Boston policemen complain about new plan to watch their movements

Police cruisers will potentially be outfitted with GPS devices designed to monitor how cop cars move around the city.
“No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place?” said one officer who spoke anonymously to the Globe because department rules forbid police from speaking to the media without authorization. “If I take my cruiser and I meet [reluctant witnesses] to talk, eventually they can follow me and say, ‘Why were you in a back dark street for 45 minutes?’ It’s going to open up a can of worms that can’t be closed.”

Boston Police Continues To Offend Blacks, Muslims, Gays And Women In Bigoted Newsletter

For at least six years, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) has published a boldly bigoted official union newsletter, the Pax Centurion. Full of screeds against minorities, women, progressives, gays, Muslims, and even crime victims, its pages have long drawn ire from activists and union members alike. Last week, though, the mostly obscure paper finally broke into the spotlight: Mayor Tom Menino called the Pax “garbage,” Boston Police Superintendent Ed Davis condemned the rag on Twitter, and several big-brand advertisers yanked their sponsorships.

(Hours after this story went to press on Tuesday morning, the .pdf archives of Pax Centurion – which had been publicly hosted on the BPPA website, suddenly disappeared, without explanation. We are republishing the files on our site so that the public can scrutinize Pax Centurion’s twisted legacy.)

These recent developments show that neither the general public nor the paper’s corporate underwriters had previously realized the breadth of its proudly vile content. The Phoenix reviewed the newsletter’s archives, finding countless spiels that read like a Klan fanzine scribbled by a chimp pushing a crayon. A few examples (see “Conduct Unbecoming: The Worst of Pax” for more):

ON PREGNANT HOMELESS WOMEN:And now the city, in its infinite wisdom, will be acting to enable these little trollops to have exactly what they want simply by getting knocked up.

ON MURDER VICTIMS:I’m so sick of hearing how each gang member that gets shot is ‘turning his life around’ … because I have never actually seen one turn his life around.

ON MUSLIMS:They want to kill you. Do you understand? THEY WANT TO KILL YOU.

In one editorial from 2010, Pax managing editor James Carnell attacked the mother of Manuel DaViega, who died in a police shootout that April. Carnell wrote: “All due respect to motherhood and fully understanding a grieving mother’s attempts to put blame anywhere but where it belongs, but your son was a maggot and a scumbag.

The tirade incensed black and Latino community leaders, as well as officers of color like detective Larry Ellison. “I have to brace myself to read [Pax] every time there’s a new one,” said Ellison, the president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO).

The powder keg finally popped soon after the release of the May-June issue of Pax, which features, among other highlights, a rant against “racial huckster” Deval Patrick, and an article slamming “Disgusting J.P. Liberals.” But it was an evisceration of an Occupy Boston activist that seems to have lit the fuse. As Carnell’s latest carnage bounced around the Internet — even making its way onto — offended Occupiers and their allies alerted the tract’s many advertisers, among them such major companies as Merck, Converse, Safety Insurance, Harvard-Pilgrim, and Legal Sea Foods. Some sponsors have already backed off, claiming that they were unaware of the newsletter’s toxic content. Others told the Phoenix they are investigating, trying to figure out how their logo wound up funding so much race-baiting and gay-bashing.

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I was arrested last night at a peaceful ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ protest in Boston when Boston PD officers reached across a bike barricade they had constructed and forcibly pulled peaceful protestors over the barricade, mostly by their hair, hoods, or necks. Boston PD officers struck and brutalized peaceful protestors. If you believe in the American justice system, this is a good time to re-examine those beliefs and see if they still hold. For a visual (trigger warning: loud noises, police lights, and physical police violence), here is a video of the barricade where I was arrested (1 of at least 3 the police set up). At 11:35, you can see the police beginning to reach across the barricade and pull at the protesters. At 11:45, you can see a police officer in the middle of the frame punch an unarmed, peaceful protester in the face, then drag him through the barricade and to the ground. 
If you think you don’t need to think about what’s happening in Ferguson because it’s not your city, your race, your problem, think again. We have to face racism together, fight it together. blacklivesmatter bostonpolicedepartment blacklivesmatterboston

