Police vow: No more bullhorns or sirens at early morning screamfests outside the mayor's house
Update: A small group of protesters were back at the mayor's house this morning - with cowbells.
Boston Police will confiscate bullhorns and other noisemakers if the anti-vax protesters who have been gathering outside Mayor Wu's Roslindale home try to use them again, E-5 Capt. Darrin Greeley tonight told residents fed up with the noise and the effect on neighborhood children.
The protesters, who think requiring city employees to get Covid-19 shots is the first step on the road to concentration camps, have not shown up in Roslindale the past couple of days. Instead, they've been noisily gathering outside the South Boston home of City Council President Ed Flynn, who has backed the mayor's Covid-19 policies - and decried the anti-Asian insults hurled by protesters - Greeley told about 30 residents at a meeting at E-5 in West Roxbury. He predicted, however, they will return to Roslindale.
Residents asked for the meeting to see if there is anything police can do to quiet the protesters if not get them out of the neighborhood - and to get them to stop screaming anti-Asian insults and yelling about Hitler and kids growing up without their parents. They said they were concerned both about Wu's young children, who have to listen to the amplified ranting, and other neighborhood children who have to hear the taunting as well.
"How is this not disturbing the peace?" one resident asked.
"When you start going after children, we need to draw the line," another said.
"There's a big difference engaging in protest and engaging in harassment," yet another said.
"Take it to City Hall, take it someplace else," one resident said.
"I feel terrible for you guys," Greeley said, adding he knows what it's like because the protesters, led by one of his own sergeants, have taken to yelling "Nazi!" at on-duty BPD officers protecting their objects of their ire, whether the mayor or workers at Fenway and Mission Hill restaurants. He added that he now has five officers stationed outside the mayor's house each morning - which is in addition to her BPD security detail.
Beyond taking away their amplification, though, Greeley said there's not much else he can do: The mayor lives on a public street and the Constitution gives people the right to protest in public spaces, even in residential neighborhoods.
The First Amendment gives them the right to whine about Hitler and China. Residents asked about criminal harassment of children through their chants and screams. He said that since the protests are aimed at Wu specifically, she herself would have to come out and complain to police about specific screamers - something she has yet to do - he said.
One thing Greeley urged the residents not to do is directly confront the protesters. They live for that and want to get people angry and maybe even goad them into fights, he said.
He continued that he will order his officers to make arrests only as an absolute last resort, in part because the protesters want that, too - it's good publicity for them and will only draw in more people.
"You want 300 people showing up at that corner [outside the mayor's house]?" he asked. "You want buses of people?" Because that's what would happen if police did start arresting protesters, he said.
He also said his officers have begun using back-channel communications to try to get the protesters to lay off the amplification - a message he sent more directly to one protester who, quietly, attended the meeting.
Greeley continued, however, that protest leader Shana Cottone, until recently an E-5 sergeant, might face greater scrutiny internally, in addition to the current investigation that led to her current suspension and the loss of her service gun. In response to a resident who asked whether he thought her actions were acceptable, Greeley said, "No, it's not OK, it's not OK."
Two residents disagreed with the others at the meeting. One of them basically accused Wu of bringing the protests down on the neighborhood and said if she really wanted to stop them, she should just leave for work earlier in the morning. Her husband, who started to argue against vaccination before he was forced to shut up, told the residents that the real reason police haven't arrested protesters is because "they do not enforce your will, they enforce the law."
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I like Michelle Wu and have
I like Michelle Wu and have no problem with her efforts to prevent the Covid virus and its variants from attacking Boston. However, the main reason I voted for her is to see a difference in Boston's corrupt broken transit system which requires persuading the State to wake up and take the wheel. Or even the Federal government. The transit system in Boston is still old and not reliable. Fed up Orange Line rider and bus rider for 42 years here. What happened today is nothing new.
42 year Orange Line rider?
And you still haven't figured out which level of government runs the T.
Charlie baker appoints the
Charlie baker appoints the council
That governs Mass Dot which in turn governs MbTA. Michelle wu isn’t a direct player
While at it, maybe they can
While at it, maybe they can arrest and prosecute for some other occurrences of
Disturbing the peace
Wanton or malicious destruction of property
Threats – excluding domestic violence
That cop might have a point
That cop might have a point that arrests could make the problem worse with hundreds of people or more. It's crazy that it's become legitimate to protest outside government officials' residences rather than their workplaces.
Are there other prosecution
Are there other prosecution mechanisms besides arrests that would generate less attention? For example, could they mail a summons to the protesters?
They are not doing any of those things.
Also, look up how many of those offenses the Suffolk County DA will prosecute.
