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Police commissioner says one photo doesn't make him a tool of the Trump administration

Barr and Gross

Look who showed up on Tremont Street in Roxbury today. The Justice Department posted this photo of Attorney General William Barr and BPD Commissioner William Gross, both grinning, which you can easily tell because neither is wearing a mask, which Gross, at least, had been so good at doing up until now, unlike Barr, who won't don a mask even if might mean getting a whiff of the tear gas he's just ordered police to fire at peaceful protesters.

In its tweet, the Justice Department claimed this was the first time a sitting US Attorney General had ever visited BPD headquarters, which is, at best, a mistake. In fact, Janet Reno, then Bill Clinton's attorney general, visited BPD headquarters on Jan. 3, 2001, where, according to the next day's Globe, she discussed programs to help people being released from prison find jobs. Here's the agenda for her visit, from the Justice Department's own archives.

Several hours after the meeting, Gross issued a statement:

As Police Commissioner, I often have to put my personal feelings aside. The top law enforcement official in the country requested a meeting with the Boston Police Department and I would rather take the opportunity to educate someone on what we are doing in Boston on how we value and work with the community, and how we support our officers in this work, than close a door. A meeting does not mean I agree with his policies in any way, but I hope he walked away knowing a little more about ours.

Mayor Walsh chimed in:

In Boston, we believe in justice and equity, and protecting everyone in our community. I am working every day to combat the injustice and systemic racism that is at the root of so many of our challenges.

Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration do not share Boston’s values or my values. His actions and general lack of respect for people and their rights are a danger to our city and the future of our country.

Several city councilors, though, were having none of it.

Councilor Andrea Campbell (Dorchester) took a look at the photo and wrote:

Defund whatever the hell this is.

City Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) wrote she is outraged that Gross would pose for a photo with Barr:

Racism Is A Public Health Crisis...aka don’t welcome the person who dismisses systemic racism & creates/enforces racist policies through abuses of power!!! This is a disgrace to our city & a breach of trust to our communities.

Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale) wrote:

Yeah, that's gonna be a no from me.

Councilor Julia Mejia (at large) wrote she's not going to be intimidated by a bully like Barr:

Growing up, I lived in fear with my undocumented mother. Barr’s presence in Boston is alarming & traumatizing but we can’t allow it to hinder or intimidate us. Now as the chair of the Civil Rights Committee, I can use my voice to ensure that #AllMeansAll feel safe in Boston.

State Attorney General Maura Healey checked in as well:

We are in court against Bill Barr constantly, and I can tell you this man does not care about justice or the people of Boston.

US Rep Ayanna Pressley issued a challenge:

So AG Barr let’s skip the pleasantries. Next time you set foot in my district I demand a face to face meeting where you look me in the eye and explain why you tear gassed peaceful protestors. Understood?

I will have counsel present.

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Comments

I cannot love Gross enough. Great statement in response to the pic.

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I think William Gross is one of the finest Bostonians ever. I respect him as a person and I think he does a wonderful job as the commissioner.

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Barr is a man who disregards his office and democracy in general. There is no value in giving him the time of day. He's a crook.

Gross makes himself look like a pandering fool for letting Barr anywhere near him. If he wanted to educate Barr he could have asked him to point out where in the constitution it allows peaceful protesters to be gassed. He could have asked him how he would allow the justice department to become PR machine for the white house.

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It seems Barr ordered the unlawful disbursement of lawfully gathered protestors in Lafayette Square with chemical weapons and a phalanx of horses, and he's enabling an authoritarian president to use DOJ for personal benefit to the detriment of Trump's political opponents so it's too bad Gross let himself be used for a photo op.

Gross has problems too but I'm not going to kick the guy while he's down unlike the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back, twice, failed to render aid and declared "I got him" for ...checks notes... suspicion of sleeping in his car because he may have had too much to drink but just barely.

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Even if one wants to take Gross at his word that he wanted to "educate" Barr, why have the conversation in person? Why take a goofy photo with them looking like pals?

I had previously assumed Gross was a good cop in a tough job. Now I think he's not much better then any other officer with questionable judgement.

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Where have you been, the DOJ has always been politicized.

Oh Rip Van Anonymous, politicization at DOJ has been there since its inception.

At least Barr isn’t too Fast and Furious like Eric Holder.

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Barr has made former AGs look responsible in comparison. Janet Reno and Ashcroft had plenty of problems but neither used the Justice Department as the presidential hit squad.

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Tell that to the family of Boarder Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

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You want to compare dead bodies, Merkin?

Tell that to the family of Jamal Khashoggi. Tell that to the family of George Floyd. Tell that to the family of Breonna Taylor. Tell that to the family of Rayshard Brooks. Tell that to the Uighurs in China in concentration camps who Barr is ok with letting Trump sell down the river for votes. Tell that to the Kurds in Syria.

Tell that to the government of Ukraine who are trying to root out corruption and protect their country from the Russians, but are being held hostage by an even more corrupt US executive branch. Tell that to idea that the US Attorney General is not the personal lawyer for the President of the United States and should not be routinely lying and obfuscating for him as he did when he released his lying "summary" of the Mueller report, or trying to justify dropping charges against Michael Flynn, who PLEAD GUILTY to lying to the FBI. Tell that to the First Amendment, which the Lafayatte Square protesters were peacefully exercising when Barr ordered them attacked with tear gas and rubber bullets.

But yes, Holder was apparently asleep at the switch during the "Fast and Furious" operation, the single instance you can call up like a good Fox parrot.

Also it's BORDER not boarder, Agent Brian Terry was not patrolling flop houses. Learn the difference before you try to pretend you care about what happened to this man.

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I would like a statement explaining why he did not have on a mask.

He's got the dogwhistle politics down pat.

Makes me wonder: does he have a son or daughter to worry about? If a cop sees them and chooses to engage for whatever reason, I doubt the Blue Veil of Daddy will be immediately obvious as their faces hit the pavement and their necks break.

Mayor or Governor we need someone to lead not follow. Your smile tells it all you are giving the finger to the Mayor, the DA and the city council.

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Oh man this has been a great few months of content for Adam Pageviews. Thought nothing could make you happier than a BLM protest in West Roxbury during a pandemic but this might be even better for you. Congrats.

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You must love the taste of boot leather.

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...here you are. If you are so unhappy here on UHUB, perhaps another site, say...uh breitbart might resonate with you. It is kind of an echo chamber. Reasoned debate with a range of opinions, well considered, if occasionally "spirited" is why I come here. That, and of course, sweet, sweet Storrowing pix!

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You’re right. This isn’t an “echo chamber”, especially the last few weeks. Anyone that doesn’t fall in line with the approved opinion is called a racist or a boot licker.
There actually used to be a well informed back and forth on this site but now it’s a “progressive” version of the old awful Herald comments section.

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...perhaps consider that it might be you that's out of step with public sentiment.

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You’re right. Write out a list of everything that’s ok to think and I’ll try and conform.

There are a number of commenters who spew racism on a regular basis. Adam doesn't ban these people or delete their comments. He requires hateful content to be pretty extreme in order to do that and actually lets quite a lot more through than most places I frequent online. I would hardly call this an echo chamber. There are a few loud conservatives here who want people to think it's an extremist far left view to be against racism/ableism/transphobia/etc., but just no.

Some people do go too far.

I don't care about the photo op. I dislike Barr, but executives & officials should be able to have discussions, and work together like grown-ups.

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Just added his comments to the original post.

Your link to Walsh's reply is broken, and it means that the post is attributing Councilor Andrea Campbell (Dorchester)'s quote to the Mayor

"Defund whatever the hell this is" is too good to coming from Marty, it was tweeted by Andrea Campbell. Here is part of the Mayor's statement:

"In Boston, we believe in justice and equity, and protecting everyone in our community".....
"Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration do not share Boston’s values or my values..."

My apologies, error fixed.

Just despicable for Campbell to speak this way about Gross. Did she just call him a “this”? It’s dehumanizing.

Barr is despicable. He's a fucking Nazi and not the least interested in enforcing actual laws, honey. Do some reading, get with the program.

Gross has chosen to double down on the blue, but it wouldn't help him (and Barr wouldn't help him) should he drive through the wrong town while being black.

pictures speak a thousand words

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Added comments from several to the original post.

Cares more of grandstanding and virtue signaling than solving issues. Good for Gross, at least we have a few strong leaders left.

Barr is a piece of shit...

If you stand next to a piece of shit like that with a big ole smile on your face then your words also mean shit

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... that doesn’t really work.

"Gross", like in "floss"

She was in her 20s, worked as an EMT and was shot and killed at home (in bed?) when officers in the drug unit served a no-knock warrant to her address, the wrong address, wearing plain clothes. Her boyfriend tried to defend them from what he thought was a home invasion.

Do you think the officers who shot Breonna Taylor should lose their jobs? Be prosecuted for manslaghter?

It's a question of justice and accountability. It's been 97 days since she died.
IMAGE( https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eat6WNTX0AUFDdE?format=jpg&name=small)

Who thinks these two will help find good answers?IMAGE(https://www.universalhub.com/files/styles/main_image/public/images/2020/unmasked.jpg?itok=7Z6ZhgDV)

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Because his jurisdiction is the City of Boston in Massachusetts.

And I mean this sincerely.

Most people can't but if you're financially able it's time to leave the country.

Something that flew under the radar yesterday was Facebook having to remove Trümp campaign ads for posting (88 times, btw) Nazi concentration camp insignias.

