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Shit Boston Cops Say
July 6, 2012 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Shit Boston Cops Say: "For at least six years, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) has published a boldly bigoted official union newsletter, the Pax Centurion. Full of screeds against minorities, women, progressives, gays, Muslims, and even crime victims, its pages have long drawn ire from activists and union members alike. Last week, though, the mostly obscure paper finally broke into the spotlight: Mayor Tom Menino called the Pax 'garbage,' Boston Police Superintendent Ed Davis condemned the rag on Twitter, and several big-brand advertisers yanked their sponsorships."

A few excerpts from the newsletter:
ON PREGNANT HOMELESS WOMEN: "And now the city, in its infinite wisdom, will be acting to enable these little trollops to have exactly what they want simply by getting knocked up."

ON MURDER VICTIMS: "I'm so sick of hearing how each gang member that gets shot is 'turning his life around' . . . because I have never actually seen one turn his life around."

ON MUSLIMS: "They want to kill you. Do you understand? THEY WANT TO KILL YOU."

ON SAUDI STUDENTS: The officers were confronted with arrogant, entitled "college students" from the Arabian peninsula, who allegedly eschew alcohol and other such western excesses and tools of the infidels (That would be US!) but who were all drunk and carrying bottles of alcohol. (Allah Akbar!) . . . But these arrogant pieces of human garbage come to this country and believe they have "rights" because of their parent's wealth and this country's lack of a moral spine to kick their asses out of here on the next flight home to sandy city.

ON MASCULINITY: Are we breeding the fight out of American males? We are a country born of war. We've fought just about everyone but are today's men worthy of their warrior DNA? Men have become feminized, these "metrosexuals" indulge in manicures, pedicures, yoga, and all sorts of other sissified pursuits. The media and fans complain when professional football and hockey players "hit too hard." That's what we pay them to do! When cops have to put their hands on someone to make an arrest — out come the cell phone cameras.

ON WELFARE: If you don't think illegal aliens and welfare-cheats have their own network consisting of how to drain the benefits from the most social programs, then you are indeed an idiot. Every welfare recipient has been well-schooled in participating in the "crazy-check" scam, the "disabled" alcoholic/drug addict scam, or the "Attention Deficit Disorder" scam in order to maximize how much they bleed from the taxpayers.

posted by ericb (69 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Hours after the [Boston Phoenix] story [FPPs' first link] went to press on Tuesday morning, the .pdf archives of Pax Centurion – which had been publicly hosted on the BPPA website, suddenly disappeared, without explanation. We are republishing the files here so that the public can scrutinize Pax Centurion’s twisted legacy."
posted by ericb at 1:30 PM on July 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


It's always good to remember how red even the bluest of blue states can be.
posted by octothorpe at 1:36 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


So from the article it looks like the editor James Carnell was the main writer also, but I didn't see any other names mentioned, which was a pity.

I think every dingleberry who wrote for this rag needs their name linked with it online.
posted by emjaybee at 1:39 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


And ... these are the people who are here to 'protect and serve' us?
posted by ericb at 1:39 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Editor [James Carnell] of Boston Police Union Newsletter Urged To Resign.
posted by ericb at 1:41 PM on July 6, 2012


"ON COPS: Everyone knows that cops are basically bigoted, misogynist, racist, sexist thugs with no higher-order thinking who's notion of policing involves cracking heads, sleeping on the job and taking kickbacks from protection rackets."

Oh, I'm sorry. Is this a game only privileged white men can play?

To fucking bad. I /am/ a privileged white man. Sucks to be you, Boston Cop.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:45 PM on July 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


This is fascinating because it is a newsletter produced by police, for police. It is a window into the kind of things that police officers say amongst each other, to the ugly worldview espoused by Police Culture. How did we get to the point where the people who are supposed to protect us have become members of an exclusive fraternal order whose common assumptions are based around hatred, xenophobia, victim-blaming, and glorification of violence?
posted by Scientist at 1:48 PM on July 6, 2012 [16 favorites]


The Seattle Police Officers' Guild has a similar newsletter with similar problems.
posted by grouse at 1:48 PM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


This is why respect for police plumets with every year. It also reinforces that Boston makes Mississippi look like a bastion of tolerance.
posted by petrilli at 1:48 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've seen this aspect of the policing subculture up close, and it's pretty ugly. And for cops to refer to anyone as "entitled" is laughable. Nobody considers themselves more entitled (to respect, obedience, adulation, and immunity to the law) than the cops I have met.
posted by rocket88 at 1:49 PM on July 6, 2012 [26 favorites]


Right wing? With a name like Pax Centurion, this is practically borderline fascist.
posted by jonp72 at 1:50 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


ON MUSLIMS: "They want to kill you. Do you understand? THEY WANT TO KILL YOU."