The first amendment is a real thing. Unfortunately for the neighbors.
Government can ban focused protests at residents…
Boston has not yet but the Supreme Court has ruled it is not in violation of the 1st Amendment if they chose to do so….
Would you feel the same about
Would you feel the same about your neighborhood?
It doesn’t matter.
The constitution doesn’t stop protecting rights based on personal inconvenience. And that anti abortion case is not on point. The doctor is a private citizen. Wu is an elected official. I dislike the protests outside her home and think they are in poor taste, but BLM and others have been inconveniencing people for years, and we don’t get to pick and choose who gets to protest based on whether we like the message.
The slide to fascism based on viewpoint is disturbing.
Slide to fascism?
You get that from one sentence?
I'm not as familiar with the slide to fascism in Italy as I am with the slide to Nazism in Germany, but you might want to recall how that happened - with angry mobs shouting down opponents, backed by violent brownshirts.
I don't think that's what's happening here, but as long as we're getting into facile, simplistic arguments ...
Adam, the constitution is sacrosanct
We’ve got people here clamoring for arrests and citations for protesters who are not violating any law or ordinance. I can’t stand the message of the protest or the manner in which they are doing it, but the constitution gives them the right to do so. Nice Godwin’s law straw man, though.
Pete - maybe stick to patrol, and don’t weigh in on things you don’t know about. Maybe read up on the development of first amendment jurisprudence in the last 30 years.
Yes, the constitution is sacroscanct
No, that doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want to get your point across.
You can't yell "fire!" in a crowded theater and expect no consequences.
I guess we'll find out how far you can go with a bullhorn or drums and getting a chance to let your inner racist out, won't we? I guess we'll also find out just how far you can push a neighborhood that up until now was mostly notable for how completely unremarkable it is.
I'd argue with you....
but you obviously don't know that many cities and towns in MA already have ordinances like this. Boston does not so there is not much pushback. It doesn't go much further than there. I will stick to patrol if you can come up with something better than having me reading up on something that you are trying to argue and defend. Until then you don't know what you are talking about.
Here is another one that is holding up so far.
I'm not a lawyer....
And you obviously aren't. But that decision doesn't say what you wrote:
In fact it says this:
So again, maybe this could be outlawed, maybe not. I bet it could be if a focused picketing law was made.
They should go downtown to
They should go downtown to Government center, where they wont be violating the rights of Wu's neighbors, who are private citizens and do not have any power in this.
There are a million decisions stating 1st Amendment rights aren't violated when protest zones are limited.
what’s the idea here?
is this a reference to the 2020 protests?
16-26-6 Boston City Noise Ordinance
I believe that the police could charge the protestors with violating this city ordinance. This is the ordinance used to shut down college parties.
Is that the one with quiet hours?
They start at 7 am because that is when the quiet hours end. IIRC it starts at 10 pm which is why it could be used for most college parties.
The protesters aren’t making noise during quiet hours.
Protesters using cowbells outside the mayor's home this morning
They got a fever
and the only prescription is the vaccine the should have already received.
I don't care who you are and what your positions are, harassing people at their homes is unacceptable. Watching those videos in Hardy's link makes my blood boil (again, not because of what they are saying, but the method they are using.) Standing 3 inches from the Mayor's car with your camera, filming her while you scream shit at her? That's WAY over the line.
From where I was (not across the street from Wu, and not within view of her house, but I guess close enough,) I heard drumming this morning.
I was thinking about this later. Wouldn't having a (properly masked) protest at Forest Hills Station be at least relatively more effective. You can have a chance to plea your case with random fellow Bostonians without, well, alienating people trying to eat breakfast and get ready for the day. Then, you can have your glorious moment of calling Mayor Wu a Nazi, thereby losing any supporters you may have just gained.
No because their intent is to intimidate....
Protests often don't do anything (work or don't work) unless they disrupt something.
One can disrupt things at Forest Hills
Back in the olden days, the students of the various high schools in the area disrupted things every afternoon at the station. To be clear, they weren't being violent or a host of other things they were accused of, but they were disruptive.
Of course, the intimidation factor is better in front of one's house, but if you are at the point of intimidation, wouldn't you be on the edge of criminality?
If you were trying to persuade other citizens to not get the vaccine? Maybe. But their intent is not to persuade, it's to be loud obnoxious assholes.
This effort is being led by someone who is, as my old granddad used to say, loose in the flue. Legitimizing the complaints of someone like that and trying to propose sensible solutions will only drive them into a rage. Save yourself the pain and suffering and skip it.
I think you miss the point of the protests
And look, I don't support them, but it not about keeping people from being vaccinated. It's about opposing mandating that people get vaccinated. Those are very different points.
