Lawrence police opted to escalate a vehicle stop to the point of threatening to use potentially lethal force (while endangering bystanders and other officers) rather than identify themselves, then violently arrested and refused to provide medical aid for the victim of their aggression.
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.
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.
Chicopee Associate Solicitor, Thomas Rooke, uses a personal email account to dodge records requests. He then avoided complying with an order from Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin's office by applying for an extension even though those don't exist in the law (yet).
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.
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.
The weather in Boston during this year's Independence Day was beautiful, but the atmosphere was marred by the an overbearing law enforcement presence and police state checkpoints. The police establishment in Boston has previously claimed the power to search backpacks at checkpoints set up on on public streets during certain events without probable cause. Now they are claiming the power to simply ban backpacks from public places even though there is no law that allows them to do so.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Officer Blake Holt of the Braintree Police Department is at it again. We can now add the New Year’s Eve takedown of Jeramie Croft to Holt’s track record of terrible policing. Holt attacked Croft, who was already in custody, after he refused to take off one of the two pairs of pants he had on. After the incident, Croft was taken to the hospital to treat the facial injury he sustained. A woman who answered Croft's phone and said she was his girlfriend said he had bruising on his face from the incident. The woman would not provide her name.
The Boston Police Department says they have almost completed their internal investigation of a brutality case that happened nearly six years ago, despite never collecting crucial video evidence. On June 9, 2009, Boston police officer Adarbaad Karani and bouncers at the Revolution Rock Bar were caught on video attacking a patron, causing severe injuries that included a broken jaw and multiple concussions.
Jacob Carnelli, who was very intoxicated that night, was removed from the bar by bouncers, but later returned to retrieve his credit card which he had left behind.
The day after a deadly police shooting in Boston, officials from the police department showed a surveillance video of the incident to a small group of handpicked community members during a closed-door meeting. Usaama Rahim, 26, died on Tuesday after a Boston police officer and FBI agent opened fire on him outside of a CVS in the Roslindale neighborhood.
During a press conference after yesterday's meeting, Boston police commissioner William Evans said that five members of the FBI and Boston Police Department approached Rahim to question him and were forced to shoot after he came at them with a knife. Evans said Rahim was hit three times.
In a video provided to us, two Randolph police officers detained a man for recording them at the scene of a car accident on Memorial Day. During the detention, one of the officers shouts and throws a temper tantrum. The officers disarmed the man, who is a veteran, by gabbing his knife out of his pocket despite never giving any probable cause for the detention or for the seizure. The man, who asked us not to release his name for fear of reprisal, described himself as an, “Infantry marine going around on Memorial Day trying to at least uphold my oath to the Constitution.”
"I'm deeply disturbed by the injuries and deaths of mostly African-American people in this country sometimes at the hands of police officers in other states," Senator James B. Eldridge (D-Acton), the author of the bill, said. "There's a lot of different ideas out there about how we can change what I think is a national crisis and one of the ideas which has been talked about is to require that all police officers have body cameras."
We can win the war on terror today, or we can choose to keep losing it. The success or failure of any terror attack is dependent on the reaction of the group attacked. Thus far, we are losing the war on terror, and the latest failure was on display in the streets of Boston during this year's marathon.
According to the FBI terrorism refers to acts of violence that:
Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.
If the intent is to instill fear in the public and/or change the policy of government, then the success of the attack depends on society's reaction to it, not the damage done by it. We can win the war on terror by simply refusing to be intimidated into changing our way of life.