“Mount Vernon is a fiercely hard working community that never gets the positive attention it needs,” the police department posted on its Facebook page Saturday night, along with body-cam footage of the interaction.
Mount Vernon Police Officers Christopher Cartwright and Jason Velez initially responded to the 911 calls of a shoplifter at a Dollar Tree Store on Gramatan Avenue on Saturday. Body-cam footage, posted on the Mount Vernon Police Department’s facebook page, shows how the officers were first greeted by the store manager, who described the homeless man as being a “regular” patron of the store.
Moments later, both officers approached the homeless man, where they then walked him over to the register. Officer Cartwright then instructed the man to empty out his bag, where multiple packs of socks had been stashed. You can hear in the video how the officers used a measure approach during their first interactions with the man inside the store.
WATCH FULL BODY CAM VIDEO HERE: Courtesy: Mt. Vernon Police Department
The homeless man tells police “I’m hungry to be honest with you,” as he empties out items out of a shopping bag on the front counter of the store. You can then hear Officer Cartwright respond by saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”
The two officers were shocked by the amount of socks the man was looking to shoplift from the store….some 15 pairs of socks, according to the Mount Vernon Police Department. After Officer Cartwright asked if the man had any weapons or additional items in his bag, before the officer than asked permission to pat down the man, as a precaution.
In the bodycam video, you can then hear Officer Cartwright ask the man, “You’re a little light on some socks?” After the man responded “yeah,” Officer Cartwright then instructed the cashier to provide $15 worth of socks and paid for them out of his own pocket. Cartwright, however, made the homeless man promise that he would buy him the socks, only if he stopped stealing. “Alright, I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy you a couple pairs of socks though, but you gotta stop stealing. Alright? Fair Enough?” said Officer Cartwright.
Courtesy: Mount Vernon Police Department Facebook Post
The homeless man thanked the Officers before leaving. Police Officer Velez then urged the homeless man to come to Mount Vernon Police headquarters to see if there were supportive services the department could assist him such as finding a homeless shelter.
The man thanked him and before leaving, Velez urged him to stop by police headquarters to see if there were services they could help him with, like finding a shelter.
Police Officer Christopher Cartwright, 31 years of age, started his career with the Mount Vernon Police Department in December of 2018. After completing the Police Academy and his Field Training, he was assigned to the Patrol Division, where he is assigned to a Patrol Squad. Officer Cartwright has received three Awards from the Department, two for Excellent Police Duty and one for a Commissioner’s Unit Citation.
Jason Velez, 35 years of age, started his career with the Mount Vernon Police Department in Jaunary of 2018. After completing the Police Academy and his Field Training, he was assigned to the Patrol Division, where he is assigned to a Patrol Squad. Officer Velez has completed the SWAT Operators course, which entailed months of specialized training in specialized weapons, tactics and rescue operations. Officer Velez was formerly employed by Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. He was also formerly assigned as a Medical Corpsman in the US Navy.
“The community is proud and resilient and always keeps its head up and marches on towards a better tomorrow. These positive incidents happen every day in our city, not only with the police, but also with our other municipal employees and with our business partners,” Mount Vernon Police Department stated in their Facebook post.