Image of stop-and-frisk outside the Boys & Girls Club on Talbot Ave in Dorchester (Nov. ’14)
Just a few months ago, the Boston Globe informed us of an ACLU study about the epidemic of stop-and-frisk in the Hub. From their reporting:
Boston police officers disproportionately observed, interrogated, or searched black residents from 2007 to 2010, according to the preliminary results of a study commissioned by the department that were released Wednesday.
“This study shows evidence not just of racial disparity, but of racial bias,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, which collaborated with the Boston Police Department on the genesis of the study, and on Wednesday released its own analysis of the data. “That is really alarming.”
The Globe has swung hard on this issue before; an excellent guest column in April, titled “‘Stop-and-frisk’ won’t work for Boston,” was right on the money. But even in the aforementioned article, the Globe, whether editors realize it or not, has also shown a tendency to aid and abet police in maintaining an unsettling status quo. The pro-cop sentiment was right in the online headline, “Evans defends Boston police after ACLU report on racial bias,” but gets even uglier as the article continues, with former BPD Commissioner Ed Davis getting the penultimate word:
Former Commissioner Davis, who commissioned the study, said that while it raises valid points, “I think it’s an overreaction to say that this is all racially charged and racially motivated.”
Since the failure of grand juries in Missouri and New York to indict police who killed young black men, the Globe has ramped up its BPD boostering. As noted in a previous Media Farm, they ignored the fact that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, right in the middle of all this, pinned medals on cops who kill, while the paper’s coverage of protests in Boston has hardly acknowledged that people aren’t protesting police violence elsewhere, but rather everywhere, including here.
It got worse in a stinker on the front of Sunday’s Metro section, “Repeated Offense: Killings by police a horrific pattern in black community.” Don’t let the headline fool you; while the piece packs some revealing comments from youth of color about their constant mistreatment, amazingly, there is not a single mention of a police killing in Massachusetts.
If the past few weeks of propaganda haven’t been insulting enough, today’s Metro section is the mustard on the Globe‘s baloney and fluff sandwich. Under the unfortunate header, “Boston police, teens come together to talk about relations,” reporters hand the microphone right back to Evans, who gladly picks the narrative up where he left it:
“That’s why we’re here tonight, to ask, ‘How are we doing? Can we be better?’ ” Evans told the crowd. “I hear a lot about ‘the police don’t care, and black lives matter.’ Believe me — every life matters to the Boston Police Department.”
This is not to discount the efforts of Teen Empowerment, which organized the meet-and-greet in Roxbury yesterday. They want the best for the young people in this city, and events like theirs are certainly part of a broader solution. As for the Globies, they probably believe they’re doing the right thing, and that printing photos of youth building with cops of all colors shows progress. That may be the case, still it seems to be but half the story, and that local issues that should probably be central in this dialogue have been ignored by the paper of record.
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.