a strong odor of alcohol. He said the subject admitted to having “too much” to drink and a subsequent search of the vehicle revealed an open bottle of Vodka inside the car.

The officer said he attempted to administer a field sobriety test but the subject refused. After asking the subject to exit her vehicle several times, the officer “then grabbed (the subject) by her right forearm and secured it with handcuffs and pulled her from the vehicle. While extracting (the subject) I had to use force, as she was actively resisting by grabbing onto the vehicle, causing me to have to take her to the ground so that she could be handcuffed.”

Once the subject was handcuffed, she was placed in the back of the patrol car and read the implied consent warning for suspects over the age of 21 and asked if she would take the stateadministered chemical test of her breath. The office said the subject refused to respond.

The officer then conducted a search of the vehicle and found the bottle of liquor in the right door panel. He secured the subject’s vehicle and transported her to the police station. After the subject complained of her head hurting, the officer noticed swelling on the right side of her head and called EMS to come to the police station and assess her. The subject was cited for DUI less safe and obstruction of a law enforcement officer and released to the custody of the EMS to be transported to the hospital for treatment. The subject refused to be transported via EMS and a relative arrived to transport her. The keys to her vehicle were released to the relative. The vehicle was not towed since it was not obstructing a roadway. The subject has a scheduled court appearance on April 8.

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