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Walsh and Gross say they're not going to let violent outsiders ruin Boston; Rollins says rampagers will be prosecuted, but tells whites that black rage is real

Media Availability 6/1/20

At a City Hall press conference today Mayor Walsh and Police Commissioner William Gross vowed not to let rioters repeat last night's performance in Boston and to keep Boston a safe haven for people to protest in.

They were joined by Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, who, even as she decried the violence after dark, cautioned that the march during the day needs to be a wake-up call for white people, that after decades of oppression, black rage is real.

"I want to be clear: We are going to keep Boston safe," to be a place where people can protest peacefully, like the tens of thousands who protested peacefully yesterday, Walsh said.

Walsh said the marchers stood for "hundreds of thousands" of other Bostonians who are also "frightened and tired and also want change."

"We're not going to let some people let us lose sight of that," he said, adding his priority now is to keep Boston safe for protesters, "not worrying about having a brick thrown at somebody and hitting them in the head."

He added, "we are strong, we are a united city and we will not be defeated by this or any other challenges."

In response to a reporter's question about even allowing a protest march in the middle of a pandemic, Walsh said he is not going to fall into the Trump trap of using the pandemic to stomp on people's First Amendment rights. He said that workers from the Boston Public Health Commission were at the start of the march in Nubian Square yesterday, handing out face masks.

In response to another reporter's question, he said that no, he wasn't a failure. He allowed, however, that things got out of hand last night in a way nobody expected, that while every large protest seems to attract a few troublemakers, this one brought in way more. He said this is similar to what's happened in other cities in the US, and he said he plans to speak today with Black Lives Matter and Violence in Boston leaders about tomorrow's planned demonstration in Franklin Park - not about the demonstration itself, but about ways to prevent trouble from breaking out after the event ends.

Police Commissioner William Gross started by exclaiming his pride in the thousands of people who peacefully marched from Nubian Square to the Common in homage to Floyd and "decades of people dying at the hands of the executive branch of the United States," most recently in "murderous acts" in Minneapolis."

"Thank you to the community, oh, man, you really stepped up," he said.

But what happened downtown and in the Back Bay was no homage, he said. "Others came hellbent on destroying our city, our great city, our destination city."

"Yeah, it was rough out there for awhile last night," with people throwing rocks, bottles and fireworks at officers and trying to destroy cruisers when they weren't smashing windows and looting stores, he said. But he praised Boston cops, State Police, officers from other cities, firefighters who stood their ground and said "No one's going to take over our city and burn it to the ground."

Like Walsh, he vowed not to let it happen again. "The whole nation began here," he said, adding he is determined to turn Boston into a national example, "a shining example for all for our civil and human rights and our ability to express them."

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins began by saying she was exhausted, not by last night's events, but by the events that led to the initial march, in particular, cops across the country who "shoot us in the street as if we are animals."

Rollins said the 53 people arrested overnight will be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, that Boston Municipal Court has three separate sessions running today just to handle their arraignments and that she is saddened that any officers were hurt during the rampaging.

But she said white people need to realize that people in the black community are "fed up and exhausted" by years of oppression and that white people need to realize there was a "burning rage" behind the peaceful march.

"Buildings can be fixed," but murdered people are not coming back, she said. She noted the irony of black people having to tell whites last night please keep your voice down, please follow the directives of police, "those very people who murder us with impunity."

She added, "We have been saying this since Colin Kaepernick took a knee; you never listened to us. "

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Comments

Guessing this will have been a one and done experience.

Glad to see felony charges being brought.

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I wonder if they rounded up the cars WCVB got on camera looting.

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You can tell they were tired of it towards the end , the anchors were openly giddy every time they got a license plate. I think the turning point was when it became clear that not only were the people looting still there way past the end of the event but that new cars with fresh people were showing up

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Mayor Walsh was asked whether law enforcement was examining footage from security cameras to get license plate info. His answer was non-specific but seemed to imply that there may ongoing investigation.

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The most serious:

charged with six counts of Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building, Carrying a Loaded Firearm without a License, and Failure to Stop for Police.

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I looked the guy up on the internet...he's got quite a criminal history (animal abuse, fighting with cops, ...). Hopefully these charges will slow him down for a bit.

