The "Straight Pride" Parade that was held in Boston in the end of August was just another example of thinly-veiled alt-right trolling. Unfortunately, it also worked. A hateful parade of a hundred-or-so people managed to divert hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars into overtime police coverage and shutdown streets during the busiest weekend in the city (Labor Day + college move-ins = hell).
Thanks to WBUR, we now know that that cost included 9,000 hours of overtime work for local police officers—the equivalent of 4 years of full-time policing service. And none of it was officially caught on film, despite the police aggressions caught on social media and the 3 dozen counter-protestors who were arrested during the parade.
(Coincidentally, the Massachusetts State Police Union was also embroiled in an overtime scandal in the months leading up to this parade.)
There are plenty of pros and cons to debate around the use of body cameras for police officers. In this case, it means that the public only has access to choppy, not-necessarily-reliable videos that arguably paint a picture of excessive police aggression against protestors. While there may end up being some internal investigation into these officers, it's unlikely to yield any consequences, and that likely still be true even if there was body camera footage (though at least then the public might have access to "official" police video to confirm the narrative).
But what makes this particularly egregious is what happened after the "Straight Pride" Parade. District Attorney Rachel Rollins—who just took office this past year—declined to charge most of the protestors who were arrested at the event. Normally, this would be the end of it. Except, somehow, the judge overseeing the case decided to ignore the DA, arrest a defense attorney, and continue prosecuting the protestors with the utmost zeal. That same judge, Richard Sinnot, once shot someone at City Hall under shady circumstances when he was working in the DA's office, and is also the son of Boston's other famous conservative Judge Richard Sinnot, also known as the "city censor." Unsurprisingly, the Boston Police Patrolmen Union petitioned to make sure that those darn rascally protestors got what's comin' to 'em, too.
The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct is currently investigating Judge Sinnot's refusal to respect the most basic role of a District Attorney. But between vindictive judges and overpaid cops with no accountability for their actions, Massachusetts Law Enforcement is putting a lot of authoritarian money and muscle behind defending a bunch of alt-right trolls.
If only there was anything surprising about that.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)