Response to Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association
Response to Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association’s Letter to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins
We, the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms the letter sent by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins on June 2, 2020. For the BPPA to attack the powerful statements of D.A. Rollins without any mention of the context of her remarks—a national racial justice reckoning with yet another brutal killing of a Black man by law enforcement officers—is wrong. We call upon the BPPA to immediately retract their letter, to issue a public apology to D.A. Rollins and Boston’s communities of color, and to offer to meet with community leaders to understand their role in this struggle.
George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. That is a simple and incontrovertible fact, supported not only by graphic video evidence but by a medical autopsy. Across the country, hundreds of law enforcement officials have expressed outrage at his death. But the BPPA, the largest police union in a majority-minority city, has been silent. That silence is telling. It does not reflect unity, or empathy. It is a profound step backwards, retreating from decades of progress on diversity and community policy. That silence is, to use the BPPA’s own words, dangerous, divisive, and wholly unwarranted.
In her public statements, D.A. Rollins—the first woman of color in the Commonwealth to serve as district attorney and first ever woman to serve in Suffolk County—acknowledged that fact and spoke to the pain of the Black community, who have watched countless men and women die in police custody because of the color of their skin. Although there are undoubtedly law enforcement officers who eschew excessive force and serve their communities with respect, it is right and necessary to speak up when officers fail the very people they are meant to serve and protect.
The Boston Police Department is not immune from these failures. The Department can and must do better.
D.A. Rollins called upon law enforcement unions like the BPPA to be a part of the solution. She also called on all members of the judicial system, including district attorneys across the Commonwealth, and the courts. She reminded us that we all have a role to play in ending systemic racism. We need those of all races and all walks of life to join in that fight without equivocation and with humility.
We commend D.A. Rollins for her remarks and stand with her and with our communities of color in solidarity and strength.
Lawyers for Civil Rights
NAACP Boston Branch
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys
ACLU of Massachusetts
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley
Sonia Chang-Diaz, State Senator
Becca Rausch, State Senator
Russell Holmes, State Representative, 6th Suffolk
Chynah Tyler, State Representative, 7th Suffolk
Nika Elugardo, State Representative, 15th Suffolk
Liz Miranda, State Representative, 5th Suffolk
Jon Santiago, State Representative, 9th Suffolk
Tram Nguyen, Esq., State Representative, 18th Essex
Maria Robinson, State Representative, 6th Middlesex
Mike Connolly, State Representative, 26th Middlesex
Denise Provost, State Representative, 27th Middlesex
Jack Lewis, State Representative, 7th Middlesex
Lindsay Sabadosa, State Representative, 1st Hampshire
Boston City Council President Kim Janey
Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, At-Large
Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia, At-Large
Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, District 1
Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, District 4
Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo, District 5
Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church
Reverend Ray A. Hammond, Co-Pastor of Bethel AME Church
Reverend Willie Bodrick, II, J.D., Associate Pastor of the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church
Reverend Jeffrey Brown, Associate Pastor of the Historic Twelfth Baptist Church
Reverend Art Gordon, M.Div., Senior Pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church
Pastor Bruce Wall, Global Ministries Christian Church
The statement is available here.Response-to-BPPA-Letter-to-DA-Rollins-1