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‘Something has to be done': Boston officials raise alarm over escalating assaults on officers

“This violence against police and first responders is unacceptable, and needs to be condemned,” City Council President Ed Flynn said


Stuart Cahill

By Flint McColgan
Boston Herald

BOSTON — It’s getting hard out there for men and women wearing a badge in Boston, local officials and the police union say, and it’s only getting harder.

“Boston police officers have experienced an increased level of physical and verbal assaults as they respond to emergency calls and patrol our neighborhoods. This violence against police and first responders is unacceptable, and needs to be condemned,” City Council President Ed Flynn said in a statement earlier in the week, soon after well-reported incidents in the Mass and Cass area and the South Bay Mall.

“Boston police officers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and we must all work together towards the common goal of public safety for all.”

Flynn’s not alone in the concern, as state Sen. Nick Collins, who represents the area of the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, the center of the area’s opioid crisis, told the Herald Friday evening that police departments “need more support, period. They need more members, more recruits.”

While Collins said no institution is above reform, “We can’t have government officials in power broadsiding law enforcement the way they do and then expect that we’re going to have people being enthusiastic about joining the profession and going beyond the call.’

“We have to look in the mirror about how we, as public officials, are conducting ourselves,” he added. “They need to be treated with dignity and respect; it’s not rocket science, it’s the golden rule.”

While a request for the total number of police recently assaulted sent to the BPD on Wednesday was not returned by deadline for this story, recent examples point to a broader issue, the leader of the BPD union says, that “the disrespect is completely off the charts.”

“Something has to be done because we cannot give the impression to the general public that it’s ok or would be tolerated to assault police officers,” Larry Calderone, the president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, told the Herald Friday. “We’re not trying to say that we can arrest our way out of this problem … We’re pushing community intervention, community service.”

Two incidents at South Bay mall occurred in two days, according to police reports. On Monday, police responded to a call of a group of 30 or 40 teenaged people harassing shoppers, including allegedly throwing a soda bottle from the top of the parking garage and nearly striking the reporting victim before exploding on the pavement.

When she went up to demand an apology, she was allegedly surrounded, pelted with ice and doused in Naked Mighty Mango juice — and a source says it was a similar story for the officers who responded. A BPD wagon window was allegedly broken by a thrown item.

Two days later, another huge group of teens — estimated in the report as perhaps 50 or 60 strong — congregated until they bright District Avenue to a complete standstill, before running into a chain restaurant after three victims while allegedly yelling “Beat these (expletive) up.

In the same incident, which apparently continued for some time that night, some teens ran into Target, started causing mayhem, and allegedly told a responding police officer “I’m going into the store and your fat (expletive) can’t catch me.”

At Mass and Cass, police are dealing with the negative health effects of dealing with disease and uncapped needles, as well as surprises that lurk in the unsanctioned tents.

“I’m very anxious to see the mayor’s plan moving forward and what she’s going to do. We’re happy that she has taken into account many of BPPA’s concerns about the violence, the amount of weapons and the open-drug use,” Calderone said. “We’re not about arrest or incarceration for people who need medical help. But let’s not just give them clean needles because clearly that’s not working.”

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