Just Another Guy with Opinions

Cops Shoot and Kill Cop

Posted by shadmia on January 30, 2008

chris-ridley.jpgchristopher-ridley.jpgOfficers Jose Calero and Christian Gutierrez; Bottom: Detective Robin Martin and Officer Frank Oliveri .jpg

Off duty Mount Vernon Police Officer Christopher Ridley, 23, was in a desperate struggle with Anthony Jacobs, 39, a homeless man accused of violently assaulting another man. They were fighting for control of Ridley’s 9mm handgun when, as Ridley finally had control of his weapon, four Westchester County police arrived on the scene and shot and killed their fellow police officer. Ten shots were fired, four or five of which hit officer Ridley.

The county cops involved were identified today as Detective Robin Martin, and officers Frank Oliveri, Jose Calero and Christian Gutierrez, who was a classmate of Ridley’s at the county police academy. Westchester County Executive Andy Spano issued the following statement on the death of Christopher Ridley:

“Thisandy-spano.jpg is a horrible tragedy for everyone. My heartfelt sympathy and prayers go to the family and friends of Officer Chris Ridley and his colleagues in the Mount Vernon Police Department. We are all devastated at the loss of this young police officer who had great potential. Officer Ridley was committed to protecting people in the city where he grew up. Acting in his capacity as a police officer, he was killed in this terrible chain of events. Our own County officers involved have been deeply traumatized and were distraught to learn that it was a fellow officer who was shot. They as well as the entire County Police force are shaken and saddened by this event. This has been particularly painful for the entire law enforcement community. County Police are cooperating in every way with the investigation, and we stand ready to provide any assistance to the family.’’

It all began when Ridley attempted to arrest Anthony Jacobs who had just assaulted another man. Sources told The Journal News that Jacobs fought with Ridley when he realized he was being arrested and that during the struggle Ridley’s gun fell to the ground. Both men grabbed at the weapon, which went off twice before Ridley managed to throw Jacobs to the ground and retrieve the gun. He was pointing the weapon at Jacobs when four county police officers fired 10 shots, hitting Ridley four or five times.

One witness, Robert Connolly, said Ridley “was grappling with the other guy, the gun went off and he was still holding it when the (Westchester County ) cops came and shot him. They had no way to know (Ridley) was a cop.”

There is some confusion as to whether the cops told Ridley to put down his gun before shooting him. Connolly said he did not hear the county officers say anything before they began shooting. Another witness, however, said the county police did yell at Ridley to drop the gun.

“The cops were standing across the street at the time,” said Holly Savage of Port Chester, who was waiting to catch a bus home when the drama unfolded. “They were across from the incident. I don’t think (Ridley) could hear them.”

Daniel Jackson, the city’s deputy public safety commissioner, had little to say about witness accounts or details of what happened, saying that “we’re doing our best to ensure that this is being done objectively and thoroughly and that the integrity of the investigation is not compromised.” Jackson said police have interviewed more than 40 witnesses, are analyzing video from surveillance cameras mounted on buildings in the area and having ballistics tests done on all weapons used in the incident. He said an autopsy has been completed by the county Medical Examiner’s Office, but would not release preliminary findings. He also would not say whether any of the county police involved in the shooting have given statements or been interviewed by White Plains detectives.

Defense attorney John Grant represents Officer Jose Calero, 35, who joined the county’s police department eight months ago. Grant declined to comment on the circumstances leading up to the shooting that killed 23-year-old Officer Christopher Ridley, but said he believed the investigation would not result in any charges against his client or Detective Robin Martin or Officers Frank Oliveri or Christian Gutierrez. Grant said that his client is “very distressed” about Ridley’s death and that all four officers are grieving for their dead colleague.

“When all the information is available and the evidence is present, I think everybody will see that this was just a horrible tragedy and that there’s really no wrongdoing on anybody’s part,” he said. “In time, when everything is laid bare, everyone will understand what took place and why. It’s going to confirm that nobody did anything wrong. There’s no culpability on the part of any of the officers at all.”

F. Hollis Griffin, detective Robin Martin’s lawyer, would not comment on his client’s role in the shooting. He said that he believed the county officers did tell Ridley to drop his gun. “He’s very upset. It was a very disturbing circumstance that he was presented with,” Griffin said of Martin, who lives in Mount Vernon and was an acquaintance of Stanley Ridley, the dead officer’s father.

“I think it was a terrible accident. It was a tragedy,” Griffin said.

