YONKERS, NY – October 13, 2020 — An active duty member of the Yonkers Police Department was arrested and charged today in connection with his attempt to purchase a firearm from a gun shop located in the City of Mount Vernon by fraudulent means. Police Officer Sanjay Richards, a 5-year veteran of the Department, turned himself in to members of the Yonkers Police Internal Affairs Division early today after a joint investigation with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office Investigations Division Public Integrity Bureau. Officer Richards was booked in White Plains and then arraigned in the Mount Vernon City Court.
Investigation yielded that on September 30th Officer Richards entered a gun shop in the City of Mount Vernon and produced an unlawfully altered police identification card. It is alleged Officer Richards concealed part of the card that displays a “NO FIREARMS” restriction in an attempt to deceive the gun shop employee to purchase a handgun. Officer Richards had been previously placed on modified duty due to an off-duty incident in another jurisdiction, and his authority to possess firearms had been revoked.
Mayor Mike Spano stated, “Our Yonkers Police Department operates at a level of integrity and transparency that will not be diminished because of the reckless behavior of a particular officer. No one is above the law. I commend the Department for moving swiftly in weeding out the actions of this officer. I continue to support the many fine men and women of the YPD who serve with respect and honor in their efforts in keeping our community safe.”
Police Commissioner John J. Mueller stated, “No person, regardless of position or title, is above the law, and this officer must now suffer the civil and legal consequences of his alleged behavior. But let me be clear and emphasize that this arrest does not tarnish the Yonkers Police Department – it highlights the opposite: that we hold ourselves to the highest standards and believe in and practice accountability and transparency; that the public trust placed in us is well founded, and our integrity strengthened. And to the men and women of the Yonkers Police Department who work every day to keep our communities safe, know how proud I am of you and your efforts and that we will continue to work together for the betterment of Yonkers.”
Officer Richards, a 40-year-old resident of this City, was charged with one count of Forgery 2’ and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument 2’, both class D Felonies in the New York State Penal Law; he was released on his own recognizance. Officer Richards has been suspended without pay from his position with the Yonkers Police Department pending termination. The case is being prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. Additional information may be released as it becomes available.
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NOTE: Booking charges are merely accusations and the defendant(s) are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
SOURCE: Detective Lieutenant Dean Politopoulis | Yonkers Police Department Communications Director | Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller