While looking into the violent arrest of an 88 year old woman (an event the Pittsfield police say will taint their department's reputation for years) we accidentally discovered that the Pittsfield police had lost evidence in an unknown number of cases without telling anyone. We made Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless aware of the loss, but his office also failed to notify anyone.Read More
Broken Records is a column about public records access in Massachusetts. In this, our first, column we explore William Galvin's role in making a mess out of Massachusetts records access, and we discuss the push to to reform the law. We also look at the recent Boston Globe survey of town responses to records requests that found that Massachusetts is failing, which is exactly what all the other surveys found.Read More
The Commonwealth’s infamous militarized police force, NEMLEC, continues to flout records law.Read More
In a recent interview with The Boston Herald, Boston police Commissioner William Evans whined about people who record the police, even going so far as to call for a new law that would criminalize the act of recording a police officer while standing within a certain distance of them.
“If we can get legislation to make it fair, so it protects both sides, then I’m all for it,” Evans told the Herald. “Would I love to see a little distance? I'd love to see that.”
I'm glad Evans finally admits that the public needs legal protection when they record his officers. I've needed protection from the Boston police for years as they have threatened me with false arrests, with “physical removal” from a public building, and shoved me around. Actually, I don't really think that's what the commissioner meant.Read More
Boston police officers once again failed to wear their badges or identify themselves at a public event, but this time one of the 23 top ranking department officials called the department’s “command staff” was on hand to step in. Sadly, when Deputy Superintendent William Ridge did involve himself in the incident, he joined in with his officers in their unlawful behavior and took it a step further by trying to intimidate me.
On July 4, the Boston police deployed outside of the Esplanade area where Boston’s Independence Day celebration is held. I was there to document the police checkpoints at the Esplanade itself, but on my way I noticed four Boston police officers standing in a doorway. Two of the rifle-toting cops were not displaying their badges, so I asked them to identify themselves. They refused. I then asked all of the officers to comply with the Massachusetts police ID card law that requires municipal police officers to carry and show a police ID upon lawful request. Three out of four of the officers refused and the fourth would only show his card to me off camera.Read More
“Jobs.” According to Boston 2024’s "Bid 2.0," that’s the number one benefit that the Summer Olympics would provide to Boston and Massachusetts:
Jobs: Hosting the Games is a major job creation engine for Boston and Massachusetts. Bringing the Games to Boston will create 4,100 construction jobs each year from 2018 to 2023 and more than 50,000 jobs to support the Games in 2024 (Source: The Boston Foundation). The Games will also lead to 2,200 job-years in 2025 and beyond to support legacy neighborhoods and developments.
As noted in the “Bid 2.0,” Boston 2024’s job-creation estimates are based on a March 2015 report prepared by researchers at the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute on behalf of the Boston Foundation. Unsurprisingly—given Boston 2024’s track record—these numbers are almost certainly overstated.Read More
As officers from dozens of law enforcement agencies descended on Watertown, Massachusetts during the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the early hours of April 19, 2013, at least three people near the scene of the shootout were truly in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were each spotted by officers and, for different reasons, ended up spending the night behind bars.
The events that occurred that day, and indeed throughout the hunt for the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings, remain a black box; we know the carnage at the Marathon that started the hunt for the perpetrators, and we know that the pursuit culminated in a shootout, Tamerlan Tsarnaev's death, a house-by-house search for Dzhokhar, and his eventual capture. But what transpired between the time of the attack on Tuesday and the arrest of the younger of the two brothers Friday evening is still a mystery.Read More
Boston 2024 — the group leading Boston’s seemingly doomed bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics — has been dogged by opponents’ claims that it doesn’t play by the rules and doesn’t do its homework. The group’s baffling decision to use unpaid intern labor — which may violate Massachusetts law — certainly doesn’t help. The unpaid nature of the Boston 2024 internship program first came to light at public meeting in Allston on March 31. In response to a question about Boston 2024’s hiring plans, Boston 2024 spokeswoman Nikko Mendoza cheerfully volunteered that people were so eager to work for the bid that many interns had applied who were willing to work for free. At a June 1 public meeting in Arlington, Mendoza confirmed that Boston 2024’s internship program is unpaid. Archived online postings suggest the same thing.Read More
The saga of George Thompson, the Fall River man who was arrested for recording a police officer, is emblematic of America's tiered justice system, where ordinary people are punished just for exercising their rights, but powerful people like police officers face no repercussions whatsoever even when the brazenly break the law.
George Thompson was arrested by Fall River police officer Thomas Barboza in January, 2014 after he used his iPhone to record the officer even though recording police is protected by the First Amendment. While Thompson was still facing wiretapping and resisting arrest charges, a police department employee wiped his phone, destroying the video and all other data on it. The police department tried to blame Thompson for deleting the video, claiming without evidence that he might have used a cloud service to do it, until a company they hired to examine the phone determined a police employee had done it.Read More
In the aftermath of the shootings of Boston Police Officer John Moynihan and his shooter Angelo West, emotions ran high. West’s body lay on the street in Roxbury for about five hours while Officer Moynihan fought for his life with a bullet lodged behind his ear. As West’s body lay out on the street, a crowd gathered and demanded answers about the shooting. A few videos of abrasive interactions between the police and the crowd were released on YouTube (they have since been removed). Tyngsborough police Lieutenant Shaun Wagner reacted to these videos publicly on his Facebook page in a grammatically-challenged rant.Read More