Springfield Police Lacks Accountability, Transparency & Diversity

Police Accountability, Racial Justice


Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) sent a letter to Justice Roderick L. Ireland, special advisor to the City of Springfield, identifying alarming trends we have observed surrounding deep-rooted injustices in the Springfield Police Department (SPD). The 11-page letter highlights three critical areas where reform is urgently needed: (1) accountability, (2) transparency, and (3) diversity. The letter provides concrete recommendations based on LCR’s meetings and discussions with community-based groups in Springfield; information secured by the organization through public records requests; and our own legal analysis and independent research.

LCR’s findings and recommendations are highly relevant to the investigation of SPD’s policies and practices, particularly in light of the recent scathing report from the Department of Justice (available here).

LCR is particularly concerned with the racial impact of SPD’s culture of police brutality. There are well-documented examples of SPD officers committing hate crimes, such as a narcotics bureau sergeant kicking a “youth in the head” while spitting on him and saying “welcome to the white man’s world.” Even officers of color are not safe as demonstrated by the recent termination of Florissa Fuentes, an SPD officer terminated for peacefully supporting the Black Lives Matter movement on social media. 

The letter was sent to Justice Ireland in his capacity as special advisor as Springfield works to implement changes in policy, training, and accountability as recommended by the Department of Justice. The letter requests a meeting and encourages dialogue with community-based organizations, including Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Out Now, and Pioneer Valley Workers Center.  

The letter is available here: