This timeline was produced by Mass Police Reform. Updated 8/4/20.
If you have data points to contribute please contact us. This document is being continuously updated.
The Purpose of this timeline is to provide a context and history for current conversations and movement for police reform and re-imagining and to “show receipts” for the failure to implement meaningful reform despite decades of broad based support for basic measures of accountability. The timeline shows:
Local incidents of Police use of excessive force up to and including the shooting and killing of civilians and prominent cases of police misconduct and criminality
Recommendations, reports and findings issued by community organizations, oversight bodies, commissions and professional law enforcement groups
Changing of leadership including elected officials and police commissioners / administrations and administrative actions
Original and investigative reporting from local and national news organizations and journalists
Proposed and enacted legislative and policy changes aimed at police reform, accountability and data collection
Table of Contents
The Boston Police Department was founded in 1854 but its origins date to the 1635 night watch and 1838 day police making it the oldest and first organized police force in the country.
1851 – Caution Colored People of Boston
As early as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Boston Police were complicit of not only upholding slavery but in some cases inflicting it on free Black Bostonians who were sent into bondage for ransom.
This poster was plastered throughout the city to warn residents of the dangers posed by the police to both escaped slaves seeking refuge in Boston part of the so called “free North” and its free Black citizens.
Johnson was suspected of burglary and shot as he climbed over a fence. Police claim he was struck by a warning shot and later said the shooting appeared to be justified. “There was a young man caught in the act of committing a felony, and there was no other means of apprehending him,” according to then Superintendent William Bradley. This practice of warning shots would not be ended until after the the accidental killing of the white 15 year old Michael Pender in 1973. This pattern of taking action only after public outcry surrounding the loss of white life is one that will be repeated.
BPD shot Smith claiming he jumped out of a car being pursued by police and slashed at officers with a knife. Eyewitness accounts that Smith was shot in the back seat of the car, the “downward trajectory” of his chest wound, Smith’s mother’s statement that she was in possession of the only knife her son owned: his Boy Scout knife, all conflicted with the police account. With pressure from NAACP’s Boston chapter the FBI began investigating the case to see if Smith’s Civil Rights had been violated. About 20 witnesses testified before Judge Francis Larkin in mid-May. By August, the results of the investigation still hadn’t been publicly released. Meanwhile, a policeman who shot another 15 year old, Michael Pender, was charged with manslaughter three weeks after that shooting. Pender was white, and Smith black. The contrasting legal treatment of the two shootings struck some as evidence of a racial double standard. “This shows how little regard there is for black lives,” state Rep. Mel King was quote saying to the Boston Globe. Suffolk County closed the case in September, ruling that Officer Clifford was justified in shooting Smith.
Pender was shot by officer Charles Ganimian in West Roxbury near the scene of a suspected burglary. Pender was struck after the officer fired a series of warning shots in the air to summon for help. A jury acquitted Ganimian of manslaughter. After Pender’s death, Boston Police banned warning shots. In explaining that change to the Globe in 1976, officer Homer Thibodeaux explicitly referred to Pender and Ganimian.
BPD’s quick action in the Pender case was a seen stark contrast for Black citizens who received no such swift justice.
1/29/75 – Two white undercover Boston police officers gun down innocent Black 25 year old James Bowden
The officers were accused along with other Boston police in a bungled scheme to cover it up. Two federal juries agreed in a historic verdict that the death of James Bowden at the hands of the BPD “was malicious, willful, wanton or reckless,’ and the result was a landmark legal decision which included a settlement of $843,000 for Bowden’s widow and two children. In more than 100 years, no one had won such a judgment against any police department.
Former Boston Phoenix reporter Dave O’Brian was on assignment to write a feature story about Boston’s Tactical Patrol Force and was in the back seat of the police cruiser along with a news photographer at the time of the incident. When the shooting occurred, he was crouched on the floor in fear. His role became crucial, though, because his notes about what happened in the aftermath contradicted police.
Looking for a tall, thin man, the police staked out the wrong car, then shoot a man who was 5 feet 4″ and weighs 180 pounds and had never been accused of a crime. The BPD versions of events in court contradict those of eyewitnesses, and also one another. A gun was planted at the scene to incriminate Bowden, but it was the wrong type. Crucial tape recordings from the dispatcher’s office were missing when investgators tried to locate them.
The killing of the unarmed Hart was widely denounced as an act of police brutality.
Levi Hart, a 14 year old African American youth from Roxbury, Mass., was killed in a police chase. Hart, and two other Roxbury youths had stolen a car. When the officers caught up to them, Hart was shot, by Richard Bourque in an act of police brutality.
News: Boston Globe
Pate was shot five times and killed by Boston Police officers after police said he tried to run down officers in a stolen Cadillac in Back Bay. A private autopsy indicated that Pate had been beaten by police and that he had bruises around his testicles, on his back, and on his scalp. Medical examiners found bruises on his scalp. A Boston municipal court inquest found that Pate was shot once in the car and four more times as he was “alighting” from the car. The inquest, conducted by Judge George O’Toole, concluded that the use of deadly force was justified. The Suffolk County district attorney declined to press charges against the officers. A federal investigation also did not result in any charges. Pate’s mother sued Boston Police officers in a $37 million suit in civil court. “I want them to pay for murdering my son. I want them to pay for it,” said the slain man’s mother, Eloise Pate. “They didn’t have to do what they did.” A jury found that the shooting was justified. One officer was found to have violated Pate’s civil rights when he put his foot on Pate’s neck. He was ordered to pay $20,000 to Pate’s mother.
This was after police said Mancuso stole a vehicle, led police on a short car chase, and then lunged at BPD Officer Quinn with a knife. Mancuso died several days later. The case was settled for $500,000.
Donald Johnson was shot dead by police while he was driving a stolen bus.
Boston Police shot and killed five suspects accused of non-violent crimes in 1988; Four of those five suspects were African American.
Johnson who was cited for heroism after he rescued a family from a fire four years earlier was fatally shot by police after he took a Greyhound bus for a joy ride.
Police maintain they shot at the bus, killing Johnson, because he was endangering the lives of others by refusing to stop driving erratically through a Boston neighborhood late at night. City officials, in preliminary findings, say the shooting was justified.
But his mother, Betty Johnson, a longtime community activist, and other Black leaders claim that police overreacted, shooting someone who was unarmed and had no criminal background.
The incident occurred as he and his brother Pedro fled from authorities near the Mission Hill Housing Project. Hernandez survived the shooting. Officers James E. Hall and Walter M. Jones said they began questioning Hernandez on suspicion that he and others at Mamma Gina’s Pizza were drinking beer underage. Officers frisked Hernandez and allegedly found several bullets on him. Hernandez and his brother then allegedly assaulted the officers and ran away. According to Hall’s police report and court testimony, Hernandez stopped running, turned around, and raised his right arm and pointed “in my direction with what appeared to be a revolver.” Hall then fired twice at Jose Hernandez. One bullet struck Hernandez in the back and exited through his upper-left chest area. Yet despite an “immediate and thorough search,” no weapon was found on the scene.
Several witnesses testified that Hernandez did not stop or raise his arm at all. “These police officers have come into court and deliberately perjured themselves in order to justify the unconscionable act of shooting a man in the back,” Hernandez’s lawyer said in court. A district court judge found insufficient evidence to charge Hernandez with assault with a dangerous weapon or two counts of assault and battery on a police officer. He was charged with unlawful possession of ammunition. Hernandez’s brother was found guilty of disorderly conduct, but not guilty of two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, according to the Globe. A Boston Police investigation into the shooting said the officers’ style of policing was “dismal,” but cleared Hall of any wrongdoing. “That Jose was hit in the back is merely an accidental combination of many factors, i.e., time, shooting proficiency, etc., which is unfortunate but cannot be helped,” the internal report read.
10/23/1989 – White man Charles Stuart murders his wife and shoots himself deflecting blame on a fictional Black gunman resulting in a heavily criticized Boston Police investigation which aggressively targeted black men across the city
Charles Stuart, a white man shot and murdered his pregnant wife Carol (née DiMaiti, born March 26, 1959, in Boston) before shooting himself in an apparent life insurance murder scheme. According to Stuart’s subsequent statement, a Black gunman with a raspy voice forced his way into their car at a stoplight, ordered them to drive to nearby Mission Hill, robbed them, then shot Charles in the stomach and Carol in the head.
Police found a young man, Willie Bennett, who fit Stuart’s description. On December 28, Stuart identified Bennett as his attacker in a lineup. After their case collapsed when Charles Stuart’s brother Matthew identified Charles as Carol’s killer, Boston Police were criticized for their investigation and blamed for raising racial tensions in the city. Among promised solutions by officials was a special commission, headed by attorney James St. Clair, convened to examine police practices.
US Attorney General would later release a report that was sharply critical of the investigation as well.
The Suffolk County District Attorney, which at the time was Newman A. Flanagan, determined the killing as self-defense, and thus a “justifiable homicide.” Lackland’s family filed a wrongful death civil rights lawsuit, demanding to know how he could have been shot directly in the back of the head while supposedly facing the officer. After weeks of deliberation, in what many family members and activists saw as collusion between the Boston Police and District Attorney’s office, BPD Officer Ronan was exonerated from any wrongdoing. Flanagan determined that the bullet wound was a result of Lackland twisting around from a misplaced “roundhouse swing of his knife.”
7/10/1991 – United States Attorney issued a sharply critical report outlining serious misconduct by Boston Police detectives involved in the Stuart investigation
The U.S. Attorney’s investigation disclosed evidence of police misconduct directed against civilian witnesses, and individuals who were targets of the homicide investigation, including coercion and intimidation of civilian witnesses by investigating police officers through the use of actual or implied threats of arrest, imprisonment, and physical beatings; forcing witnesses to give false statements incriminating Willie Bennett and relying upon such false evidence to obtain search warrants; and apparent attempts to plant controlled substances in the home of witnesses. While the U.S. Attorney concluded that his office lacked the requisite admissible evidence to prosecute the officers under the narrowly defined federal criminal civil rights statutes, he urged BPD Commissioner Roache to review the evidence of police misconduct for possible disciplinary action.
Rogers was shot and killed by Boston Police officer James Hall while the unarmed 16 year old hid under a car in Dorchester.
Hall, the same officer who shot Jose Hernandez, said that when he crouched down to see if anyone was under the car, he slipped and his gun accidentally discharged. His attorney said it was a “tragic accident” and blamed the “very light pulling requirement” of Hall’s Glock handgun, which had been a focus of criticism prior to the shooting. Hall was suspended for five days because he was outside his designated patrol area at the time. His past shooting of Hernandez, and several past civilian complaints against his behavior, led Mayor Raymond Flynn to openly criticize regulations that protected “unfit” officers from being fired.
About 200 people attended Rogers’s funeral, where he was remembered as a good student and a role model for other young people. At a protest against police brutality a month later, parents of victims of police shootings marched and chanted, “No justice, no peace.”
Investigators discovered that Hall had driven away from the scene of the shooting before returning to call an ambulance for Rogers. Upon that discovery, the Suffolk district attorney took his case to a grand jury. Hall was indicted and charged with second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty.
Before the case went to trial, Hall was fired for filing inaccurate reports and misconduct in a 1990 incident in which he was accused of breaking a prisoner’s arm at the police booking station.
At the trial, prosecutors said Hall intentionally fired into the pavement to scare Rogers, but the bullet ricocheted off the ground and hit the youth.
Young residents in Rogers’s neighborhood testified that Hall had threatened to harm or shoot them in the past. One witness said Hall had threatened another young friend, saying, “You keep on running, or I’ll shoot you or sic my dog on you.” In addition, a ballistics expert testified that in tests, Hall’s gun did not fire when dropped.
A jury convicted Hall of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 5-1/2 to 10 years in prison.
“here’s not a day goes by that I do not feel the pain of my murdered son,” Rogers’s mother Judy said.
Rogers’s family was awarded $500,000 in a settlement with the city for the shooting.
In a brief conversation with Boston.com, Hall’s sister said her brother would not comment. “He hasn’t had a life,” she said. “His life was taken and over with back then.”
1/14/1992 – The “St. Claire Commission” Report of the Boston Police Department Management Review Committee Submitted to Mayor Raymond L. Flynn
The Report of the Boston Police Department Management Review Committee by the “St. Claire Commission called for changes across the department.
1/15/1992 – New York Times report Mayor Raymond L. Flynn under pressure after results of St. Claire Commission
The special panel which advised him against retaining the police commissioner, who is a boyhood friend of the Mayor and one of his closest associates. The special commission, which was appointed by the Mayor himself to look into Police Department procedures, recommended that the commissioner, Francis M. Roache, be replaced when his term expires in April. The panel also sharply criticized the handling of civilian complaints by the police.
7/12/1993 – Thomas Menino takes over as Mayor
He would serve for five consecutive terms from 1993 until 2013.
3/24/1994 – Black 75 year old Rev. Accelyne Williams dies in Boston Police SWAT Team Raid
Acting on a wrong address from a bad tip by an informant, the police conducted a no-knock raid on Retired Methodist minister Accelyne Williams’ Boston, MA apartment. The door was battered down and Williams was chased around his home by a SWAT police team looking for drugs and guns. Williams was tackled to the floor and his hands tied behind his back. Williams collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 75. No guns or drugs were found, as it was soon discovered they raided the wrong apartment. No misconduct was found.
6/30/1994 – William J. Bratton takes over as Boston Police Commissioner
Succeeding Francis Roache who had served as commissioner since he took over as acting commissioner in February 1, 1985. Roache was recommended to be removed in the St. Claire Commission Report.
1/10/1994 – Paul F. Evans takes over as acting commissioner
Also known as the Boston Gun Project and the Boston Miracle, Operation Ceasfire s a problem-oriented policing initiative implemented in 1996 in Boston, Massachusetts. The program was specifically aimed at youth gun violence as a large-scale problem. The plan is based on the work of criminologist David M. Kennedy.
1995 – Black plainclothes Boston Police officer Michael Cox severely beaten by BPD Officers who mistook him for a suspect
Officers thought Cox, a plainclothes officer working in the Gang Unit at the time was part of a group of fleeing suspects that he and his partner were in fact perusing. He was reportedly hit from behind and in the darkness and excitement of the night not recognized by his fellow officers until he was already badly beaten by them. Officers accounts of the night varied greatly and offered little insight on to how such a mistake could have been made. The official explanation for Cox’s extensive injuries which kept him out of work for six months was that he had slipped on ice.
He was left beaten and unconscious until members of his own unit found him and called for medical assistance. The department covered up the case and no officers were held responsible or found of any wrongdoing. Following the incident Cox and his family were threatened and harassed by members of the BPD.
After a car chase in 2000 that injured two officers and four others, the 27 year old from Roxbury was shot and killed. Investigators said he had what appeared to be a suicide note in his wallet. Officers opened fire after he allegedly struck other cars and drove the wrong way down a one-way street.
A Boston Municipal Police officer fired at 29 year old Ricky Bodden of Dorchester. The shooting occurred after Bodden allegedly ran when the officer tried to question him outside a Dorchester park. The force patrols city-owned buildings.
An officer shot Pineda, 31, after he stabbed a plainclothes detective in the leg in 2001. The East Boston man’s family said he was mentally ill and intoxicated at the time. He spoke little English and there were doubts that he understood commands to stop running away from police and drop his weapon. He had been mugged twice in that area, leading his family to believe that Pineda thought it was happening again.
A Boston Globe article reported that a the mother of a Mattapan teenager, after seeing the medical report on her son, claims he was shot in the back last summer without justification by Boston police. Carline Seide-Murphy said the Boston Police first reported that her son suffered a fatal wound to the abdomen. The medical report said her 19 year old son, Rene Romain, was shot in the back July 15 at the Mattapan Square T station. The police said Romain had threatened two officers with a knife but Family say medical records show Boston police shot him in back.
The incident occurred during a traffic stop. A witness sitting in the front seat beside Willie Murray Jr. when he was shot described the terrifying moment. He said he watched as BPD Officer West shoved the barrel of his gun in the crack of Murray’s opened window, ordered him to open the door. Murray was shot after his foot slipped off the brake and the car rolled forward. Five years after Willie L. Murray Jr. was shot to death the city agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the wrongful death suit that was about to go to trial in federal court.
In May 2002, two officers shot and killed Nelson Santiago after he allegedly rammed a stolen car into their cruiser in Roxbury.
Police shot an unarmed man to death as he drove a stolen car toward an officer after a chase, authorities said. It was the sixth fatal shooting by Boston police in 18 months. Police said Nelson Santiago, 39, was driving a stolen Toyota Camry Tuesday when he evaded one set of officers. A second pair later picked up the pursuit and cornered him on a dead-end street. Santiago tried to make a U-turn and struck their cruiser twice, police said. He then allegedly drove toward one of the officers, and both opened fire, striking Santiago multiple times.
On July 2, 2002 Boston Police shot and killed LaVeta Jackson in her home. She suffered from mental illness. 3 officers fired 15-20 rounds.
Police encountered a psychotic Jackson in the cellar of her residence after she had killed her own two young children with a knife. She allegedly lunged at officers with the same knife and she was shot to death.
On July 15, 2002 Cambridge Police broke down the door of Daniel Furtado, and shot him dead in his home. He was accused of cutting a cable TV wire, a misdemeanor. Police had no warrant, nor a court order to enter his home. An 8 Man SWAT Team shot 3-4 rounds.
She was riding in the back seat of a car that police tried to stop after it ran a stoplight. The car allegedly struck Boston Police Officer Michael Paillat prompting his partner Officer Thomas Taylor Jr. to fire five shots into the car as it sped away.
The fatal shooting was the eighth by Boston police officers in a 22-month period between November 2000 and September 2002. Criminal charges were not brought against officers in any of the shootings. The death of the unarmed young mother caused marches, protests, and eventual changes in Boston’s policing guidelines.
11/14/2003 – James Hussey takes over as acting Boston Police commissioner
1/31/2004 – Alliance Security employed by BHA shoot and kill Latino 56 year old Israel Vasquez-Roble
A police officer fatally shot Vasquez-Robles as he was driving away from the Villa Victoria housing complex in the South End. Vasquez-Robles, who police identified as a Boston resident, was shot once in the chest by one of 2 Alliance Security guards employed by Villa Victoria after he allegedly drove his car into one security guard and then put it in reverse and backed into the second guard, police said. After he was shot, Vasquez-Robles drove off and crashed his car nearby on Tremont Street, according to police. He was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center.
2/19/2004 – Kathleen O’Toole takes over as acting Boston Police commissioner
A report by the Northeastern University Institute on Race and Justice calls for:
- All law enforcement agencies, as a part of good professional police practices, should establish a system to collect and monitor data on all traffic stop activity.
- Following national models for traffic stop data collection, a uniform set of data elements to be collected on all stops should be identified. It is important that any new data collection system include information on officer identification and the location of the stop in the required data collection elements. Additionally a specific timetable for data collection, auditing and reporting should be established.
- All local police agencies should begin or continue a conversation with members of their community about the existence of disparities in traffic stops, the goals of traffic enforcement and strategies to monitor and reduce such disparities.
- Local community groups and representatives can assist departments that express a sincere willingness to work on the issue by gathering participants who could provide meaningful feedback to police agencies about the goals of traffic enforcement and the levels of disparity identified in the report.
Police called to a domestic disturbance were confronted by Shea, who was armed with a knife. Shea refused to comply with orders to drop it. He advanced on the officer, and the officer fatally shot him.
Bowen was shot three times (once in the back of the head) while fleeing after a traffic stop, and witnesses said he was unarmed.
After an investigation the shooting was found “justifiable” and neither Officers James Sheehan (3 Shots) nor Brian Smigielski (4 shots) were charged.
Gonzalez who was mentally ill, and weighed no more than 110 pounds, was fatally shot inside the Tremont Street apartment he shared with his mentally ill sister by two officers as he approached them with a knife. Neighbors said they told police the Puerto Rican native was mentally ill before they entered his apartment.
10/22/2004 – Boston Police accidentally shoot and kill white 21 year old Victoria Snelgrove with a pepper spray pellet while dispersing a crowd
Snelgrove was an Emerson College senior from East Bridgewater. Police shot her in the eye with a pepper-pellet gun when she was standing on Lansdowne Street, watching crowds celebrate the Red Sox victory clinching the American League pennant. The case resulted in a
settlement for $5.1 milllion.
Police shot and killed Seney, a 28 year old murder suspect, in Boston’s Theater District in 2005 after he reportedly opened fire on them, allegedly narrowly missing one officer who was taking cover behind a parked car.
5/31/2006 – Al Goslin (Acting) takes over as Boston Police Commissioner
12/5/2006 – Edward F. Davis III takes over as acting Boston Police commissioner
Barker was a father of five had worked for the county as a jail officer for 18 years. Barker’s wife called police, describing him as mentally disturbed and irrational. Officers responded, finding him holding an apparent weapon and asking to be shot. He then somehow stole a cruiser and led police on a half-mile pursuit. He was shot and killed. His weapon had been a pellet gun.
6/29/2007 Five years after Willie L. Murray Jr. was shot to death by a Boston police during a traffic stop in Roxbury
The city agreed to pay $75,000 to settle the wrongful death suit that was about to go to trial in federal court.
6/17/2008 – White 22 year old David Woodman dies in Boston Police custody
Boston police stopped Woodman for holding a beer outside Fenway Park and detained him. During the arrest Woodman was handcuffed and deprived of oxygen for about 5 minutes. Eyewitnesses say police made no attempt to revive him, and lied to responding paramedics. Woodman died 11 days later. In June 2010 the family settled with the city for $3.1 million.
7/31/2008 – CO-OP 2008 Annual Report
The Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel created by the Menino Administration to provide review and oversight of the Boston Police IA Complaint process issues their first report and with it recommendations:
7/31/2009 – CO-OP 2008 Annual Report
In their 2009 report the CO-OP reiterate their 2008 recommendations.
He was shot by Officer Jared White after becoming disoriented and wandering through his neighborhood asking for help. Ramos’s family questioned why police used deadly force on a man who had lived most of his adult life on the street where he was shot and was known to be eccentric, but not violent.
Suffolk DA and BPD say he exchanged fire with officers and was wounded before shot himself in the head which was the fatal and final shot.
Community and family members raised questions about the police account of the incident and pushed for an investigation.
7/31/2010 – CO-OP 2010 Annual Report
A comprehensive overview of Internal Affairs Division (IAD) data for 2009 and portions of 2010 is provided along with charts and graphs which reveal trends in regard to the number, type and resolution of complaints against Boston Police personnel. The data is broken down according to whether the complaint was initiated by a citizen or by a member of the Boston Police Department. For example in 2009, there were 105 complaints filed by citizens. Improper use of non-lethal force and disrespectful treatment continued to be the most common violations that citizens alleged in 2009.
The data also indicates that “non-conformance to laws” was the most common type of internal complaint. Furthermore, during 2009, nineteen (19%) percent of citizen complaint findings were sustained and seventy-three (73%) percent of internal investigation findings were sustained. The report provides data in regard to the racial make-up of the complainants. It also looks at the race of BPD personnel against whom complaints were made.
The report details the number of cases that were reviewed by the CO-OP, including the outcome and recommendations. (A more detailed summary of each reviewed case is contained in the section entitled Summary of Current Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel Cases.) The Panel reviewed thirteen (13) new cases in 2010. Ten (10) of those cases were a product of citizens appealing the fairness and/or thoroughness of the investigation by IAD. Three (3) cases were a result of random audit of cases pursuant to the Mayor’s Executive Order. Of the thirteen (13) cases reviewed, ten (10) cases were deemed to be fair and thorough
10/27/2010 – Video of Boston police arrest at Roxbury Community College of 16 year old for outstanding warrants decried by community as excessive use of force
The video of the arrest shows at least one officer punching the 16 year old and repeatedly using a knee to hit him as he lay face down on the floor, subdued by at least five police officers. The teen is heard screaming and asking the officer why he was hitting him in the back. Witnesses and community members At the time the City Council President Michael Ross called video “outrageous” while Mayor Tom Menino chose to “reserve judgment until there was a complete investigation”.
11 months later Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said a review of the arrest shows police acted appropriately and used only enough force to bring the teen under control.
1/3/2011 – Who’s policing the police?
By Lawrence Harmon Globe Columnist / July 2, 2011
Either Boston has the best-behaved police officers in the country or residents don’t complain about treatment at the hands of police because they consider it a waste of time. The smart money is on the latter.
In 2010, residents filed just 138 complaints against the Boston Police, a force of more than 2,000 sworn officers. The police force in Portland, Ore. – roughly half the size of Boston’s – received almost three times that number of complaints for reasons ranging from rudeness to excessive use of force. In Denver, citizens filed 600 complaints against the city’s almost 1,500-member police force. Read Full Story
Retired 68 year old bus MBTA mechanic was shot by a Framingham police officer during a drug raid at his home. According to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office it was an accident. The actions of Officer Paul Duncan “do not rise to the level of criminal conduct,” and “do not support a criminal charge,” the DA said.
Police arrived at a domestic dispute call to find Cummings on the street. Police say Cummings pulled out a handgun while being frisked and pointed it at an officer’s head. In the resulting firefght one of the officers and a member of Cumming’s family were both wounded in the leg, and Cummings was shot six times. He died in the hospital 34 days later.
Boston Police shot and killed Mark McMullen after a chase beginning in Roxbury on Blue Hill Ave. continuing through Boston and onto I-93 which ended at Exit 14 off Route 3 South in Rockland.
In 2011, McMullen, 44, was killed after allegedly hitting and dragging a woman with his car, then speeding away. These allegations were contradicted by accounts McMullen merely was speaking to a woman on the curb through his car window before speeding off when officers flashed their sirens. An hour-long chase ensued, and police said McMullen rammed two cruisers before he was shot. Two officers and a state trooper were hospitalized. The ACLU of Massachusetts and McMullen’s family demanded an independent investigation. They said the officer’s decisions to chase and then shoot McMullen were questionable. During the pursuit dispatchers ordered the officers to break off pursuit. These orders were not followed.
The Investigation found McMullen was shot through the side of the car door both on the passenger and the drivers side which contradicted officer accounts that McMullen was driving towards officers.
7/31/2012 – CO-OP 2012 Annual Report
The CO-OP 2012 annual report offered the following recommendations:
Burrell was stopped while driving a car and was chased on foot by police. The chase ended with Burrell being shot and killed. The police accused Burrell of having a gun, but the one they produced did not have his fingerprints on it.
The family called for an investigation and accountability. They have still not received justice.
From the Community: Letter to Police Commisioner (Suffolk DA)
Blackstonian Report on the lack of diversity in the BPD:
1/9/2013 – Boston Police Awards 3 Officers involved in High-Profile Brutality cases infused with race
The Boston Police department in its latest routine round of awarding officers for “outstanding performance” of their duties during the past year has named among its many recipients 3 officers in particular who were involved in some of the departments most highly publicized and controversial cases, all of which include elements of race and police brutality and use of excessive and/or deadly force.
These officers are: Brian R. Dunford, Michael T. McManus, Christopher R. Carr
These awards send a message of disregard and disrespect to the Black Community. Remember the outrage after the tragedy of DJ Henry when Officer Aaron Hess was awarded Officer of the Year by the Pleasantville Police Dept? Here in Boston, these 3 separate cases are all hot buttons and the BPD is well aware of the message that these awards send to a community in constant struggle with its Police Department. Shame on the BPD, you dont have to be a detective to know this is not a good look. Read More
2/14/2013 – The BPD adds insult to injury
By Chris Faraone | February 5, 2013
Like virtually all big-city police departments, the BPD has an image problem that never seems to go away. And this year is already looking pretty ugly. Take Officer Henderson Parker, the 18-year veteran who was charged with rape in January; he’d previously served a 30-day suspension back in 2002 after a domestic spat “hat resulted in injuries,” according to police records obtained by the Boston Globe.
Parker was also on the scene in 2008 when the arrest of Emmanuel College student David Woodman spiraled out of control. On the night the Celtics won the NBA championship, Woodman had been partying on the street near Fenway Park, when he and some friends, some of whom were drinking in public, clashed with police. After being tackled by officers, Woodman — who had a heart condition — stopped breathing for several minutes, suffering brain damage from the oxygen deprivation. He died in the hospital 11 days later. Read More
38-year old Ross Baptista of Dorchester was shot and killed by the Boston Police after they responded twice to reports of a shooting outside a house party on June 2, 2013.
Police responded to Willowwood Street in Dorchester, where there were reports a man had a gun and was shooting. When officers approached the man in his car, he allegedly fired at them, police said. Police returned fire and the man was shot and killed.
7/31/2013 – CO-OP 2013 Annual Report
As the City of Boston and its police department proceed through this period of transition, the challenges of policing remain unchanged. Ensuring the fairness and thoroughness of the internal affairs process is but one facet of the police department’s ongoing effort to establish and maintain trusting relationships with the community it serves. This Annual Report, comprising our work on matters brought before the CO-OP in 2012, represents our contribution to this worthy endeavor.
As explained in further detail within the data section of this report, cases are brought to us either on direct appeal from the complainant, or through a random audit process. The number of cases brought to us by direct appeal has doubled, from ten (10) appeals originating in 2011 to twenty (20) appeals originating in 2012. We attribute this rise, at least in part, to a concerted effort by the police department to increase citizen access to the complaint and appeal processes at the district level and via the internet.
Overall we have completed reviews of twenty-three (23) of the thirty (30) cases (appealed & random) referred to us in 2012. Of the 23 reviewed we found that nineteen (19) investigations were fairly and thoroughly conducted and that four (4) were either unfair and/or not thorough. Seven (7) matters are still pending, meaning that the case is still being processed by the assigned Ombudsman or that it has been returned to the Internal Affairs Division for clarification or supplemental investigation. Additional information about the type and number of individual allegations referred to the CO-OP in 2012 can be found in the “Case Data” section of the report.
This Report also includes an “Observations by the Panel” section in which we present our recommendations for changes in the investigative practices of the Internal Affairs Division. We are pleased to note that several of our recommendations from last year were adopted in some form by the police department. For instance, we recommended that the department incorporate the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Glik v. Cunniffe into its recruit and in-service training to ensure that officers respond appropriately to citizen use of cell phone cameras and similar devices to record officers in the performance of their duties. In our meeting with Training Academy command and staff this past year, we were briefed on the measures taken to reinforce the Glik decision at the recruit level, at in-service training, and through the dissemination of audio/visual materials to officers at the district stations. The Bureau of Professional Development has adopted similarly innovative approaches to training officers in the Use of Force and other areas. As with other transitional changes now underway, we trust that with the promotion of Lisa Holmes to Bureau Superintendent, the
Academy Division will continue its collaborative work with the CO-OP in training efforts aimed at building and fostering professionalism throughout the police department.
Blackstonian blasts BPD promotions as lacking in diversity after it promoted 5 officers to the rank of Sargent all of whom were white while officers of color were overlooked.
Blackstonian leads rally on City Hall Plaza to push for numerous local reforms including calling again for an open conversation between the BPD, the City and the community on improving police and police community relations.
Police said two plainclothes officers were conducting a drug investigation at about 2 p.m., when they saw two men “acting suspiciously”. Police said when they approached, one of the men began shooting. The officers returned fire, striking Hendricks,who was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he later died.
Video: MAMLEO Press conference Vote of “No Confidence” for BPD Commissioner Ed Davis
8/20/2013 – Ed Davis’s Minority Report
The Boston police commissioner is being floated as a potential nominee for head of Homeland Security, but there’s trouble at home, with allegations of rampant racial discrimination in his force. Read More
Reynoso was shot to death by a local officer in his own apartment, in front of his five year old son. Police had responded to a report of Reynoso acting erratically and claimed that the victim had managed to grab one of the officer’s pistols and fired two shots. Subsequent investigation found grave problems with the police account, and called into question the DA’s exoneration of these officers and many others.
9/10/2013 – MAMLEO responds to Open Letter from BPD Commissioner Davis | Open Letter from from BPD Commissioner Davis
In an open letter to MAMLEO the BPD refuted the organizations claims and defended its diversity and hiring promotion practices. In an open response MAMLEO said “First, we want to say we are in total agreement with you regarding the great number of professional, dedicated officers on the Boston Police Department. This is the only thing The Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers can agree with you on.” Read More
20 year old Darryl Dookhran was killed Saturday December 7th, 2013 in the afternoon after two plainclothes BPD officers stopped him and 26 year old Dorchester resident Christopher Murrain near Geneva Avenue and Westville Street, Police said.
According to police, Murrain shoved one of the officers and the pair took off running. Dookhran allegedly turned and fired on the officers with a semiautomatic handgun, hitting one in the arm. The officers returned fire, killing Dookhran.
12/28/2013 – Seeking Justice & Truth For Darryl Dookhran
The Family of Darryl Dookhran appreciates all the support that family, friends and community have offered. “Right now our family is reaching out to you for assistance in receiving Justice for Darryl.
Darryl’s life was wrongfully taken and we will continue to fight for truth and justice. We ask the community for their aid and cooperation.”
1/6/2014 – Martin J. Walsh takes over as mayor
He succeeds Mayor Menino who served as mayor for 20 years.
1/9/2014 – William B. Evans takes over as acting commissioner
He succeeds Ed Davis who retired to be a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
2/17/2014 – Does Law Enforcement Have A License To Kill?
At least 23 people were shot by police in Massachusetts in 2013 — 11 of them fatally, according to figures provided by Boston and State Police, troubling authorities who say the numbers reflect the growing threats police face, and startling civil libertarians who worry about the prevalence of deadly force.
From 2008 through 2013, the number of people shot by officers and state troopers has grown every year. Over that time period, there have been 86 shootings, 67 of which were determined to be justified. Two were classified as accidental, and two led to recommendations that the officers be retrained. The rest remain under investigation. Last year, Boston officials investigated six officer-involved shootings, compared with 1 in 2012. State Police investigated 17 in 2013 compared with 14 in 2012.
2/26/2014 – Bay State Banner finds Seven years after the city established a civilian board to review allegations of police abuse, the board remains largely powerless, ineffective and little-known
According to attorneys and community activists contacted by the Banner. Between 2008 and 2011, the years for which CO-OP provides data on its website, only 31 complainants have appealed to the board. IAD fielded 900 citizen complaints of police misconduct in that same period.
3/21/2014 – Man Suing Boston, Police Officers Over Brutality
A witness to an arrest that allegedly led to police brutality sues over being arrested himself for filming the encounter. Read More
Remis M. Andrews, 38, of Boston was shot and killed after allegedly lunging at officers with knives while they were attempting to arrest him. The shooting took place after police received a 911 call from a woman who said she was being assaulted by her boyfriend at 77 Lenox St. in the South End.
6/26/2014 – Blackstonian updates its report: Killed by the Police: Boston & Beyond
- BPD Killed 5 people in 1988 alone. 4 out of 5 were Black
- BPD Killed 6 Between 1995 and Nov. 2000
- BPD Killed 8 Between Nov. 2000 and Sep 2002
- BPD Killed 2 Between June 2004 and July 2004
- BPD Killed 8 from 2005 to 2015
- BPD Killed 3 from 2013 to 2015
- BPD Killed 29 people from 1988 and 2015
7/31/2014 – CO-OP 2014 Annual Report
In March 2007, former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino established the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (“CO-OP), a three-member appeals body tasked with ensuring fairness and thoroughness in the Boston
Police internal affairs process. The first panel (“Hall Panel”) comprised of David Hall, former Dean and Professor, Northeastern University School of Law; John O’Brien, Dean, New England Law |Boston; and Ruth Suber, former member of the Massachusetts Parole Board, served from 2007 until the end of 2010. In 2011, three new CO-OP members were appointed (“Hart Panel”): Damon Hart, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Liberty Mutual Insurance; Richard Kelliher, Senior Fellow, Moakley Center for Public Management; and Natashia Tidwell, Associate Professor, New England Law |Boston. The Hart Panel’s appointment ended in July 2014. During its tenure, the Hart Panel reviewed approximately 17% of the internal affairs investigations that were eligible for appeal.
This Annual Report details the Hart Panel’s work on cases referred to the CO-OP in 2013 and all other matters completed since January 2014. As explained further within the data section of this report, cases are brought to the CO-OP either on direct appeal from the complainant, or through a random audit process. In 2013, 14 cases were referred – eight (8) through direct appeal and six (6) via the random audit process. While these figures are similar to those from most of the previous reporting periods, they represent a sharp decrease from 2012 when the number of appealed cases spiked to twenty (20).
In summary, the CO-OP completed reviews of all fourteen (14) of the cases referred in 2013 as well as thirteen (13) additional matters previously referred. Of the twenty-seven (27) cases reviewed, the CO-OP determined that fifteen (15) investigations were fairly and thoroughly conducted and that eleven (11) investigations were either unfair and/or not thorough. One (1) matter is still pending, meaning that the case is being processed by an Ombudsman or that it has been returned to the Internal Affairs Division for clarification or supplemental investigation. Additional information about the type and number of individual allegations referred to the CO-OP in 2013 can be found in the “Case Data” section of this report. A brief summary of each reviewed case, including those referred in previous years but completed during this reporting period, is located in the “Summary of CO-OP Cases” section.
As in years past, the Case Data section of this report opens with a recap of the Internal Affairs Division’s (IAD) work during the CO-OP reporting period. IAD provided this data for the purpose of lending context to the report on cases reviewed by the panel. However, the correlation between IAD’s data and CO-OP case data is not entirely symmetrical. Matters referred to the CO-OP in 2013 may, but do not necessarily include allegations of misconduct from 2013. In fact, most of the cases referred to the CO-OP in 2013 stemmed from internal affairs complaints lodged in 2012 or before. The issue of timeliness and the potential impact of delays on the fairness and thoroughness of investigations is discussed in the “Case Timelines” section of this report.
Recently, The Boston Herald published a series “Justice on hold” focusing on the 336 unsolved murders in Boston, particularly the shooting deaths in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. Much of what they revealed confirms “The 20 Year Homicide Report” published here on Blackstonian which was authored by Darrin Howell. While the usual angles were all explored there was one angle that always seems to be missed; the relationship between the Boston Police and communities of color. This major point is often touched on but never fully explored. Read More
10/1/2014 – ACLUM releases “Black, Brown and Targeted” Report
The findings confirm what many people from communities of color have long suspected: Boston police officers targeted people of color at far greater rates than white people.
In 2010, the BPD secured a researcher to analyze more than 204,000 BPD reports of police-civilian encounters from 2007 to 2010. These reports, known as “Field Interrogation, Observation, Frisk and/or Search”—or “FIOFS Reports,” are made when an officer records having interrogated, observed, stopped, frisked, or searched someone. The researcher’s preliminary analysis of these FIOFS Reports found evidence that Black Bostonians are more likely to be selected for these encounters than otherwise identical white Bostonians.
Most alarmingly, the analysis found that Blacks were subjected to 63% of these encounters, even though they made up just 24% of Boston’s population. The analysis also showed that crime—whether measured by neighborhood crime rates or the arrest records or alleged gang involvement of the civilians subjected to these encounters—does not explain away this racial disparity
10/5/2014 – Blackstonian announces Black & Blue: Discussing The Relationship Between BPD & Communities Of Color
Community town hall meeting to discuss the police / community relationship and proposed solutions and reforms.
Police, Clergy and Citizens alike have all identified a disconnect and mistrust between the BPD and communities of color which prevents them from providing us the service we want and deserve. Join us as we explore the root causes of the disconnect and offer solutions for the BPD to serve & protect our community.
- Unsolved Homicides
- Police Shooting/Killing Civilians
- Police Brutality
- Diversity in BPD
The Black & Blue Community Town Hall Forum yielded many action items:
It seems almost too ridiculous to be true. Or at least too insensitive. Especially during a time when the behavior of law enforcement is front-and-center nationwide, and with the grand jury still out on whether Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson broke the law in fatally shooting 18 year old Michael Brown.
Yet it is the case, unbelievably, that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and the State Police pinned a medal yesterday on three troopers who shot and killed Denis Reynoso, a veteran of the Iraq War who was reportedly suffering from PTSD. The shooting happened last year at the victim’s apartment complex in Lynn.
12/15/2014 – 55 Killings by cops in decade, no indictments Critics call for impartial DAs, others say no issue
More than 50 civilians have been killed by Bay State cops during the past decade, roughly half of them in Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties — but none resulted in an indictment of a police officer, a Herald review found. Read More
2/13/2015 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh announces the appointment of Professor Natashia Tidwell, J. Larry Mayes, and Judge Regina Quinlan to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP) and Complaint Mediation Program
The Blackstonian sends a formal request to the DOJ to investigate and help reform the BPD as they have other problematic departments.
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.
Angelo “G-Low” West was stopped in a vehicle after being surveilled and followed by the Gang Squad of the BPD. Angelo West exited the vehicle and shot BPD Officer Moynihan in the cheek. West ran a short distance where he was shot dead by the other officers. Legal experts have noted that the initial vehicle stop may not have been warranted.
4/6/2015 Mayor Martin J. Walsh is vows to overhaul the Boston Police Department’s citizen oversight panel
This comes in the aftermath of high-profile police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland, and New York City, and amid continuing concern about the board’s effectiveness.
4/16/2015 – Black and Blue 2 Community Town Hall Forum explores Community Police Relations and proposes reforms at city state and federal level
- COPBLOCK’D: THE FIGHT AGAINST POLICE MISCONDUCT IN BOSTON CONTINUES
- Forum in Roxbury looks at police, community ties
- Community conversations highlight policing problem
5/15/2015 – Globe Reports The City of Boston has spent more than $36 million to resolve 2,000 legal claims and lawsuits against the Boston Police Department over the past decade
Most of the money went to cases of wrongful convictions or police misconduct.
The group wants a role in an independent review called for by key members of Boston’s black leadership of BPD’s hiring and promotion practices after articles this showed a lack of diversity in the ranks and among superior officers. One Herald story highlighted the case of Sgt. Paul Joseph, a black sergeant the department passed over for promotion in favor of white officers with identical civil service exam scores.
6/2/2015 – Boston police and FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force shoot and kill Black 26 year old Usaamah Abdullah Rahim
Usaamah Rahim was under surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and was approached by FBI & BPD while on his way to work. Officers say Rahim lunged at them with a military style knife and they were forced to shoot him. Subsequently, Suffolk DA releases video footage of the encounter which is grainy and blurry at best.
Family and advocates have questions as to his reported 2 yr. surveillance, was the initial stop even justified, as well as the necessity to kill him.
6/15/2015 – An Analysis of Race and Ethnicity Patterns in Boston Police Department Field Interrogation, Observation, Frisk, and/or Search Reports finds significant racial disparities
ACLUM releases report, authored by researchers from Columbia, Rutgers and the University of Massachusetts, analyzed 200,000+ encounters between BPD officers and civilians from 2007–2010. It found racial disparities in the BPD’s stops-and-frisks that could not be explained by crime or other non-race factors. Blacks during that period were the subjects of 63.3% of police-civilian encounters, although less than a quarter of the city’s population is Black.
Laboy, who was wanted on unspecified warrants, allegedly ran from police before brandishing a knife at a Massachusetts state trooper and refusing commands to drop it.
A veteran Boston police officer has agreed to resign as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors that will keep him out of jail for lying to the FBI, federal authorities said.
David Michael Fitzgerald, 49, of Milton, who has been a Boston cop since 1996, admitted to making false statements to the FBI on April 27. The FBI was investigating a street-level drug dealer and bookmaker to whom authorities say Fitzgerald made cash loans that were paid back in weekly installments.
