Dear Elected Officials:
As leadership of the 4,300-member Massachusetts Coalition of Police (MassCOP), we write from a position of grave concern and alarm over the violence and hostile actions afflicting communities nationwide – and a disregard for the lives and safety of law enforcement officers and all citizens.
The brazen assassination attempt on two police officers in Los Angeles is the most extreme recent example. These officers were ambushed by a cowardly gunman as they sat in their cruiser. A deeply disturbing video shows an onlooker repeatedly laughing, making taunts and celebrating the grisly aftermath while first responders race to the scene. Later, others blocked the entrance to the hospital where the officers fought for their lives and shouted that the two of them should die.
Just this week – following a report from its police chief on repeated verbal and other harassment of officers – the Belmont Human Rights Commission issued a public letter condemning this abuse. Our expectation is the state lawmakers representing that community – as individuals – would have led the effort in condemning those actions. Perhaps they will have the decency to follow.
It is not too much to expect that elected leaders will take a public stand against all violence. This includes violent acts against law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect the very people who are attacking them. To remain silent, at minimum, shows a disregard and lack of concern for the safety and well-being of police. It promotes hostility toward police, simply for being police.
Political figures who have openly supported and voted to defund police are direct contributors to a climate of hostility and a tolerance of civil unrest which is worsening, not healing. It is rhetoric such as this – as well as punitive measures that have nothing to do with better policing – that are the true obstacles to effective police reform in Massachusetts.
Our membership of 4,300 officers is sworn to protect and serve citizens in 157 communities across the Commonwealth. We call on all elected officials in Massachusetts to condemn violent attacks on police officers, such as the ambush shootings in Los Angeles and Phoenix, and the attack on two officers’ home and family in New Jersey. We ask them to stop the reckless calls to “defund” and “disarm” police. And we urge them to be honest and forthright about what genuinely constitutes effective police reform here in the Commonwealth, as opposed to mere punishment and retribution for acts committed by officers in other states.
Police officers deserve that level of true leadership, as do all citizens of the Commonwealth.
First Vice President