I'll say that one more time;

FACEBOOK HAD TO REMOVE ADS WITH NAZI INSIGNIAS FROM A SITTING PRESIDENTS RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN.

The walls are closing in and he is becoming increasingly erratic and insane. He desperately needs a distraction and chaos is his specialty.

We are a day and a half away from a potentially disastrous event.

Nearly a century after the most horrific racial attack in the history of our nation, Trümp is priming his base into starting his very own race war in Tulsa.

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I mean, I could probably jump it and surrender, being a climate change epidemiologist with strong family ties to Quebec and Alberta and all, but I have to wonder if part of the closure is to prevent affluent refugees?

Gross should have known better, but he is not a political thinker.
The reactions are just opportunistic though.

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Defund him.

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Gross is a politically savvy guy. That's how he became commissioner in the first place. He knew exactly how this meeting and especially the photo would be received. You cannot see this as anything else but him thumbing his nose at the mayor for cutting his budget and the overall public that he is supposed to serve. Not ok.

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He knew EXACTLY what this would do, that's why they both just look so, so happy together.

If he meant what was said, he would've held the meeting and politely declined a [email protected]#$^@% photo opp with Herr Barr and explained the obvious to our authoritarian AG; That outside the AM radio dial, a happy picture wouldn't exactly go over too well around these parts.

I gave him a chance but Gross is a punk. A troll. He's not thumbing his nose, he's flipping us off while laughing with the man who gassed protestors and is single-handedly destroying the Justice Department of The United States.

Fascism is HERE.

Like most collaborators of oppressed classes, he'll be against the wall as soon as he is no longer considered necessary.

I don't think he should have taken that photo, and I wonder if he felt pressured to be part of it. That smile does not look genuine to me; there are plenty of other photos of him that look like he wants to be there. I suspect he was walking a political line yesterday and this photo op took him off balance. Hopefully it's just briefly and he can get back on track.

If Gross had worn a mask for the photo, then his facial expression would have been hidden, and the photo less controversial.

Willie Gross seems like a decent commissioner, and I, too wonder why he met with William Barr. Not wearing masks was a huge mistake on the part of both of them, however.

All:

We are in a serious situation with respect to the social fabric -- have no misconception:

The Police Commissioner felt the need to issue a disclaimer about a picture taken with the Attorney General of the US -- solely to prevent a potential riot at Police HQ -- that is a sad statement of the situation.

I respect Police Commissioner Gross as he, just as Attorney General Barr, both stand for the Rule of Law --- the cornerstone of the US society.
Every person should have equal standing with respect to the application of the law. Unfortunately, for the past decade there has been a serious erosion of that concept at many levels. All of this has recently culminated in the worst riots in the US in many years.

It is now a critical time for US to Unify about the commitment to insure the Equal Access to Justice promised by our Constitution and Bill of Rights -- Perhaps now is the time for another virtual version of Obama's "Beer Summit" with the Cambridge Police

The rest of the usual useless and inflammatory piling-on comments came from political people whom I can have no respect due to their need to politicize and misrepresent everything and their lack of any original thoughts.

PS: Just possibly the reason the Attorney General was in Boston to meet with Police Commissioner Gross -- to ask how did Boston "get-off" so relatively lightly from the riots which decimated the downtowns of many cities both larger [e.g. NYC, Chicago and smaller e.g. Santa Monica]

It's more of a token gesture.

Next time you set foot in my district I demand a face to face meeting where you look me in the eye and explain why you tear gassed peaceful protestors. Understood?

That might make sense, except Barr didn't gas peaceful protesters in her district.

As an American, why would she not be concerned about what happens in DC?

Gross gassed peaceful protesters as they were peacefully leaving a demonstration.

It makes him an Uncle Tom and clearly vying for a Cabinet position. Mayor Walsh should fire his ass. If you consort with traitors, you are a traitor.

Barr is working for one of the best manipulators of the past several decades. Barr is following in the footsteps his master as well as Cohn and McCarthy.

Williams act self-important enough to think he can outwit a man who was born to manipulate, lie and gaslighting.

Sorry Bill Gross. You're not that smart. You thought you were using Barr? Ha ha; Barr used you.

Bill, you say you're not political; oh please sweetheart. Your position is thanks to playing politics. Meeting with a man who is manipulating the Justice Department to protect his buddy Trump is a pure political ploy. Meeting with someone who has prostituted a vital institution to the service of one of the biggest liars in the nation is purely political.

If you are a good commissioner then stick to being part of the Boston public service. But you're coming across as someone who likes to argue, treat people as below you and as somebody who thinks he is self-important.

to see which side he would support?

After what happened in New York Friday night, the legislature and the city council need answers from Gross as to what was discussed at that meaning. Under oath. Now.