Boston faith leaders raise questions about police response to recent beach issues – Boston 25 News
Boston faith leaders raise questions about police response to recent beach issues
BOSTON — Nearly 50 years ago, black protesters visited Carson Beach, aiming to integrate the recreation spot. It didn’t go well.
“People were throwing rocks and bricks and bottles at us because we were on the beach,” said Reverend Miniard Culpepper, pastor of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church and a candidate for state senate in the 2nd district of Suffolk.
Culpepper, however, recalled officers from the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) on horseback separating the two sides.
But on Sunday, at a press conference on the Carson Beach boardwalk, Culpepper and other religious leaders suggested that Massachusetts State Police officers may have gone too far in their handling of a large and unruly crowd at this place last weekend. Hundreds of young people were involved – with officers forced to break up several fights.
The police eventually arrested five people.
Culpepper said he did not believe, given the low “arrests to crowd size” ratio, that the majority of young people on the beach that night were looking for trouble. He said it’s more likely they were there for the same reason anyone would be there – to have a good time.
Acting Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden, who also attended the press conference, agreed.
“Our whole world has reopened,” he said. “And people are looking for opportunities and social interactions that they haven’t had in a while.
It’s unclear how social interaction went so badly down south last week, but Culpepper suggested there are ways to help prevent a repeat performance.
“When you have a city where the opportunities aren’t where they should be, you’re going to have problems,” he said. “If we give them a summer job, it will keep them out of trouble.”
Culpepper plans to meet with Boston Mayor Michelle Wu about jobs for young people this summer. He also called on Governor Charlie Baker to set up a state police reform task force.
“Review all practices – especially the use of force and implicit biases as they relate to young people in our city,” he said.
Boston 25 News contacted the Massachusetts State Police for their response to concerns and questions raised on Sunday.
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