From violations of the residency requirement, to cops caught with their hands in the overtime kitty, to domestic violence and drug possession, to the wholesale beating of protesters, it never ends.
I feel like I have to write a post like this every year or so. That’s a bad thing, since it means little to nothing has changed on the BPD front.
[Read Patrick Rose’s Internal Affairs file here]
The story of the week of course goes to the Boston Globe and Andrew Ryan, who turned heads over the weekend with the bombshell, “For years, the Boston Police kept a secret: the union president was an alleged child molester.” The devastating subtitle: “Despite 1995 evidence, Patrick Rose kept his badge, worked on child sexual assault cases, and ascended to power in the police union. He went on to allegedly molest five other children.” More from that reporting:
Boston police won’t say what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against Rose. But it is clear the department did little or nothing to limit his contact with children, and allowed him to salvage a career that led to the union presidency, where he became the public face of the city’s 1,500 patrol officers.
The Globe investigation raises significant questions about how the department handled Rose, whose broader history of alleged molestation has only become clear now that he is jailed facing 33 counts of sexual abuse of six victims from age 7 to 16 in Suffolk Superior Court. For security reasons, he is being held in the Berkshire County Jail on $200,000 cash bail.
Rose, needless to say, is only one of many criminal cops in the department. To their credit, the Globe has spent millions of dollars on attorneys over the years trying to wrestle internal discipline records away from BPD brass, in order to show the extent of so much bad behavior. But even without the full trove, the countless shameful acts of many rank-and-file officers as well as leaders are already public knowledge. The question is, Why are residents reluctant to see the sum result of these actions (and of department inaction when it comes to responding to internal transgressions)?
Do I really have to go through the whole laundry list? From the cop who we found beat an Uber driver in a racist tirade and then stole his cab, to violations of the residency requirement, to cops caught with their hands in the overtime kitty, to domestic violence and drug possession, to the wholesale beating of protesters, it’s at the point where law-abiding Boston residents need protection from the goons who are supposed to watch over them.
As I have noted recently, there does appear to be some hope on the horizon, largely in the form of reforms put in place last year in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and a whole lot of work by community activists. Also, new Mayor Kim Janey is a world apart from the cop-coddling Marty Walsh on these issues, while other politicians are also speaking up. Yesterday, at large City Council candidate David Halbert responded to the Globe’s story on Rose saying, “I’m horrified by the allegations of molestation and abuse committed by Patrick Rose and the cover-up by members of the Boston Police Department. I’m calling for a full investigation of this case and how it was hidden from the public for so long.”
Today, City Councilor At Large and Mayoral Candidate Michelle Wu wrote in a statement, “This a horrific breach of public trust, and it continues to this day with the Administration’s refusal to release internal affairs records. We owe it to the public to scrutinize the unconscionable actions and collusion that allowed this to happen, and Bostonians deserve to know now. The police department and BPPA must release all available records related to this situation immediately, but we also need to change the culture of BPD across the board to mandate transparency and accountability. We need to move forward urgently with these reforms on all fronts, including ongoing police contract negotiations.”
At the same time, as someone who has covered the reprehensible Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA), which is pushing back against reforms with help from the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), for more than a decade, it’s hard to see how things will ever change. My sources excluded, the BPD is an incorrigible gang of brutes with no real mission other than to terrorize the streets of Boston.
If that sounds like hyperbole, go back to the beginning of this column and read it over again.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.