WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Stanley Ridley thanked friends, family and others who joined him Friday in a candlelight vigil marking the fifth anniversary of the death of his son, Mount Vernon Detective Christopher Ridley.
The vigil was held in the plaza where Christopher Ridley was shot by four Westchester County Police officers. Ridley was trying to stop a mugging while he was off-duty, when the four county officers saw him, in plain clothes, holding a gun. The plaza at 85 Court St. has since been named Christpher Ridley Plaza.
"It's overwhelming," Stanley Ridley said of the support from the community five years after his son's death. "Because in this day and age you don't know who's your friend."
Members of the Mount Vernon Police Department attended, along with Damon Jones, a correction officer and president of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America's Westchester chapter.
"We continue to examine the process of training officers and continue to try to build that relationship between law enforcement and the community in Chris' name, in Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.'s, who was a retired correction officer," Jones said. "We got to change it. We got to continue to remind the people."
Chamberlain, a 68-year-old White Plains resident, was shot by White Plains police Nov. 19, 2011. Neither the county officers who shot Ridley nor the White Plains officer who shot Chamberlain was indicted. Both families subsequently filed wrongful death lawsuits, which are pending.
"There's a consistent pattern of a behavior that seems to be happening in Westchester County, not just with these shootings, but with the lack of indictments with these shootings," said Chamberlain's son, Kenneth Jr.
The Ridley family held a benefit after the vigil at the Davenport Country Club in New Rochelle, with the proceeds supporting the Christopher Ridley Foundation.
"I wouldn't want anybody here to have to be in my place," Stanley Ridley said. "So I thank y'all for coming out today and holding me up, for all your payers throughout the years. And I'm going to be here every year."