By Jennifer L. Warren
POUGHKEEPSIE – It was a little over 38 years ago when Ron Lipton was able to celebrate the life-transformative news: His dear friend: acclaimed boxer, Hurricane Carter, had just been released from jail, having had served 20 years for a murder he never committed.
Justice was finally served; last Thursday night, Lipton once again witnessed another wrong-doing corrected: His son Brett was finally given the deserving Deputy honors that had so long eluded him.
Lipton, a two-time Boxing Hall-of-Fame inductee as well as professional boxing referee, who has been a boxing instructor at Marist College for the past 23 years, stood by his son throughout his entire journey of being blackballed from following in his father’s footsteps, pursuing a career as a police officer. It was the precise loyalty the elder Lipton displayed to Carter decades earlier when he was set up for a crime he didn’t commit. Ron paid a hefty price for that idle dedication to his friend, involving standing up to-going against his police department comrades; in turn, his son too endured the consequences years later when he ardently pursued the same line of work.
“I saw Brett work so hard to become an Orange County Deputy Sheriff and graduate from the police academy while making the Dean’s List in 1998 and then being told he could not be picked up out of retaliation for sticking by me as a loyal son during some difficult times we had a long time ago,” recalled Ron Lipton. “So it was illuminating for me to see him get this honor, because it was a God-given personification of Justice itself unfolding before my eyes.”
That justice, involving the presentation of an official honorary identification card and badge as well as promise to be sworn in as a police officer, was made even sweeter, as it was dealt by a man both Liptons deeply admire: Dutchess County Sheriff, Kirk Imperati. Adding to the specialness of the occasion was the setting: Marist College, during halftime of the Women Red Foxes Basketball game. Here, at halftime of the game against Ryder College, Bob Dylan’s melody, “Hurricane,” filled the airwaves, as Brett Lipton was escorted out to McCann Center Arena’s mid-court by both his father and Imperati. Details on Ron’s ties to the college and Hurricane Carter as well as details on Brett’s journey were unraveled, something the younger Lipton will never forget and is eternally grateful for on multiple levels.
“I would like to thank Wesley Lee who made this all possible by listening to my story; I also want to thank Bill and Gail O’Neill as well as Kirk Imperati for giving me the opportunity to finally be hired as a sworn in Deputy,” said Brett Lipton. “I also want to thank my dad for being in my corner, by my side, and inspiring me to become a police officer by saving several people’s lives during the course of his career; lastly, those from Dutchess Community College, such as; Dr. Peter Jordan, Jennifer Lorenzo and Karen Aponte- Sanchez, I am so appreciative of for all they did to make this happen.”
Lee could not attend the ceremony; however, he too, was elated to know of its long-overdue happening.
“This is such an important event taking place at my Alma Mater to see the Lipton family finally recognized,” said the long-time educator and advocate for justice, Lee. “I thank Brett for not giving up, and I thank God for shining his blessings through Bill O’Neill and me to cause this very wonderful day to happen.”