The Story Behind the Photo: Nearly 25 years ago, then Boston Herald photographer Curtis Ackerman captured the enclosed image of Boston Police Officer Frank Pomodoro comforting his partner and police horse, Fritz, who had fallen into a sidewalk construction hole that had been covered over by a steel plate just outside the old District D-4 station which, at the time, was located in the area of Berkeley Street and Warren Ave. Pomodoro was inside the station when someone came running in and told him that his horse had fallen into a hole. When Pomodoro got outside, he immediately feared the worst. A broken leg and he knew that his partner of three years would have to be put down. In fact, according to Pomodoro, the one question he hears more often than any other when people reference the picture of his horse in the hole is whether or not Fritz survived the fall. In response to that question, Pomodoro gratefully offers the following, “He was back to work in three weeks and, luckily, he only suffered a cut to one of his front legs.”

The enclosed photo was taken on October 31, 1989 and Frank remembers the day like it was yesterday. “I remember it was Halloween because I had to call my wife and tell her that I wasn’t gonna be home in time to give out the candy,” said Pomodoro. Reflecting back on that day, Pomodoro says a number of things still stick out and have stayed with him to this day. “The compassion of people on that day is one of the things I’ll never forget. It was really amazing. Perfect strangers and even one guy I had locked up came running over to help Fritz.” Pomodoro says the help provided by perfect strangers was especially evident when the Fire Department arrived on scene and secured a rope around Fritz because there was some concern that the horse might slip or slide deeper into the hole. Pomodoro recalls, “The rope fastened around Fritz stretched across the street and I remember there were somewhere between 15 to 20 people grabbing a hold of the rope to make sure Fritz stayed put. The compassion of perfect strangers was unbelievable.”

However, the challenge of extricating an almost 1500 pound horse from a hole would require something a whole lot stronger and more substantial than a rope fastened around the horse’s midsection. “We needed a crane,” said Pomodoro. And, as luck would have it, Shaugnessy & Ahearn, a local rigging company, had a crane job going on just around the corner. Said Pomodoro, “We went up the street and told them what was going on and the crane came down and pulled Fritz out.” Pomodoro continues, “My mother was so grateful, she sent a fruit basket to Mr. Shaugnessy, the owner of the company, thanking him for what they did for Fritz.”

These days, Pomodoro is a detective assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. He’s got a few more years to go before he can retire and, although he’s certainly seen the best and the worst of people during his almost 30 year career, Pomodoro says nothing compares to the kindness and compassion he witnessed firsthand nearly 25 years ago. “I met a lot of really great people that day and, to this day, I have nothing but gratitude to those who came over to help Fritzie. I’ll never forget them.”

In one of the largest mass arrests in recent Boston history, the Boston Police Department cleared a park of activists with the 99 Percent Movement in the early hours of Tuesday morning, dismantling and destroying tents that had been set up on Monday. Startling footage shot by an onlooker shows members of Veterans for Peace, an organization of U.S. military veterans who oppose war, being arrested by members of the Boston Police Department, their flags — including the American flag — being thrown to the ground:

This could be a flashpoint for the Occupy movement. There is no way to frame this other than police brutality. Boston PD is still trending on Twitter, hours after the raid began. 

Arresting protesters does nothing but strengthen their resolve and grow their numbers. We are everywhere. We will not forget.


Whistleblowing Wednesday: The BPD Officer Who Choked An Occupy Queer Protester Has Been Identified As Vaden Scantlebury

The following series of photos was taken by Paul Weiskel at the Boston Commons on April 15, 2012.  The photos depict a Boston Police Department patrolman identified as Vaden Scantlebury who grabs a protester by the neck and then becomes angry at the photographer for attempting to take his picture.

The Boston Police are reportedly investigating the incident along with the ACLU.  A video of the incident is also available. His badge number is 4534.