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I might be criminally inclined, too ....

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Doesn't look like they got the guy who drove into the pedestrians, even though they had the licence plate.

Interesting that...

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Most are from Boston or working class suburbs. How are these people outsiders? Marty is just driving a wedge into the movement to protect his own power and to not have to acknowledge popular unrest, just like seemingly every other mayor.

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This line about outsiders coming in is pure bullcrap and only meant to distract from the real issues that people from Boston have with the police force and the inequality in this city. These are people expressing their rage at the system that brutalizes them and ignores calls for justice in our community, not "outside agitators" for politics. 50% of arrested protestors were from Boston and even more from the immediate outside communities (Cambridge, Quincy, etc.) that obviously are affected by what happens in their large neighbor. These are widespread local issues of police brutality and injustice that need to be addressed.

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Please provide an example, I’ll wait.

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... in the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

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Here you go.

And remember, all of these cases nationally have occurred because of a third-party videotaping and releasing the evidence. The cops/prosecutors/etc were happy to sweep them all under the rug until then. So it's pretty ridiculous to point to a lack of them in Boston as a reason that Boston PD must be doing something right.

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The % of who was arrested has nothing to do with the % of who were out committing crimes, just the % of who got caught.

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I do not really get the hangups about where people are from. What is the difference between a jerk from Quincy and Boston? Its all the greater Boston area.

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Racially and socioeconomically they’re very very different.

Quincy is much whiter, mired middle clas, less inequality, less police interaction with the public in general, less of a history of pover policed black communities.

Boston is 4x blacker percentage wise with much more deep poverty and violence in general.

The lived experience of a person in Cambridge is not the same as one in Boston is not the same as one in Belmont is not the same as one in New Bedford. Lawrence is nothing like Andover.

The “greater Boston area“ doesn’t mean all that much given how stratified, parochial and segregated This area is. Many places simply don’t have much in common and neither do their residents and very likely what their residents see as top priority.

To transplant white people all the areas are more or less the same. To locals and especially Black people (who are made to feel unwelcome in many towns) these differences are huge and glaring. The mayor and police understand all of this.

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I believe the difference is we have enough home grown jerks, we don't need Wendell from New Rochelle looting our businesses.

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The difference is people from Boston don’t loot in Quincy. Or leave a mess in Quincy on st Patrick’s day. Or puke everywhere in Quincy after a patriots parade. As a Bostonian I’m tired of dealing with the mess made by people from outside of the city and I’m tired of paying for the clean up.

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... to indirectly benefit from the money these people spend in Boston. Also that Boston being the capital and largest city, I have the benefit of being in the transportation hub and close to hospitals or whatever service I may need.
I’ll put up with the obnoxious sports celebrations.
I just wish visitors and commuters would leave their cars and trucks and cigarettes at home.

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I can only assume the Quincy references are towards me.
I would like you to know I'm Boston born and raised.
Boston is where I work.
Quincy is where I can afford.

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I’m very fortunate that my rent is affordable and I can still live in the city where I was born. This is just not true for so many native Bostonians and for so many who would like to live here.

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If you do not like the realities of living within the areas major city, I suggest moving out of the areas major city. I hear Quincy is nice.

Heck, move to Hyde Park or any outer-limit neighborhood. They are downright suburban.

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why does it matter if someone is from quincy or boston? what's the point in trying to pretend like our small neighborhoods aren't interrelated in such a large metro area?

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Damn, you beat me to it.

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Not exactly next door to Boston.

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.... commute for work or education.

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Another reason to put up tolls for people driving into Boston.

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.... public transportation, bike lanes and pedestrian accommodations.

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When they want help with funding or transportation we are Metro Boston. When it comes to operating business, Metro Boston. When it comes to advocacy and other items it is always Metro Boston. I am always shocked at how quickly that changes when it is not longer convenient.

Take Brookline for instance. To suggest Brookline is not part of "Boston" would be true but seriously come on. Unless someone is taking the train in from New Jersey then I don't understand the point of saying "came in from outside of Boston."

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The state should pass a law superseding the police union contracts to make the following possible:

- Any officer can be terminated if the Chief of Police, Mayor, or City Council (Majority vote) make the determination an officer acted inappropriately. The termination is immediate and there is no appeal or grievance possible.

