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Boston police commissioner blasts union newsletter for racist, sexist items

Pax Centurion, the newsletter of the local patrolmen's union, is no fan of Police Commissioner Ed Davis. The feeling's mutual. Reacting to a flurry of tweets about the bi-monthly publication, which started yesterday after Simmons College said it regretted advertising in the newsletter, Davis tweeted this morning:

Robin is correct, I thank her. This juvenile conduct is wrong and not rep of today's officer.

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Comments

Is to suspend officers who have no problem saying racist/sexist/homophobic things in print with their name attached to them. This is pretty clearly at direct odds with the sort of objectivity that a police officer needs in responding to a situation. Require that these folks undergo counseling and retraining as a condition of keeping their jobs.

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Hey I don't agree with what was said but they have a right to say it just like Occupy etc.

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but not to keep their jobs if they do say it. Two different things.

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You can be kicked out of college for less. Employers can fire you at will. The state should not be any different.

If these people look down on their fellow citizens so much, and are bold enough to espouse those views in print, how can we trust their impartiality?

These are police officers that offer sworn testimony to courts and to the DA/AG who prosecute cases on their findings. Their lack of judgement and apparent views strike directly to questions on their integrity and judgment. I can already hear the defense lawyers of people these jerks put away, rubbing their hands together at the prospect of casting doubt on their testimony and account of events.

Simply put it, this is a big fucking deal. You work for the taxpayers of this State. All of them. You don't shit and piss where you eat, and expect to get off scott free. You have the right to do whatever you want, but you're not insulated from the consequences of that right.

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What about Scott Brown? Can you get kicked out of college for saying mean things about him? If true, is that how America should be?

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maybe I'll agree. The officers can say whatever they want, but they also have to accept the consequences of that speech -- as Occupy did when it was booted out of the park. As a taxpayer, I believe they should be held accountable. If that means discipline and loss of pay, so be it.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or consequence.

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police officers are given the keys to our society, the authorized use of force, and with that we need to ensure they have the trust of our society and can act faithfully in its best interests.

No need to hold occupiers to that

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This is the most backwards logic I've read in a while. I had to comment just to let you know.

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I don't think you understand the concept of backwards logic. Nor do I believe that you've read anything in a while.

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Really, you disagree with that? You're comfortable with the possibility such an extremely biased position that it may drive the officers' behavior? What if these were psychologists, another group of people who are supposed to express neutrality and hold back from influencing based on personal opinion?

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It protects your right to speak, but it does not shield you from the consequences of what you say. If your job requires you to interact with the general public and you are expected to work with anyone who needs your help, this kind of speech is problematic to your employer and indicates that you might not be able to live up to the expectations of your job.

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Good point. I retract my reactionary comment.

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Wait, did you just respond politely to being corrected? You know you're on the internet, right?

;)

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The First Amendment is supposed to protect you from retaliation by the government for the lawful exercise of free speech. It seems to me that you're implicitly suggesting people be fired from their jobs for distasteful words and ideas rather than illegal actions or even administrative violations. In other words, you're arguing directly the opposite of the 1A's spirit.

I don't like racist cops either. I'm angry and disappointed about pretty much the same stuff as everyone else here. But I'm not sure I want an exemption in the Bill of Rights for people whose jobs require them to "interact with the general public" and "work with anyone," because that's an awful lot of people besides cops who would be giving up a great deal of Constitutional protection.

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Doesn't protect you from a private employer for one second. If you don't align with a companies "culture" you can be fired. Now, they might have to deal with public opinion and outcry later, but there's nothing forcing them to hire or fire based on ideology. (It's stupid for their bottom line, but that's a different topic).

The State can't be any different.

In a job where you're required to have the highest honor, integrity, and class toward the citizens of the state; race, creed, and political ideology is a factor. Being neutral, and following the law to the letter is your freaking job.

Espousing these views drives straight to your credibility to do you freaking job impartially. Especially when it becomes a habit, done on multiple occasions, in print.

If I start publicly railing against my place of employment, commenting on various deals they're doing, how much by boss and clients suck, and the morality of my work, ect; my ass is getting fired.

I have a right to say it, but they have a right to terminate my employment since I'm obviously at odds with their line of work. I don't have a valid recourse, nor should I.

