Domestic violence, pedophilia, brutality and murder: Who do the Boston police really serve?

Early this April, the city of Boston released evidence that police union president Patrick Rose Sr. molested a child in 1995. This evidence has been withheld and covered up by the Boston Police Department since the initial incident. Rose pressured his victim to drop the charges. Despite this, he kept his badge for 25 years. 

Rose is now facing 33 charges of sexual abuse of six minors ages 7 to 16. Among his latest victims is the daughter of the first child he originally pressured into silence more than 25 years ago. It wasn’t until August 2020 that Rose was finally charged and arrested.

Weeks before the release of Rose’s records, the city of Boston investigated another cover-up: domestic abuse charges against BPD officer Dennis White. Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, now President Biden’s Secretary of Labor, appointed White as Boston Police Commissioner in February. He was placed on leave two days later, when a 1999 domestic abuse case resurfaced detailing White’s threats to shoot his then-wife. 

These revelations pose the question: who exactly does the Boston Police Department serve? 

The recent scandals of the BPD

“I f***ing drove down Tremont — there was an unmarked state police cruiser they were all gathered around,” one Boston Police officer bragged to another via leaked body camera footage during last year’s protests against racist police brutality. “So then I had a f***er keep coming, f***ing running. I’m f***ing hitting people with the car.” 

The other officer then realizes his body camera is on, and the first quickly changes his tune. “No, no no. … I didn’t hit anybody, just driving.” 

Protesters march in Boston. Liberation photo

The second officer sighs before pointing to his chest. “This thing just went on f***ing automatically.” 

The footage was leaked to The Appeal in December, and only one Boston police sergeant was placed on administrative leave.

Another video from the leaks shows the cold brutality of the BPD as they use their batons to beat demonstrators with their hands in the air. “Let’s get this f***er,” says one officer in another clip before indiscriminately blasting pepper spray into the crowd. 

The BPD and the Suffolk district attorney’s office have started an internal investigation, away from the public eye and media scrutiny.

A long history of violence

These more recent stories are now being covered by the same local mainstream media outlets which did not fairly report on the violence of BPD officers in past years.

Liberation News covered the brutalization of peaceful counter-protesters at the so-called “Straight Pride Parade” in August of 2019, where more than 4,000 Boston police and officers from surrounding cities were paid overtime to protect a white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ event. Cops beat counter-protesters to the point of breaking bones and giving concussions, used pepper spray and arrested 36 people.

When Liberation News confronted then-Mayor Marty Walsh about why he authorized the spending of $600,000 for police to protect bigots while brutalizing peaceful demonstrators, he deflected the criticism, saying, “Unfortunately, we have something called the First Amendment.”

The family of Usaamah Rahim and anti-police brutality protestors at a rally in Boston. Liberation photo

Many politicians like Walsh benefit from the fairy tale of a progressive Massachusetts, but the Boston police’s racist terror against Black people proves this a lie. In 2012, Boston police shot and killed 26-year-old Burrell Ramsey-White in his own Tent City development in the South End. In 2015, Usaamah Rahim was shot to death in a Roslindale CVS parking lot by a Boston police officer and an agent of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In 2016, BPD officer Garrett Boyle shot and killed 31-year-old Terrence Coleman inside his mother’s South End home, after she called for an ambulance to help her son through a mental health crisis. All three families are still fighting for justice.

Politicians feign ignorance through crocodile tears

Court records released earlier this month allege that former Mayor Walsh was briefed on Dennis White’s history of domestic violence before making his appointment to BPD commissioner. This directly contradicts Walsh’s February statement, when he claimed, “These disturbing issues were not known to me or my staff, but should have been at the forefront.” 

Even former police commissioner William Gross said in the affidavit that Walsh was briefed on the internal affairs files of all people nominated for the position in 2014.

Protesters march past the Boston Police Headquarters on Tremont Street. Liberation photo

Walsh addressed Rose’s history of pedophilia, claiming to be “deeply disturbed by these horrific allegations.” New acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey expressed similar shock, although she’s a member of Boston’s city council and became president during the development of the case last August.

Not just ‘bad apples’

Boston politicians and media have treated each scandal as a disconnected incident rather than as symptoms of structural problems of the BPD and policing at large.

The BPD’s annual budget is $400 million — including $70 million for overtime — and rising. This continuous increase in funding tells us that the BPD isn’t broken. It is working exactly as intended.

Police are quick to brutalize and arrest anti-racist protesters while they cover up domestic violence, pedophilia and racist murder in their own departments. This is because police exist to protect property and the power of the ruling class, not working and poor people.

This steady litany of police scandals discredit Boston’s reputation as a progressive city, and delegitimizes the entire system of policing in the United States. We fight to abolish the police, and abolish the capitalist system that enables and relies on their terror.

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