Campbell Calls for Formal Review of Boston Police Use-of-Force Policy, Demands Changes In Line with Former President Barack Obama’s Recommendations
BOSTON – This morning, Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell called on Mayor Marty Walsh to formally review the Boston Police Department’s use-of-force policies, and make changes to them within 60 days. Campbell, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice, said: “In the last week, elected officials across this country have spoken out against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Now it’s time to go beyond words, and commit to real action.
I’m calling on Mayor Walsh to commit Boston to making real, tangible changes to Boston Police’s use of force policy, to ensure that the next George Floyd is not a young person of color from our city.”,
Yesterday, The Obama Foundation called on mayors, city councilors, and police oversight bodies to review and reform police use of force policies, and called on Mayors specifically to take a pledge.
Currently, Boston only has four of eight policies recommended by the Obama Foundation and the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign in its use-of-force guidelines. Boston does NOT require officers to:
De-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force;
Intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor;
Give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian;
Report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.
“Boston should adopt these four national policy recommendations immediately. We can set a national example in police reform, but only if we commit to making the changes necessary to force real accountability,” Councilor Campbell said.
More than 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America, and Black people are three times more likely to be killed than White people.
This month, Councilor Campbell compelled the release of three years of Boston’s Field Interrogation and Observation data – otherwise known as stop-and-frisk. The data shows that Black Bostonians make up nearly three quarters of all FIO incidents – despite making up roughly a quarter of Boston’s population. The racial disparity in BPD’s policing has gotten worse since 2015: from 2011 through April 2015, 58.5% of FIOs were Black; from 2016 through 2019, 71.0% were Black.
Campbell has also called for the City of Boston to adopt strategies to create transparency and accountability in policing, build trust between police and community, and make Boston’s communities safer, including:
Establishing a Civilian Review Board for complaints against police;
Fully implementing the police body camera program;
Creating a public safety dashboard where residents can track police interactions with residents;
Amending Civil Service and diversifying public safety agencies, so that they reflect the demographics of our city;
Eliminating the hair test, which has been proven to be discriminatory toward black officers;
Facilitating racial equity trainings for our entire city government, including public safety agencies;
Exploring ending police use of military weapons, such as tear gas and rubber bullets.
About Councilor Campbell:
Councilor Andrea Campbell represents District 4 on the Council, which includes parts of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roslindale and Jamaica Plain. She chairs the Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice. In 2018, she became the first African American woman to serve as Boston City Council President.