DOJ reply that the Blackstonian Request is Under Review.
Follow-up letter to the DOJ requesting they investigate and reform the BPD.
7/4/2015 Boston police say they are reworking their policies regarding stop-and-frisk and other police encounters
This includes requiring officers to describe specifically why they made a stop — after a report revealed that blacks and Latinos were subject to “racially disparate treatment” by officers.
7/31/2015 CO-OP 2015 Annual Report
This is the first Annual Report of the newly constituted Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP), comprised of Natashia Tidwell, an attorney at Collora LLP, J. Larry Mayes, Vice President of Programs for Catholic Charities, and Judge Regina Quinlan (Ret.), of the Massachusetts Superior Court. Following their appointment last year, Ombudsmen Mayes and Quinlan introduced themselves to key members of the community and completed training at the Boston Police Academy in police practices and the internal affairs process. Mayor Walsh re-appointed Ombudsman Tidwell following the expiration of the previous panel’s term.
This Annual Report details the Panel’s work on cases referred to the CO-OP in 2014 and all other matters completed since April 2015. As explained further within the data section of this report, cases are brought to the CO-OP either on direct appeal from the complainant, or through a random audit process. In 2014, 152 internal affairs cases were eligible for appeal, meaning that the investigation resulted in a finding of “Unfounded,” “Exonerated,” or “Not Sustained.” Of those, 32 cases (21%) were referred to the CO-OP – ten (10) through direct appeal and twenty-two (22) via the random audit process. During the period between the expiration of the previous panel’s term and the appointment of new members, several cases were referred to the CO-OP via the random audit process but remained unassigned due to the CO-OP’s uncertain future. Once the panel returned to full functionality, those matters were released and assigned.
In summary, the CO-OP completed reviews of thirty-two (32) of the cases referred in 2014 as well as four (4) additional matters previously referred. Of the thirty-two (32) new matters reviewed, the CO-OP determined that twenty-five (25) investigations were fairly and thoroughly conducted and that six (6) investigations were either Not Fair, Not Thorough, or both. One case is still awaiting review. Additional information about the type and number of individual allegations referred to the CO-OP in 2014 can be found in the “Case Data” section of this report. A brief summary of each reviewed case, including those referred in previous years but completed during this reporting period, is located in the “Summary of CO-OP Cases” section.
As in years past, the Case Data section of this report opens with a recap of the Internal Affairs Division’s (IAD) work during the CO-OP reporting period. IAD provided this data for the purpose of lending context to the report on cases reviewed by the panel. However, the correlation between IAD’s data and CO-OP case data is not entirely symmetrical. Matters referred to the CO-OP in 2014 may, but do not necessarily include allegations of misconduct from 2014. In fact, most of the cases referred to the CO-OP in 2014 stemmed from internal affairs complaints lodged in 2013 or before. The issue of timeliness and the potential impact of delays on the fairness and thoroughness of investigations is discussed in the “Case Timelines” section of this report.
11/10/2015 – Mass Police Reform, Police Decertification and Shot by Police websites set up by Blackstonian and Mass Police Reform
Blackstonian and Mass Police Reform launch 3 websited to track Reform efforts, People who have been shot and killed by the police in Boston and surrounding communities and the effort to push for state wide decertification:
12/21/2015 CO-OP 2015 Recommendations
After reviewing its own finding and reports and reviewing existing civilian oversight models in several jurisidictions, national best practices and emerging trendfs. Ultimately they detrimed the City of Boston would be best served by an oversight model that keeps much of the existiing Internal Affiars and CO-OP processes intact while adding a community-based civilian review component to complaint intake and resolution.
In December 2015, the Public Safety Strategies Group (PSSG) conducted a review of the Boston Police Department to look at operational efficiencies. PSSG looked at many aspects of the BPD’s functioning by reviewing written materials and conducting over 150 interviews with Department members and City employees. The overall objective was to conduct an overview of operations that captured the best practices in place at the BPD as well as potential areas for improvement. PSSG issued recommendations in some of the following areas:
- Capital Improvements
- Organizational Structure
- Diversity / Addressing Diverse Populations
- Deployment and Workload Distribution
- Information Technology
- Fiscal Management
- Community Engagement
3/16/2016 – International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training writes letter in support of Mass Police Reform’s push for Police Decertification in Massachusetts
3/28/2016 – Mass Police Reform introduces Police Decertification to Massachusetts at Community Town Hall Forum
3/29/2016 – Mass Police Reform hosts Legislative Briefing on Police Decertification / POST in Massachusetts for Mass State Legislators
Fanfan was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police, authorities said. Officers said they were responding to reports of a shooting nearby.
Figueroa’s roommate called 911 after Figueroa allegedly threatened him with a knife. Figueroa, a local constable, opened fire when police responded, seriously wounding two officers, according to authorities. Officials said he was killed in gun battle with police.
Coleman’s mother said she called for an ambulance to take her son to the hospital after he refused to leave the front porch for two days. Authorities said Coleman was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia. Officers fatally shot Coleman after he attacked EMTs with a knife, according to the police account. Coleman’s mother says her son was not armed or violent when police shot him.
During a six-month investigation, Boston obtained police records through a public information request and examined 618 shootings over 994 days, from the start of 2014 through September 20, 2016. The results were staggering: During that time frame, Boston police had arrested fewer than 4 percent of gunmen involved in non-fatal shootings. That means, for instance, that detectives have not arrested anyone for shooting 14 year old Keira Harrison three times as she watched Fourth of July fireworks on Bower Street this past summer. And police have not captured whoever shot a 15 year old in South Boston in August, or the person who shot a seven year old on Bowdoin Street. In fact, the data revealed that police had not made a single arrest in any of the 19 non-fatal shootings of Boston minors under age 17. (And that was before the October shootings of two year old and nine year old girls in separate incidents.) Not that the BPD is doing such a great job of locking up murderers, either: During the same time period, police made arrests in barely 15 percent of fatal shootings. Since only about one in seven shooting victims dies in Boston, that brings the total arrest rate for shootings over the past two and a half years to almost 6 percent. Read More
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Professor Natashia Tidwell, J. Larry Mayes, and Judge Regina Quinlan to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP) and Complaint Mediation Program. The appointed three member civilian board will provide external oversight and review of Boston Police Department (BPD) internal investigations, creating more public accountability for allegations of police misconduct, and growing the trust between BPD and the community. The appointments are for a three year term.
3/7/2017 – Mayor Marty Walsh promises to strengthen the CO-OP and increase their caseload
This includes increasing the board to 5 members and issuing an executive order increasing their caseload from 10 percent to 25 percent.
2/25/2018 – Officer Zachery Crossen is filmed conducting and improper stop and harassing a resident
Subsequent info revealed Crossen to have a history of bad stops and interactions with community. Crossen is also under suit in Federal Court for civil rights violations.
- Administrative department-wide directive and focus on training with a special emphasis on street patrol and gang task force officers to acknowledge and re-commit duty to adhere to current policy and law
- BPD’s historic defensive stance, denial and reluctance to address a pattern, culture and evidenced mindset within the BPD; and continued dismissal of community critique, experiences and numerous public scandals.
- Exposure of undercurrent of antagonistic behavior and tactics including; taunting, provoking, disrespect and racially coded banter to black and brown residents, particularly Black & Latino males.
