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Signs calling for police defunding emerge at West Roxbury vigil

People came to Holy Name Rotary in West Roxbury for the second straight Monday to standi in vigil for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other blacks killed by police.

There were not quite as many demonstrators at last week. One thing that was new this week, though, were people holding signs reading "Defund the police" - something that was not an issue in the fast-moving discussion about civil rights and racial justice just a week ago, at least not in West Roxbury.

Sign: Defund police

Also noticeably different: The police presence. Where last week, BPD was ready to rumble with rioters - with 40 helmeted, baton-wielding cops guarding the E-5 police station and the neighboring 7-Eleven and with motorcycle cops from surrounding suburbs roaring through the rotary just in case a fake "Antifa" flier was real, which it wasn't, today only four or five officers, none with helmets on, none clutching batons with both hands stood in front of the station. And while the motorcycle cops returned, they stayed well out of sight, cooling their motors down at the Roche Bros. parking lot.

And the barriers that kept people from even walking on the sidewalk in front of the station or down West Roxbury Parkway to Belgrade Street were pushed back, letting people walk on and hold signs right in front of the station.

The 7-Eleven ,though, was still clad in plywood (as was the 7-Eleven more than a mile away down on Spring Street):

Boarded up 7-Eleven

The vigil was sponsored by Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale and Tonya Tedesco.

Sign: Silence is consent
Sign: Black lives matter
Sign: Fellow white people
Bandana: Black lives matter
Kid with mohawk and BLM signs
Sign: It's our problem
Sign: Black lives matter
Sign: Remember DJ Henry
Sign: Black lives mattert
Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

but this kinda sentiment is too granola. like way too granola. RETRAIN the police. use some of the money that the billionaire class with the help of congress literally stole FROM OUR ASSES.

why the fuck are we fighting each other over crumbs after we have been economically raped? goddamjnut liberals are so stupid sometimes.

also, you want legions of poorly trained police to wander into the fat greasy arms of the orange death pig?

we have sent people to college to get stupid.

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Wtf?

You know who’s economically getting raped?

Nobody in this country. You moron.

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...you do your activism and let other people do theirs?

There's nothing more lazy and stupid than a couch-sitter who tries to tone-police other people.

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Who is getting "economically raped" here?

How about we look at some numbers from the City's employee earning report data base.

There are about 2750 full time BPD employees, and the 2019 AVERAGE salary of these 2750 is $150k. 531 BPD employees took more than the mayor's $199k. The base salary is reasonable, but ridiculous perks, like funny overtime calculations (where one can work 30 minutes but get paid for 4 hours) is what leads to this outrageous spending. Oh, and don't get me started over the merits of the $30 million/year Quinn bill! That one should have been eliminated eons ago with money going straight to City youth programs instead.

If you are on the taxpayer side and really start digging into it; the BPD budget looks more like legalized robbery, and the police union is the big enabler of this racketeering. That in turn generates arrogance and entitlement in the ranks.

While we are it, let's also take a good look at the Boston Fire Department where the abuse of other people's money is just as outrageous. For those 1680 employees, the AVERAGE full time salary is $158k! And while the number of major fires is 90% less than it it was 4 decades ago (not a typo); budget and salaries keep going up and up.

In light of that, should we really cut the (relatively inexpensive) social programs just so we can sustain or increase BPD and BFD salaries? As a tax payer with basic math skills, I very much feel like a sucker when I look at these budgets allocations. If we lowered the average BPD and BFD salary to a more reasonable $100k, that's still enough to recruit and retain qualified people and there would be plenty of money freed to put our city youths on a better path.

Useful sources:

https://data.boston.gov/dataset/employee-earnings-report

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/06/20/for-some-boston-police-officers-ext...

https://www3.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/09/07/plenty-firefighters-but-wh...

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Lay off the whole bunch of these inconsiderate cops and civilian employees.
What the he'll. The fire dept also
Let luck be our guide on crime and safety

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The point is to stop treating public health problems as policing/law/order problems. Not just because that is useless and damaging, but because it is entirely ineffective.

See also: opioid epidemic, mental health care

The other point is to remind cops that they are publicly funded public servants, not gods in charge of life or death.

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Voting closed 12

It's about time to eliminate mandatory police details on construction sites. People complain about the cost of living, and that is partly because every project has to pay huge amounts (literally hundreds of thousands for a large project) to the BPD so officers can relax in their cars most of the day.