This is called personal responsibility, character, and integrity.

Something these chumps apparently lack.

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Most of which sides with the public employees.

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I think people realize that and are expressing frustration that these police, who are supposed to protect and serve EVERYONE, clearly have problems with "certain types" of people (i.e. women, gays, liberals, minorities).

If in order to maintain those constitutional protections for people who actually deserve them the government is unable to fire these officers, at the very least they need to be placed in positions where their bigotry will not affect citizens' ability to get a fair shake from the police. There must be some sort of administrative job they can be given that would't qualify as a demotion.

What a shame that the police are leading the charge to maintain Boston's reputation as a racist city. Attitudes like this in law enforcement and the military are the direct result of a system of cronyism and low intellectual standards that is unsurprisingly resistant to change.

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to draw attention to the objectionable stuff, without involving the city government in some kind of content-of-speech-based crackdown on employees.
Why more Harvard grads don't take the police exam is a separate issue- some of these guys definitely seem kind of ignorant. I always thought the BPD should do more recruiting at the Universities- it takes both brawn and brains to do effective police work (such as the great work that was done in the Philip Markoff case, and in instances too numerous to count that didn't get as much attention).

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http://www.cityofboston.gov/Images_Documents/rule1...

They have the general statement at the beginning about behavior reflecting poorly on the department. Section 9 (on page 4) says:

Sec. 9 RESPECTFUL TREATMENT: Employees shall, on all occasions, be civil and respectful, courteous and considerate toward their supervisors, their subordinates and all other members of the Department and the general public. No employee shall use epithets
or terms that tend to denigrate any person(s) due to their race, color, creed or sexual orientation except when necessary in police reports or in testimony.

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Eeka, I understand your reaction. I think Ed Davis has done exactly the right thing here. He does not control the contents of the BPPA newsletter so there are 1st amendment rights issues.

His comments make it clear that he expects a more constructive and professional discourse because Pax Centurion reflects on the department. Now it's up to BPPA leadership to influence the editor and other members to the end.

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.

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And I'm assuming that their employer has required them to sign some sort of morality clause that precludes them from making statements as this while representing themselves as officers.

I mean, if I were their employer, I'd make them agree not to disgrace the uniform...oh wait, I AM their employer...fancy that!

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Not a first amendment issue.

Any employer can require that employees are held to certain job-related standards, which can include behavior while off duty. As long as it's done fairly and equally, they can do things like run background checks to see if you're responsible with your money and relationships, have people undergo physical or mental health evals as a condition of employment or any time they have reasonable suspicion that something has changed in a person's life that might affect job performance. An employer can certainly investigate and fire an employee if there's evidence that s/he is unstable or irresponsible. My job's personnel policies state that they will investigate and potentially fire us if they suspect someone has developed an issue with anger, violence, major mental illness, substance abuse, etc. Nothing has to have happened at work for them to fire someone for being unstable.

These police officers seem to have some serious problems with judgment, self-control, and rational thinking, and no person can just turn this shit off the second they clock into work.

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Sorry, eeka, but you're wrong on this one. You know how I feel about the BPPA, but public employees have free speech rights, with some limitations. No matter how you come down on this (I think it foul), it is a free speech issue.

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And everyone is bound to the consequences of their speech if said speech breaks a law, violates an agreement, etc.

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Do you think he should be able to fire any officer who criticizes him or any policy of his, either in the union newsletter or at a political event or with his buddies in his backyard? I thought unions and workers were allowed some liberty to criticize management, and am somewhat troubled by the whole idea of people being fired for off-the-job speech, whether in the private sector or the public sector. Label someone a "commie", for instance, blacklist them and so forth for their opinions, and make it impossible for them to earn a living. What good is the First Amendment under such a severe threat? Is it only racist or sexist speech that should trigger suspension and re-education, or any speech that management or some members of the general public find offensive? Comments about Big Business that may offend some in "the business community"- see you later, you're fired.
In the end, cops work for the government, and thus, the government instituting a policy that limits their off-the-job political speech seems to be very close to violating the spirit of the First Amendment.

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What on earth do you mean Commissioner? The officers elect their union leadership, which in turn staffs the union newsletter. Seems to me it's absolutely representative of the officers, unless I'm missing something?

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Boycott.

