DA Rollins, Boston Police Union Spar Over Tweets as Protests Unfold — Both Peaceful and Violent

The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) and DA Rachael Rollins are in a war of words this week over Tweets by the DA that the police union say incited some of the violence that occurred early Monday morning after a peaceful protest broke up on Boston Common.

It has been a week of uncertainty and uneasiness throughout the country, and Boston has been a focal point for some of the protesting and some of the violent acts and looting – though Charlestown has been spared from any violence or looting.

There have been nearly 70 arrests in Boston, likely more people sought, though there have been thousands that have shown up to protest peacefully the death of George Floyd at the hand of some Minneapolis police officers.

In the midst of that have been a lot of words, and DA Rollins has been very active on social media – and now the BPPA is taking her to task on some of those postings.

“On behalf of the BPPA, we write to condemn your reckless statements labelling all police officers ‘murderers,’ and the corresponding Tweets that undoubtedly incited violence against the proud men and women of the Boston Police Department,” read the union letter from June 2. “To be clear, our officers, arguably the best trained in the nation, deserved better. Your statements were and are dangerous, divisive and wholly unwarranted.”

The Tweet in question focuses on demanding action and radical change, but cites that people in general are being murdered at will by police.

“Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Christian Cooper. While we are being murdered at will by the police & their proxy, privileged racists like Amy Cooper play the victim. No more apologies. No more words. Demand action. Radical change now. Nothing less,” read the entire Tweet.

The BPPA letter indicates that officers still responded even though they believe her Tweet incited rioters to take action by attacking police.

“Instead of slandering our officers as murderers, you should be highlighting their professionalism and dedication to our City,” read the letter.

The BPPA also took umbrage with her comments in a City Hall press conference when she said it was ironic to tell people to follow police commands and not be violent “when in fact it’s those very people that murder us with impunity.”

“As the chief law enforcement officer in Suffolk County, it was utterly inappropriate for you to make a statement mocking violence,” read the letter.

“We know you saw BPD officers put their lives on the line to keep our City safe. Yet you accuse us of “murder…with impunity” – that is disgraceful.”

DA Rollins responded with a Tweet later on June 2 asking why the BPPA didn’t put out a letter denouncing the murder of George Floyd, but chose to put out a letter criticizing her.

“You mean Anti-Police BRUTALITY. And did I somehow miss BPPA’s letter denouncing the murder of George Floyd and calling for the immediate termination and prosecution of the 4 police that murdered him and/or watched and did nothing while he died? White fragility is real people,” read the Tweet.

Meanwhile, also on June 2, DA Rollins put out a press release criticizing the courts for not holding some protestors who were arrested over the last week.

In the release, she cited a number of arraignments that did not go her way, including one arraignment of a Dorchester man for 20 counts of armed assault with intent to murder.

She also issued a statement that seemed to back away from her Tweets towards the letter from the BPPA.

“Unfortunately, the actions of several unruly and violent individuals are overshadowing the actions of tens of thousands of peaceful, but outraged protesters who gathered all across our beautiful City to demand justice and accountability for this latest group of Black people killed by members of law enforcement or their proxy across the country,’’ said DA Rollins. “More troubling is that several police officers and civilians were injured as a result of that violent uprising. We wish those who were injured a full and speedy recovery. 

“I state unequivocally, my discontent is not with the overwhelming majority of police officers who serve our communities with dignity and pride, who are culturally competent and bring honor to the badge they wear,” she continued. “No, my outrage is laser focused on the rogue few who believe that they can kill with impunity. And they have been empowered to do so by Mayors across the country that will not fire them and District Attorney’s across the country that will not prosecute them. That stops now.”

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