Now, I will not argue against them being loud obnoxious assholes, as I have to deal with them close to my house. Them being loud obnoxious assholes is a fact.
Isn’t that the point?
Isn’t that the point of protesting? Blocking traffic, marching down streets, making a bunch of noise, etc?
Just an FYI - I, in no way, support these lunatics.
I think you're giving her too much credit
You believe this is all part of a finely honed strategy that will result in mandates being withdrawn. I think this woman is several tacos short of a combo plate and will never accomplish any such thing. Hell, I'm astonished she can dress herself.
If she does it for long enough...
she can definitely be doing it when the mandates are withdrawn. She'd probably give herself credit at that point, too.
I know what the strategy will result in
Which is failure.
That is different than the point of the protest, which is opposition to the vaccine mandates. If the issue were the vaccines themselves, these protests would have started months earlier, like when Janey came up with the "vaccinated or tested" policy while herself decrying the idea that people wouldn't be able to go to restaurants without proof of vaccination.
I'd love to read a counter where protestors would not go to Janey's house to protest vaccines while they would go to Wu's to do the same thing. The difference is the mandate.
"the point of the protest"
"Opposition" is not the point of any protest. The point of a protest is to try and effect some change. I agree with you that "opposition" is what this fruit bat is all about, but disagree that that amounts to a "protest" or that it will ever accomplish anything.
Ah, the inner troll comes out
Look, when one protests in opposition to something, the goal is to change that thing. For example, protesting against flight patterns at Logan Airport has as its goal changing the flight patterns. In this case, the point of protesting against the vaccine mandates is to see the mandates end. Now, let's just say that the protesters somehow convinced Wu to end both the employee mandate and the mandate to be vaccinated to eat at restaurants, they would have achieved their objective and the protests would end.
And to be clear, I do not support their cause or means of protesting, but I understand the cause and the goals of the protest.
Ironic (or more accurately MORONic) that...
The exact same people who were ok with incommunicado detention at Guantanamo Bay or locking babies in cages think for even a second that the vaccine is similar to the concentration camps. I think the correct word is hypocritical actually.
Also the exact same people who want to regulate a woman's body are claiming "pro choice" when it comes to vaccines and masks too. I hope the FBI sacks every single one of them as a good number of them were involved in January 6, too.
"When the Evil Orange talks, I don't listen."
Also the same…
These are also the same people who criticize other protesters with “THEY MUST NOT HAVE JOBS”. Especially amusing when they’re talking about protests on weekends.
This woman must have been a
This woman must have been a great cop.../s.
I am sure her soon to be born child won't grow up a privileged white brat at all...
Looks like a bunch of losers that don't seem to have it in them to help make the world a better place.
You wonder why so many people in this country don't "back the blue." She is yelling at her coworkers so does she even "back the blue?" The hypocrisy is stunning.
Considering Covid was the #1 killer of cops let's hope the ones that don't get vaccinated win the Darwin award.
Comment moderation decisions are interesting.
We are allowing anti white commentary. Why Adam? All bigotry is terrible. Cottons is a jerk, but her skin color has nothing to do with it.
says these anons are the same person lol
Not taking that bet...
Trolls are not extinct. They thrive on this stuff.
Her skin color has a lot to do with why she feels entitled to be a jerk and doesn't feel any need to regulate her own behavior, though.
(please don't notallwhitepeople or I will be forced to point out that, in the words of Monty Python, "universal affirmatives can only be partially converted")
Slighting the child of a public figure.
Now, I don't think that children are fair game when it comes to political struggles, but that's just me.
Oh now you've done it
Said something about the child of a right wing fruit bat. Derail comin' up!
Please arrest them, then
Please arrest them, then arrest the 300 new protestors who show up next. What are we now? Michigan?
Please re-read the story
In particular, the comments by the police captain on why he doesn't want to do that.
I lose respect for your
I lose respect for your movement and your issues if you bring your protests to the homes of politicians who are otherwise available for you to protest. Michele Wu is outside all the time, she makes trips by MBTA, she is at City Hall. There is ZERO reason to protest outside her home. There was ZERO reason to protest in front of the home of Marty Walsh. There is ZERO reason to protest at the home of Charlie Baker.
These people are elected by us. We can hire and fire them. We have lots of access to them.
If you want to protest in front of someones house then go do it in front of the home of some oil barren or other corporate type that hides from the public.
This has nothing to do with the job Michelle Wu is doing. It is just human decency.
The home of some oil barren?
Why would someone build a home somewhere that's oil barren? Wouldn't it just be a desert?
I'll just use my free space to ask again why the squirt guns haven't come out.