Both BPD officers themselves (by refusing to do business with them) and this rag (refusing to do business with anyone who "advertises" in it. Why are a bunch of community co-op banks advertising in this piece of shit?!) If you work at, or do business with, any of the companies listed - call management or HR and complain.

If you see BPD officers frequenting certain businesses, watch very carefully how much money changes hands. JP Licks, for example, gives at least a 50% discount. It's time those freebies ENDED, particularly since they're in violation of BPD's policies - officers can't receive gifts. Report the incident to BPD Internal Affairs and complain to the owner and on their facebook page until they stop doing it.

If a Boston Police officer walks into your business and asks for a slice of pizza or a cup of coffee - gosh, maybe you just ran out. Or maybe there's a 10% surcharge for police. Fair's fair: they get paid to sit around guarding holes in the ground, which comes out in your utility bill and taxes. Why shouldn't you recoup that cost?

It's time working as a Boston Police officer became a job, not an entitlement - and it's time BPD officers were reminded they can't insult and denigrate the people THEY WORK FOR - US.

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Can they get a cup of coffee?

How about black officers?

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Sure, if they pay the same freight as everyone else.

How about black officers?

You should know better than anyone that there's no such thing as a black, white, asian, hispanic or Pacific Islander police officer. There's blue and then there's everyone else. The union's made that extremely clear.

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Right about the time where the worst abuses of police powers stopped.

And there are racial divides in every single union in the city. Police, fire, teachers, DPW, water and sewer, etc. I'm amazed people don't know things like that.

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And you'll enjoy a cup of coffee at between 50% and 100% off.

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My husband and I were very dismayed to see our bank as one of the advertisers. We sent them emails with the link to the original UHub post about it and some higher up at the bank called my husband to say he was not aware of the content, did not like what he saw and that the bank will be addressing the issue. I'm hoping that means pulling advertising.

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can you tell me which article/articles contain the racist/sexist comments?

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The content is on line, and Adam ain't your administrative assistant.

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response. I found the paper on line, I am just looking for some guidance on which article or articles are at issue so I can read it/them for myself and judge for myself. I don't think it's too much to ask for some help in locating the materials.

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Adam updated with one. Why is a two-word link so much to ask, especially in a post talking about specific published materials?

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thanks for the support -- and you're right, all I wanted was a a link. But I do not see that Adam updated in a way that links to the particular content in the Pax Centurion that is at issue. I did see a link to comments made by someone at Simmons college quoting Pax Centurion, but this is not the same as looking at the actual Pax Centurion content myself, which is what I was hoping someone (sorry, Adam, but you, sir, are the default -- I certainly won't ask Swirlygirl :-)), would point me toward. Anyhow, this is the Pax Centurion quote that offended the person at Simmons:

"How coincidental was it that the Occupy Movement chose May 1 to stage another protest. For those of you not in the know-May 1 is the Communist 4th of July. Redistribute wealth, anarchy, upend the government, new morals, if that's not Marxism I don't know what is. Happy Birthday you rotten Commies! Maybe your candidate for squaw I mean senator, Liz Warren (your founder) can bake you a cake. I hear she has a whole cookbook full of plagiarized recipes..."

Please tell me that there is something more than this that generated all of that heat (29 comments and counting). Because this quote is just so funny, I assume that there must be something much more offensive and I would really like help finding it so that I don't have to crawl through every line of the Pax Centurion. Thanks in advance for the help. And, as a matter of full disclosure, Liz Warren is my candidate.

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Typical BostonHerald.com junk. But I certainly hope we're not talking about giving a cop a pink slip for slightly off-color comments about a candidate for national political office. Plus, how could we be sure others don't share his political attitude, but simply haven't publicized it? In order to really police the attitudes and beliefs of police, we would need to be mind-readers, or follow them into the voting booth or something.
Probably the best way to really ensure that all cops, firefighters, and tax assessors have both the proper political beliefs and feelings about other people would be to subject them to some variation of the Ludovico technique. Put up a picture of Scott Brown and inject them with chemicals that make them all feel as sick as I do when I look at his dumb mug.

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Control-f "egypt," for one.

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Page A7: Deval Patrick is "a racial huckster" and an "alleged governor."