- All complaints against officers are to be made public. The department can not decline to provide information as to a complaint and the specific reprimand, if any, the officer received.

Both of those are easy first steps to make it easier to rid the department of cops who overstep their bounds.

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What determination?
Which comment are you replying to?

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Except that I'm mad there's never any legislative actions to address these situations which come up frequently.

It needs to be quick and easy for elected officials to fire bad cops quickly and permanently. Right now too many cases of brutality or corruption become "internal matters" or a cop is suspended only to appeal and be reinstated.

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BPD disgraced themselves last night. There was no reason to attack a peaceful crowd with gas, but they needlessly escalated the situation. Walsh should be demanding resignations, not handing out pats on the back.

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.

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personal property for a public display of destruction.

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with the police escalating things? The crowd was under control until they instigated.

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was looting.

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that when people do everything the way they're "supposed to," but the cops open up with chemical weapons anyway, it has been known to erode the civic contract.

If you're gonna get tear gassed no matter what you do, might as well make sure the news picks up the story.

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public officials responsible. I've seen this movie a dozen times. Smash and burn to one's heart is content. Nothing will change. On the other hand you can vote and force change. I'm not a fan of DA Rollins, however she figuratively smashed some political toes with her comments at the press conference on Monday. She is not afraid of tipping the apple cart over. Good. If everyone of those marching, protesting and looting voted, you would see change. Politicians count votes and as long as there is no consequence to them there will be no change.

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Disagree. Tear gas / pepper spray etc., are irritants. Their intent is to make people stop what they are doing and go away. The police were trying to stop rioting and get people to go away. There were cameras everywhere, and I've seen nothing to show poor police behavior in Boston last night.

Protest isbone thing. Rioting is another.

. BPD disgraced themselves last night. There was no reason to attack a peaceful crowd with gas, but they needlessly escalated the situation. Walsh should be demanding resignations, not handing out pats on the back.

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and it was entirely peaceful before they attacked unprovoked. I’m incredibly disappointed that people here in the cradle of liberty are so keen to commit war crimes against civilians who are upset with police overreach. BPD just underscored how right they are.

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Police didn’t do anything until stores looted and police cars set on fire. They then worked to disburse. From everything WCVB showed, only sending tear gas back when pelted with objects AND after long slow pushes forward.

Peaceful ends when distruction starts. Anyone protesting still at 11 pm had ample time to go home.

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It's interesting that using tear gas in a military setting is a war crime and a violation of the Geneva convention, but it's perfectly hunky dory for cops to fire it at will into crowds of protesters. The police are a state sponsored terrorist organization.

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https://whdh.com/news/boston-police-arrest-2-wanted-fugitives-in-roxbury/

Sean Berry was arrested for armed carjacking in Aug of 2018.

https://bpdnews.com/news/2018/1/12/one-less-gun

Marchies for pushing cops after his friend was getting arrested with a gun.

No doubt others, just a quick random search of names.

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Because we all know no one with a Boston MA address would ever break a law. Very important key piece of journalism. Something something headline something about white people something.

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feel free to stop reading the site.

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conservatives are supposed to love the out-of-town protestor. it appears you’re so triggered by being a victim of racism that you’ve forgotten your script.

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How long are we going to keep up the premise of the "outsiders coming in here to mess things up but we're Boston Strong" bs when over 50% of those arrested are local to Boston and/or immediate surrounding towns?

Given that the majority were arrested for Breaking and Entering of a Building Nighttime for Felony can't we just own up to the fact that a large group of people took advantage of the situation and looted while simultaneously residing in Boston instead of trying to construct a narrative that implies everyone in this town holds the moral high ground.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but unless there's some other list of folks arrested for rioting that hasn't been published, it sounds to me like this is a local problem that needs to be dealt with in house because I'm having a hard time squaring the circle that a large number of outside agitators disrupted a peaceful gathering to the point where BPD lost control of the situation and mayhem broke out from the State House to the Fenway Star Market.

Someone help me out here.

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She took a cheap shot at Commissioner Gross calling him management which is code for uncle tom. She also insinuated the rank and file are racists. At least you can count on Rachael to tell you how she truly feels.

