The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association launched a racist attack at one of the two Black women running for mayor. Speaking with GBH News, Boston City Councilor Andrea J. Campbell, one of the candidates running for mayor, said this was a common pattern and practice.
“We all should be questioning the credibility of this particular bargaining unit,” Campbell said. “I’ve been asking at what point do the rank and file members of this union challenge the rhetoric of the leadership … and ask questions about whether or not the union’s leadership aligns with their values.”
The incident came after the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association took issue with Campbell’s hesitancy around supporting additional funding to police until there was a plan to address “troubling racial disparities that exist in our policing.” She told the Boston Herald that the questionable use of a gang database was also part of the holdup.
In response to the Herald’s report, the union lashed out on Twitter, prompting Campbell to call out the union over the accusations that a former BPPA president was a known child predator.
Instead of backing down, the union sidestepped the issue and insisted Campbell also had a history of “enabling criminals.”
As the Boston Globe previously reported, police shielded former union president Patrick M. Rose Sr. and helped him avoid accountability from credible child molestation accusations. In 1995, a criminal complaint against Rose was dropped, and an internal investigation found Rose “likely committed a crime.” Rose remained head of the union until three years ago, when he retired.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley called the racist vitriol “absolutely unacceptable” and said elected officials in the region are familiar with the union’s antics.
This is not the first time Pressley has taken the organization to task for attacking Black women. Pressley called out the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association last June for an attack on Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
“In a time of national crisis, when Black men and women are disproportionately dying in police custody, the BPPA should be at the table humbly working to chart a path forward, not tearing down a Black woman in leadership and putting her life at further risk,” Pressley said last June.
The Boston Police Department came under fire three years ago for tweeting about a white man during Black history month. The tweet recognized former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach for his efforts in uplifting Black players and coaches.
Earlier this year, an officer in nearby Cambridge was investigated for racist tweets attacking Pressley, the Democratic party, and Black Lives Matter. Boston police and their union have an issue with demands for accountability within the department. Over the years, the attacks on Black elected officials make it clear the current incident is par for the course.
Several of Campbell’s fellow candidates for mayor also called out the union’s response. GBH reported acting Mayor Kim Janey, Michelle Wu, and Annissa Essaibi George were among those calling out the union.
Wu made sure to note that change is coming to the department. Poised to have its first non-white and possibly first woman mayor, Boston police and their union need to come to terms quickly with the long-overdue course correction.
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