Meanwhile, in Mount Vernon, Police Commissioner David Chong announced that Ridley was being posthumously promoted to the rank of detective. Commissioner Chong traced the time from January 2006 to the present at which P.O. Christopher A. Ridley first joined the force receiving Mount Vernon Police Officer Shield # 2174 to today, January 29, 2008, when he would posthumously receive Mount Vernon Detective Shield #11, the shield that would this day be retired, never to be used again “in honor of a man; our brother, our friend.” To wit, Commissioner Chong would add, “Let’s not forget that Detective Christopher A. Ridley died a hero.”

In the background would stir the gut-wrenching sorrowful notes only bagpipes could evoke at times of such solemnity. The process of the bagpipe players, flanked by the honor guard who would present the gold Detective’s Shield unleashed a torrent of tears that welled from the heart, rushing down cheeks as Reverend Dixon blessed the badge, and then presented it to the Ridley Family. Reverend Dixon was able to gather all in the chamber together by asking everyone to hold hands as he spoke.

He would first “thank the Ridley family for giving us a son, who would become a man, who would bring the City of Mount Vernon together as never before. Christopher Ridley is a symbol,” the Reverend Ridley said, “a torch of guidance for better things to come.”

Shortly after anthony-jacobs.jpgthe shooting, Anthony Jacobs, 39, who lives at a county homeless shelter in Mount Pleasant, was arrested on felony charges of second-degree assault and second-degree possession of a weapon. Court papers released after his arraignment in White Plains City Court today say that he’s accused of punching and kicking an unidentified 58-year-old man, “causing serious physical injury, including two broken wrists and two broken ribs,” along with multiple bruises. The complaint also notes that he “forcefully wrestled control” of Ridley’s loaded gun while he was trying to arrest Jacobs. Police have not identified the victim of Jacobs’ alleged assault, but said he lives in the Bronx and was on his way home from work when he was attacked.

Jacobs, his hand bandaged, did not speak or enter a plea during his brief arraignment in White Plains City Court today. He is being held without bail at the county jail and is due back in court Monday. His lawyer, Arlene Popkin, said Jacobs gave police two videotaped statements about the incident. She had no comment after his court appearance.

According to the Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson, pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, Christopher Ridley served as a youth mentor at Grace Baptist. In Mount Vernon, where drugs, gangs and violence have claimed many young lives, Officer Ridley would spend time telling teenage boys that “there are rewards to those who make the right decisions,” one of the church’s ushers said.

“He was concerned about our young in the community and he wanted to get together to talk about his ideas of what could be done to help them,” said Mount Vernon’s mayor, Clinton I. Young.

Officer Ridley was born in Mount Vernon and moved to Voorhees, N.J., with his mother, Felita Bouché, after she and his father divorced when he was 5. Twelve years later, he returned to Mount Vernon and enrolled at Westchester Community College. His dream “was always to be a police officer,” a cousin, Danielle Scholar, said. On the day Officer Ridley graduated from the Police Academy, he visited the church to show off his new uniform.

“He was so proud,” Mr. Richardson recalled in an interview. “He was a role model.”

**Detective Christopher Ridley was the first police officer in Mount Vernon killed in the line of duty since 1974.**


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7 Responses to “Cops Shoot and Kill Cop”

  1. Det. Paul J. Puccini sh#151 Mt Vernon Police dept. said

    We burried a hero today. It was truly and honor to have known Chris and to have worked. He will be missed. Rest in peace.

  2. shadmia said

    This was a real tragedy in which a promising career of a fine officer was cut short. My sympathies go out to anyone who was connected either by blood or friendship to this hero. The way he lived and died in the service of others is an inspiration to all of us.

    Shaun Dawson

  3. Stanley O'shea said

    I think polices must be brave, but also be a little smart, and this guy lack of common sense carry him to the death, i think he’s a good candidate to the Darwin’s Awards,


  4. no need to know said

    Stan if you are talking about Chris Ridley when you say he lack common sense you do not know what really happen. Were you there no??? No i didn’t think so. You didn’t watch the whole thing or even part of it go down. It changed my life forever. He was a really good young man who loved his job and was doing what an off duty cop is suppose to do. cops r never really off duty.


  5. littleZ said

    It was such a tragedy to loose such an honorable young man … it is more of a tragedy that his murderers were left with no punishment … this is what happens when you have an unjust racist for a DA (in my opinion)

  6. Jermaine said

    DA Janet DiFiore had nerve to avoid answering questions directed to her about the Christopher Ridley case! What kind of DA tries to incriminate the one and only black officer out of the three police officers on the scene to make it seem as if it had nothing to do with race. In fact the only police officer that didnt pull out his weapon or fire it was the one that had all the fingers pointed at him, Officer Rob Martin. DA Janet DiFiore needs to be taken out of office so an incident like this never goes without punishment again.

  7. John said

    Westchester County government is so corrupt it’s sickening. Along with the WPD.

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