To: Attorney General Loretta Lynch
To: Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
To: Ronald L. Davis, Director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office)
re: Request to DOJ to investigate and help reform the Boston Police Department
June 30, 2015
I am writing to you from Boston, Massachusetts where on Monday May 4th, we held a press conference as a formal public send-off of our initial letter requesting that the DOJ come to Boston in order to investigate and assist in reforming the Boston Police Department. I sent the letter via US Post Office Priority Mail with signature confirmation. I have also enclosed the original letter in this correspondence for convenience. The letter was signed by over 380 Boston residents, including a dozen family members who have lost loved ones at the hands of police, victims of police brutality and excessive force, individuals representing over 50 organizations and several former elected state officials.
I followed up with a subsequent email to the firstname.lastname@example.org email and recently received written confirmation of your receipt of the letter informing me it is under review and providing me with the ID number #3*****7
Boston has been consistently listed as one of the top five most racist cities in this country. With the national focus on the effect of race and racism on policing we cannot ignore the facts and say that Boston does not have a problem or that somehow Boston is not as bad as other places and therefore undeserving of scrutiny. Numerous studies and reports have long documented issues of racial profiling and have suggested solutions that have not been implemented. I referenced numerous cases in the original letter itself, however, I could have cited dozens more cases which highlight a serious and deep-rooted problem here.
Now that I have been provided ID number #3*****7 I would like to further submit several other incidents which have occurred since my last correspondence which are cause for further concern.
1.) Boston Herald 6/25/2015 “Boston cop pleads to lying to feds, will resign”
2.) Boston Herald 5/23/2015 “Boston cop on leave amid fed investigation”
3.) Boston Herald 5/15/2015 “Hispanic officers join call for diversity probe”
4.) Boston Globe 5/15/2015 “Boston paid $36m to settle police lawsuits; Largest payouts over decade were for deaths, wrongful convictions”
5.) Boston Herald 5/14/2015 “Calls to review BPD’s diversity; Boston’s black leaders want independent probe”
6.) Boston Globe 5/14/2015 “Boston police agree to release names of arrested officers” (After coming under fire for withholding the names of five officers caught driving drunk)
7.) Boston Globe 5/13/2015 “Sergeant: BPD passed me over for promotion; Black officer, white officer scored same on exam … but only one made lieutenant”
8.) Boston Herald 5/6/15 “Convicted cop killer granted a new trial” (Granted a new trial due to uncovered police corruption and conspiracy)
9.) Boston Herald 5/4/15 “BPD diversity remains out of sync with city”
10.) Boston Globe 5/4/15 “Black Boston police officers facing higher discipline rates than white counterparts”
11.) Boston Herald 5/2/15 “Boston cop apologizes for confronting man who filmed him”
12.) Boston Herald 5/1/2015 “Disgraced gang cop gets probation, fine”
These cases illustrate a consistent pattern of missteps and is particularly alarming given the short time span from our original letter. Communities of color in Boston have little faith in the Boston Police Department to police itself. In addition to the BPD, the community has also questioned the relationship between the police department and District Attorney Dan Conley. As has been noted across the country there is very little faith in local District Attorneys to investigate or prosecute police. Suffolk County DA Dan Conley is also currently facing two lawsuits alleging discriminatory and retaliatory practices in his office.
1) Boston Globe June 27, 2015 “Ex-ADA says Conley fired him in retaliation”
2) Boston Globe March 4, 2015 “Former prosecutor sues Suffolk district attorney”
I am hopeful that the DOJ will see the need in Boston for comprehensive police reform. Our request is not limited only to focus on police brutality and the killing of civilians, it includes corruption, misconduct, officer involvement in criminal endeavors, IAD process, civilian review, racial profiling, diversity and training.
Please also see media coverage of our original request:
1) Boston Globe 5/5/15 “Activists call for US review of Boston police”
2) Boston Metro 5/4/15 “Boston activists call on DOJ for BPD investigation, reform”
3) PBS Frontline 5/4/15 “What Does It Take for the Feds to Investigate a Police Department?”
I look forward to your response and thank you for your attention to this matter.
ID number #3*****7
Jamarhl Crawford (lead organizer)