Mass Action Against Police Brutality is demanding the prosecution of police
On the night of May 31 and early morning of June 1, marches and rallies against police brutality swept Boston, and during these demonstrations, many officers wore body cameras. These videos, which documented police behaving violently towards protesters, were recently released and made public in part through the attorney Carl Williams. Mass Action Against Police Brutality is calling for the prosecution and firing of those involved.
“Recently released body camera footage shows a slew of violent yet unsurprising behavior from Boston Police officers that is further evidence of the BPD’s culture of abusive, belligerent policing,” reads a press release. It adds that officers must be held accountable “whether they participated in the violence on the ground or were neglectful and complicit in the cover-up of the abuse afterwards.”
In the clips, members of the Boston Police Department were shown spraying peaceful protesters with relish, shoving people down with batons, or running them down in police vehicles. An article from The Appeal stated that Williams observed a “mob mentality” in the videos, with police bragging about attacking the nonviolent demonstrators. In The Appeal, activist Yaritza Dudley describes her harrowing escape from downtown Boston, while the police made liberal use of tear gas, pepper spray, and physical violence. Mass Action is calling for the restriction of police weapons, as well as the dropping of charges on protesters arrested during the demonstrations. Meanwhile, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins called the behavior of the police “disturbing” and added that people should be free to practice civil disobedience without being met with violence.
Mass Action will be organizing a March for Justice on MLK Day, or January 18. The event will unite people around the cause of the prosecution of the police, the jailing of killer cops, the reopening of all cases of police brutality, and the end of institutionalized and systemic racism.
“As this body camera footage minds us, police brutality is a threat to everyone concerned about their rights and liberties,” states the press release. “We must be united in demanding that these cops are taken off the force and off of our streets.”
Shira Laucharoen is a reporter based in Boston. She currently serves as the assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. In the past she has written for Sampan newspaper, The Somerville Times, Scout Magazine, Boston Magazine, and WBUR.