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as in, why the insistence on a binary between “outsiders” and good people? The latter (the majority comprised of all skin colors) wish to peacefully express “rage,” and then there are no less than three other groups exploiting the police formation: the group operating as a black bloc (generally anarchists under black flag), and anarcho-communists (under black and red flag and hammer and sickle), and organized crime (in this case groups conspiring to loot).

The anarchists are regulars to any protest that draws a police formation (e.g. amongst the counter-protestors to the “free speech rally,” and amongst Occupy “whose street? our street” marches), and they reliably do the same things in every gathering they utilize, which are provoking the police formation into attacking the gathering and, when successful, smashing property. Their intent is to find themselves with sudden non-anarchist allies in a melee against law and order.

Because the anarchists are so predictable and ever-present in protests/rallies of a ‘power to the people’ orientation, looters can generally make independent plans to spring as soon as the anarchists draw the police into a firestorm and smash away. Gucci and Louis Vuitton were obvious marks of the looters, and random smashings by anarchists provide added impromptu opportunities for looters coming prepared to steal.

As to why the anarchists (those who kick off the chain of events) are predominately of white skin and the looters predominantly POC, the anarchists are not as much interested to comment, but social media offers a treasure trove of explanations from POC as to why POC looting is justified, e.g. this thread titled “What’s your honest opinion on the looting? Black followers only” in which black respondents offer the following answers: material things don’t even begin to replace lost lives (also said as “merchandise can be replaced, black lives cannot”); it’s a start of restitution; white-owned businesses must pay, and big corporations can afford the losses anyway (said also as rich people have insurance anyway); “no justice, no peace” means whites do not deserve peace until blacks have justice; white colonizers have stolen from POC and so POC should steal from Whites; stealing is better than killing as a release valve for the rage; hurting the economy is the best way to get attention for the cause; America was built on the back of slaves and so everything belongs to blacks; and it’s not looting, it’s reparations.

https://twitter.com/BEYUPDATES2/status/1266755668779950080

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Folks for the sake of everyone -- the racial rhetoric has to cool off

This is no longer a political game where one can take some viewpoint and "spin" the facts to meet your ideological perspective. Before any discussion of underlying causes can occur the Mob Rule and open insurrection must end!

There are many legitimate gripes by many groups who have been wronged over the centuries. None of the mixture of guilt by my ancestors coupled with rage by due to wrongs to your ancestors or even wrongs done to people currently alive is new or immediately going to change.

Armenian-Americans are still blaming Turkish-Americans for the genocide of 100 years ago perpetrated by no-one who is alive -- they even have an unfolded rubric's cube on the Greenway to commemorate the event.

What is new and threatens the very fabric of society is the equivocation on the part of the political types to fail to condemn in the most direct and unadulterated terms the wanton destruction and looting of the city. A city which had no part whatsoever in the original "cause" for which everyone is protesting or at least agreeing is a legitimate concern

None of the protests or the rage justifies in anyway what happened later -- after the families and college students went home

The very fabric of society began to unravel and the political types didn't permit the proper response by the police.

This is a failure of the political types to honor their oath of office is a recipe for disaster on a huge scale. If the public at large can not depend on the political leaders to set the proper parameters for civic behavior -- everything is at risk. There are nowhere enough Cops in Boston or any city to respond to all of the potential misbehavior. We are just lucky so-far in Boston to not have had wide-spread arson, and gunfire as have happened in a number of major cities.

The Governor, Mayor, Attorney General, Suffolk County DA, U.S. Attorney, and all of the various politicians in office and those running for office need to immediately get onto the same page and say in no uncertain terms:

Arson, Looting and Mob Action will not be tolerated and those involved will be hunted down and dealt with to the full extent of the Laws of the City, Commonwealth and US -- there will be no hiding place for them!

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and not one was interesting

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Rachael on point, not a fan, but she got it right this time.

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Does it not seem obvious to everyone else that the BPD used strategic tactics to keep everyone in the common thus escalating the tension ?

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The Mayor should have enacted a curfew. It's easier to keep the streets clear of marauders, when the streets aren't already full of bystanders.

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There is and has been a 9 pm curfew. I don't know how you enforce that without escalating though.

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Boston's 'voluntary' coronavirus curfew that's been in place since April 5 is a not a real curfew.

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