Page A9: Pretty much the entire page, but note how the editor questions somebody's masculinity because he spells his name "Bil" instead of "Bill" (ed. note: Wait, what, the author of "Family Circus" is gay?).

Page A19: The editor expresses his disgust with black police officers and ministers calling for more black officers to work with black teenagers.

Page B7: News "quiz" featuring a question about Obama's favorite dog to eat.

Page C3: Look for the "jokes" about Obama eating Bo after he dies, guys who use Siri even as they complain about women, how we'd still be able to take out the "turban tops" even as we celebrated them shooting down Air Force One, how liberals are Communists and Nazis. Oh, and the one about Egyptian men having sex with the corpses of their dead wives.

But this is really toned down for Pax Centurion. To get the full effect, you need to go through several issues in the archives.

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Thanks, Adam.

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You ain't an administrative ass't!

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Bil Keane, man, I also wouldn't go anywhere near the Keane Kompound and those melonhead mutant kids he draws. But gay? No.

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It bears repeating, police officers never cease to be citizens. While off-duty (writing for the union newsletter is off-duty) they can do and write whatever they want, free from punishment, so long as it is lawful. Union activity is heavily protected by law, many of those laws championed by the far-left. There is no evidence that any of the officers bring their opinions into the workplace. It's kind of like the vast majority of journalists, liberal, but insistant that they are still objective at work, leaving their biases at the door. Goose? Gander?

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Right, so if the police officers were in the KKK or theoretically a Salafist mosque, that's cool because it is 'off-duty' as long as they weren't violating any laws? Good to know.

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Absolutely, as long as they aren't violating any laws. Police are citizens. Deal with it.

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It's kind of like the vast majority of journalists, liberal, but insistant that they are still objective at work, leaving their biases at the door.

Are we talking about journalists or editorial pundits. You guys seem to mix them up quite a bit.

Journalist ain't liberal anyways, they're statist. They cede authority to authority, be it liberal of conservative voice. And they have a huge issue with false equivalence.

Anyways, you're fine with openly racist cops running beats in Dorchester? How about guys who vehemently hate pinko yuppies, policing all those rich brats that flood streets after sports wins? How about a LEO making light of illegally cracking skulls at occupy Boston, cause they're sub human anyways?

Yeah, fun times! It's just free speech though, they really don't feel that way once in uniform. It absolutely doesn't influence them on the job or in court!

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Or the thoughtcrimes that go on in his mind. Because we're all entitled to our own emotions, and even to tell people how we actually feel, when we're not at work. Don't you think we should be able to retain the right to "imperfect" feelings?

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If I were an executive of Coca Cola, I would fully expect to have my ass fired promptly, if I were to publicly endorse Pepsi.

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to expect the guys whom we are paying $200,000 per year to be the public face of law and order, to refrain from being assholes in print.

It's not about racism, or misogyny, or any of those other thoughtcrimes. It's about publicly displaying contempt for the public.

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It's not about racism, or misogyny, or any of those other thoughtcrimes. It's about publicly displaying contempt for the public.

His full of disrespectful opinions, condescending attitude and unprofessional demeanor published in the official BPPA newsletter, and it reflects poorly on the BPPA and BPD.

At the very least the editor's conduct is an embarrassment, and he should be relieved of his duties as editor of Pax Centurion.

As far as his employment at BPD, you'd have to observe to see if he's professional. Something tells me he's not.

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This, from the March/April 2011 newsletter, is my favorite (so far):


Are we breeding the fight out of American males? We are a country born of war.
We’ve fought just about everyone but are
today’s men worthy of their warrior DNA?
Men have become feminized, these
“metrosexuals” indulge in manicures, pedicures, yoga, and all sorts of other sissified
pursuits. The media and fans complain when
professional football or hockey players “hit
too hard”. That’s what we pay them to do!
When cops have to put their hands on someone to make an arrest-out come the cell phone
cameras. Boys no longer fight like we did
when we were kids – if you won, you bragged
to your buddies, if you lost, you lied and
bragged to your buddies. Now a fight between
sixth graders requires Police intervention. It
seems young girls do all the fighting now.
Women are becoming more masculine (ladies
don’t get me wrong I’m not a “barefoot and
pregnant” guy) sporting tattoos and weight
training. When I was young only sailors and
bikers had tattoos, and construction workers
had bulging biceps.

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