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The city is the one who offers to increase detail rates in an exchange for the police union to pay more of their pension/health insurance. So you would need to compensate them even further if you wanted to do that.

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Just so we can afford the pensions of those same detail cops?

No details = Less cops we need.

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The contractors don’t pay for those details, it comes out of taxpayer money?

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City of Boston gets 10%.

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Construction details? Contractors pay.

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I'm certain that the police budget is bloated, but before we defund it we need to redesign it and realign its mission. After that let's do the same for public schools. Both are protected by powerful unions who have created insular, self-serving and dangerous bureaucracies impervious to change.

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The police union and the teachers union are two completely different animals, serving two completely different purposes. The police union exists to protect its members from the consequences of their own negligence/malevolence. The fact that they've managed to negotiate a pretty sweet economic deal for the average member (see analysis upthread) is orthogonal to their central purpose. (And FWIW I don't actually begrudge anyone the high salary their union wrangles for them--civil servants deserve to be well-paid, and good on the police/firefighters/teachers who collectively bargained for their salaries)

Arguing that the department should put its own house in order is also dumb. We've known that police violence is a problem for decades, and we've known that the cops are used as a blunt-force weapon against minorities for a lot longer than that. If the department was willing or capable of self-correcting, they would have done it a long time ago. The only way to "fix" it now is to fire everyone from the commissioner down to traffic enforcement and rebuild with people who actively reject the "thin blue line" bullshit and instead value community-building and non-violent interventions. Obviously that will never happen, but maybe if we stop giving them an unlimited firehose of cash, they'll be forced to stop buying armored personnel carriers and chemical weapons. We don't know for certain that it'll work, because the police have so much political clout that they've been able to avoid us ever trying it, but there's enough political will now to get it done. Let them sweat out how to deal with budget cuts, just like every other governmental agency does.

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A) Ending QI (Qualified Immunity) for rogue cops who abuse their power, while not an end in itself, would be a huge step in the right direction, and a good start towards reforming police unions.

B) The requiring of Civilian Review Boards, or Civilian overseers in all police departments here in the United States is another good way of holding police departments accountable for the actions and behaviors of rogue cops who abuse their power, and either take or adversely compromise lives unnecessarily.

C) It's a known fact that rogue cops who abuse their power are a danger to everybody, and that, if the brutalizing of a 75 year old white man in Buffalo, NY not long ago, who was in a BLM demonstration is any indication, nobody, regardless of age, ethnicity or color is immune to being the victim of police brutality, which has been a problem in the United States for decades, especially against non-whites.

D) If a cop has a certain number of complaints lodged against him or her, then s/he should be subject to severe disciplining and/or permanent dismissal from their respective police department.

E) Cops are needed around, whether people like them or not, so a thorough overhaul and reformation of the police here in the United States is really the only way to go.

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Is the average teacher salary 150k? Are there a bunch of teachers making more than the mayor's 199k? Are police also getting pink slipped right now?

I don't get your comparison.

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Aren't half the residents of West Roxbury cops and fire fighters? Why not open up a dialogue with your next door neighbor the sergeant? Holding a sign and chanting before Yoga is easy.

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As a resident of West Roxbury myself, I'm terrified of the neighbor I've seen walking around decked out in thin blue line Punisher skull clothing. Not exactly somebody I feel comfortable opening up a dialogue with.

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Isn't that what activists expect the rest of us to do rather than call the cops? Why is it ok for you to expect someone else to not call the cops when they feel threatened but perfectly fine for you to be afraid of your cop neighbor who clearly is not going to beat you up for saying hi? It feels like hypocrisy to me.

One of the issues we have in this community is people not knowing their neighbors. You don't have to start with a dialogue on police but I emplore you to talk to your neighbor. How long have you both lived there???

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That may have been true 20 years ago. I’ve lived here 12 years and don’t regularly interact with any. The one cop I know of nearby doesn’t wear a face covering so I haven’t stopped to chat with him in three months.
Now, if you keep your kids away from BPS because you don’t want them around non-white kids, you get to know some cops.

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I love the idea of shifting funding and responsibility from police for things that neither they nor we want them handling. Let's let them focus on violent crimes and treat other problems with more appropriate solutions. Addiction, mental health, homelessness, traffic violations, construction details, etc. These are much better handled by others. And let's de-militarize the police as well. They do not need to be outfitted like an army. Hand guns and some basic protective equipment is more than enough for them to do their jobs effectively.