- Use of random stops to escalate and interrogate confirming ACLU “Black, Brown and Targeted” (2014) and other previously disputed studies
- Increased transparency in internal affairs and follow through in disciplinary process
- Enhance and strengthen the CO-OP (Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel)
- Establish a Civilian Review Board
- Charge and empower the Social Justice Task Force to include new members and to develop and implement a meaningful plan for achieving social and racial justice.
7/11/2018 – Supreme Court No. 17-8654 is served challenging Qualified Immunity
8/4/2018 – William G. Gross takes over as acting commissioner
He is the first Black commissioner of the Boston Police Department
Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves, speaking at a news conference said officers received a call at about 6:15 a.m. Friday, September 7 2018 reporting of a man with a gun. She said three officers confronted DaShawn Cole, who she said then assaulted the officers with a gun — although she did not say whether he fired the weapon. The three officers, whom Goncalves did not name, are on administrative leave as the case is investigated. No officer was hurt, she said.
1/17/2019 – David T. Vieira and Russell E. Holmes file H2146 proposing to create a Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training
The bill was a “Resolve providing for a “Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training’ to study and make recommendations concerning the implementation of a Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) system.”
At about 2:21 AM on Friday, February 22, 2019, officers assigned to District C-6 (South Boston) encountered a male operating a motor vehicle in the area of 102 Gerard Street in Roxbury. During the interaction, an exchange of gunfire occurred between the suspect and officers. During the exchange, a Boston Police Officer was struck multiple times by the suspect’s gunfire. A short time later, the suspect’s motor vehicle, with the suspect still inside, was located in the area of George Street in Roxbury. The suspect, who is identified as Kasim Kahrim, 36, of Boston, was pronounced deceased on scene. Officers recovered a firearm from the motor vehicle in which the suspect was located. The officer was transported to Boston Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.
Massachusetts has a documented history of wide-ranging racial disparities in how police conduct traffic stops. A 2004 statewide report showed that 2 in 3 police departments disproportionately pull over Black and Latinx drivers. But after the report, the state stopped collecting such race data, and you can’t manage what you don’t measure.Source]
A 19 year old man was killed in an officer-involved shooting in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston on Monday evening. Witnesses told police that the victim fired gunshots at two Boston police officers before he was fatally shot. Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said the officers were not struck by gunfire. Witnesses also told local news station WCVB that they heard approximately eight gunshots in the exchange, which transpired near 10 Penhallow St.
The Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.
Boston police identified the deceased man as Isaac Rasheed Smith, 37, who lived and worked at the 14-room bed-and-breakfast at 21-23 Wyman St. His death remains under investigation.
Police have said they arrived on the scene around 10 p.m. Saturday for a domestic call and saw Smith standing outside. He started to enter the building and officers followed, but he suddenly fired a handgun at them, police said. Officers retreated and blocked off the street, as guests trapped inside the bed-and-breakfast were texting 911, police said.
Officers evacuated some — but not all — of the approximately 20 people staying at the bed-and-breakfast before they saw Smith appear in a second-floor window with a firearm, police said. Smith used his gun to smash through the window, and officers were alarmed, thinking he might start shooting again, Police Commissioner William Gross said early Sunday.
“Being in fear of not only the lives of residents in that building and in the neighborhood [but] in fear of their own lives, an officer discharged his department-issued firearm in the direction of that male suspect,” Gross said.
After the officer fired, Gross said, police entered the house to evacuate the remaining guests who were hiding in their rooms, and they found Smith’s body with a “fatal gunshot wound,” Gross said.
11/13/2019 – Was it an oversight? Police complaint board down to two members, hasn’t released reports
Two years ago, Mayor Martin Walsh announced sweeping changes to the underperforming Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel board, the group responsible for reviewing police misconduct investigations by the Boston Police Department’s Internal Affairs Department. Read More
11/18/2019 – Mass. Police Officers May Not Receive Required Training From State, Auditor’s Report Says
A new report from the state auditor suggests that Massachusetts is not properly training its municipal police officers.
- Time for standardized police training in Massachusetts? Mass. has standards, but currently no one enforces them
- Local police training is inconsistent and inadequate — and sometimes not offered at all, report finds
A man killed by police following a confrontation outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Friday that also left a hospital employee critically injured had a history of mental illness and a “gentle soul,” his parents said. Police said he was shot and killed after he refused to drop what appeared to be a firearm.
Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long said Friday that officers responded to reports of a man with a gun outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital sometime after 9 a.m.
Long said police confronted the man, who pulled out what appeared to be a firearm and refused orders to drop it. Officers opened fire, and at some point, a hospital parking attendant was shot. A hospital spokeswoman told the Globe that the attendant was in good condition on Saturday night.
5/31/2020 – NAACP National Demands on Police Reform Update
6/4/2020 – The Massachusetts Elected Officials of Color Release Ten Point Plan for Police Accountability
6/10/2020 – Governor Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo separately announce they are readying legislation on Police Decertification / POST
6/10/2020 – CO-OP members and community call for reforms to the CO-OP which had not met in over a year and had not published a report since 2017
6/12/2020 – ACLU of Massachusetts sue City of Springfield demanding information about the Springfield Police Department (SPD) and its racially discriminatory policing patterns and practices
6/12/2020 – WGBH Report finds 70% of people stopped by BPD in the “Field Interrogation and Observation” program last year were black even though black residents comprise less than 25% of the city’s population
According to a WGBH News analysis of more than 7,000 stops conducted by Boston Police between January and September 2019, only 3 percent resulted in a summons being issued to black individuals, compared to 4 percent for white people, even as black people were stopped at a rate nearly triple their proportion of Boston’s population.
Activists say stops violate rights, do little to lower city’s crime rate
7 News requested police records on other civilian complaints, to take a closer look at how BPD internal affairs process works.
We found long delays, so long, some cases took years to clear.
The records were copies of completed Internal Affairs investigations the Boston Police sent to the city’s oversight panel (known as the CO-OP) for review. The oversight panel’s job is to review IA investigations citizens felt weren’t investigated properly, and decide if they are fair and thorough.
From 2018-2019, the CO-OP reviewed 45 cases. The majority of cases were from complaints filed before 2016, and only recently completed. 39 investigations were found to be fair and thorough; others determined to either not fair, or not thorough.
In a 2011 case, a black man says police detained him because he fit a suspect description of a suicidal man. He says officers only released him after a dispatcher told them the suspect was white.
It took three years to interview the officers involved.
The CO-OP member who reviewed the 2011 case said he was “alarmed” the original investigator did not put anything in the file, and said the lack of immediate follow through “destroys trust between citizens and police.”
In 2012, a black man filed a complaint after officers stopped him because they felt he looked suspicious. The city police oversight panel didn’t look at the case for seven years.
They found the investigation was not fair, saying they found one part of the BPD investigation particularly disappointing.
The panel noted that BPD argued “(The complainant) seemed aware that his behavior of going into numerous areas around West Broadway over a short period of time had caused the Officers to be suspicious of him.”
The panel responded “What? So going to get a haircut, then eating at Burger King, and buying a cupcake for your girlfriend’s birthday is the complainant’s fault?”
While reviewing a 2014 complaint, the panel said they were “troubled by the loaded or leading questions,” internal affairs investigators asked of their fellow officers. They wrote “IAD investigators must resist the natural tendency to put their fellow officers at ease. Equally, in questions to citizens, resist loaded or leading questions to put the actions of officers in a better light.”
The panel said it was “troublesome” it took so long for the internal affairs to finish the last leg of the investigation.
In all of these civilian complaints, officers were cleared of wrongdoing. Read More