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Have you seen how aggressive some people get when they get stopped for traffic violations or how many criminals are caught this way? I agree with you mostly but anytime you speak from a place of authority people are going to get aggressive. Construction details and all those other things might make sense or go with a hybrid approach for mental health etc.

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The militarization of police, while deplorable, only adds power to the police's long-standing penchant to turn whatever they want into a "violent crime".

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I agree with everything you’re saying but I think instead of “defunding police” finds need to be allocated to community programs, job development, etc. YOU Boston in Roxbury works closely with street workers and police to create jobs for young people. Taking $ from the police will just make things worse. They already are short staffed which I think causes a lot of our problems. Budgeting cuts and longer hours will make them more hostile, tired & angry towards us. We need better training/hiring practices and a clear law saying they will be arrested, charged and held accountable or any wrongdoing. No slaps on the wrists. There needs to be a strong deterrent (you will lose your job) for police brutality and I’m not talking just getting assigned to desk duty or switching to another town.

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The Golds have ruled for far too long. We need Darrow of Lycos. Break the chains! Magoo.

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n/t

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Hey, can we treat "Black" as an adjective and always follow it with a noun? I cringe everytime we get referred to as the blacks. Black people, Black lives, Black folks, etc.
The way the POTUS says it feels very dehumanizing and it's been something I rarely have to bring up around other Black people. I don't care to make a similar case about the capitalization, that's another topic.

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Look how many cops are earning in excess of $300,000 a year. Then look at how many are making more than $250,000 a year.

https://data.boston.gov/dataset/employee-earnings-report/resource/3bdfe6...

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the fuck is stopping anybody from doing their activism? jesus christ I am providing much needed criticism of the rarified left. have we confused speech with action already? i thought we could make it to September before that happened.

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What have you done to change the situation lately?

What have you organized? What action have you taken?

Or are you just a "business consultant" who has "created" a theory of something or other and are therefore qualified to advise?

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It was pointed out in one of the news broadcasts I was watching this morning that Boston has one of the lowest Police budgets in the nation.
Source: https://www.necn.com/george-floyd-protests/boston-considers-reallocating...

"Compared to other big cities in America, Boston has one of the lowest police budgets with 11%, or $414 million, of the city’s budget going towards police, according to Walsh's office."
Compare that to the BPS budget of 1.14 Billion. Which makes up 40% of the city budget.

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I've been reading some of the social media on this de-funding bull.

I think the best one I saw was, "De-fund the police? Who ya gonna call, Ghost Busters?"

Yeah, they have military type equipment -- when needed. That's because the gun laws allow the bad guys to have AK-47s and similar. If you are going to challenge the bad guys you need to match their weaponry.

When you are going into a situation blind for a shooter you don't get to phone them and ask what they are carrying for guns and explosives either. You have to assume the worse and be prepared for it.

And let's be clear here... if some psychopath loads up and starts shooting up a school, you don't get to send in the new social services people to talk them down and get them to see the error of their ways.

Should we do better and find alternatives? Sure thing. Improvements welcome. But this silly idea of doing away with the police in some cities is just plain bonkers. I don't hear people saying to de-fund the fire department and give everyone a garden hose.

You have to start thinking about this as well. Where are these ideas coming from? Is this Russian influence trying to get us to let our guard down? And what about those allegations that white supremacists have been going into cities breaking windows and setting fires so that minorities get blamed?

We need to stop taking things on social media at face value and perpetuating the false narrative. Time to apply some common sense and come up with some rationally thought-out solutions.

The last thing this city needs is a knee-jerk reaction and that is where we are headed.

Consider the last knee-jerk reaction... banning cell phones from T operators. Was that bad? Well after a couple of accidents that showed the operators were using their phones, that is what happened. Of course, the T already had rules against their use in place that were not being enforced. All they needed o do was enforce that rule. So instead a knee-jerk legislative ban happened. Not every T vehicle has a working radio and if damaged you are SOL. A bus or train with a non-working radio or walkie-talkie is not a reason for them to take a vehicle out of revenue service. So when you ride the T make sure you have two things with you; a well-charged cell phone and a flashlight. That may be your only way to get out, because the operator doesn't have his/her cell phone to call for help. They will be powerless to do anything.

So again... stop... think... reason. What is it that you are truly trying to accomplish here?

And if you do call Ghost Busters, expect the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man to come and get you.

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