I can't even imagine Muslim cops.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:50 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Come now, there's only a few bad apples in Boston. It just happens that they all become police officers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:51 PM on July 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


I've always wondered if the root of the problem is that cops in this country carry weapons and are allowed to use them with near impunity. But maybe it's just the job that attracts bullies, misogynists and other knuckle-dragging dregs from society.
posted by petrilli at 1:53 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't care what anyone says, I liked Departed.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:54 PM on July 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Chicago has the same kind of thing - Second City Cop. I can't bring myself to read it, but there it is in all its racist glory.
posted by readery at 1:54 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It looks like the Republicans in Congress and I actually agree on something. We both hold cops in contempt.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 1:56 PM on July 6, 2012


But maybe it's just the job that attracts bullies, misogynists and other knuckle-dragging dregs from society.

See also, auto mechanics. I'm not sure there is much of a link between these occupations (and some others) and the incredible amounts of bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, etc, etc that accompanies them. Rather, they have low barriers to entry and society does a somewhat good job of letting bigots know where they'll be welcome. Culture is hard to change, bad money drives out good, etc. Once you become a safe harbor for this kind of behavior, only a certain type of person comes/stays.

The membership of August National Golf Club probably agrees with 95% of what's in these newsletters as well, they just haven't been caught writing it down. Yet. I don't know if there's a link to golfing and assholery either.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:01 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cops in NYC didn't seem to have any problems posting racist shit on a facebook group last year, under their real names and everything.

Stuff like this reminds me of the fraternity newsletters that would occasionally surface - all full of racist, sexist, homophobic garbage, and swiftly disavowed by the brothers as "just joking around" or "it's not supposed to be for anyone outside the house" or whatever other useless excuse they could come up with.
posted by rtha at 2:03 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


What the fuck took them so damned long?

So much for Boston's Finest.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on July 6, 2012


Stuff like this reminds me of the fraternity newsletters that would occasionally surface ...

And, Dartmouth (your alma mater) also has the (in)famous conservative and independent student newspaper, The Dartmouth Review with its many controversies over the years.
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on July 6, 2012


Oh goodness, yes. I always think I am inured to stuff like this BPD scandal in part because of the educational experiences in college. But then I find myself headdesking anyway.
posted by rtha at 2:10 PM on July 6, 2012


Thanks for posting this, I meant to and didn't get around to it!
posted by rollbiz at 2:13 PM on July 6, 2012


But maybe it's just the job that attracts bullies, misogynists and other knuckle-dragging dregs from society.

I think you get three kinds: 1) The ones who are really there to protect and serve. 2) The ones who figure there will always be crime, so they'll always need cops so if I become a cop, I'll always have a job. 3) The ones who get off on the idea that they'll get to take a gun anywhere they go, make people do whatever they say and can kick random ass with impunity.

Of course, two of these types quickly have their souls crushed while the third is strangely immune.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:15 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Boston's finest? Finest what?

I mentioned to a friend how completely useless the Boston PD is. She didn't believe me until she became a victim of crime herself and experienced exactly the same kind of absolutely disinterest from the BPD. They're part of the reason I moved out of the city. I don't want to live in a place where the police don't even seem to know what their damned job is.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


When cops have to put their hands on someone to make an arrest — out come the cell phone cameras.

BAWWWWWWWWWWWW

PLEASE DO NOT RECORD ME, AS I AM FAR TOO CRAVEN TO HANDLE RESPONSIBILITY :(
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


See also, auto mechanics.

The thing is, auto mechanics aren't granted a huge amount of power and personal discretion over the lives (and deaths) of others in the way police are. So, I mean, while it sucks for a mechanic to be racist/homophobic/bullying, those characteristics are able to cause a lot more damage to people and society when they belong to a cop.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 2:20 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


See also, auto mechanics

What?

Our experiences differ, it seems. I've never met a trustworthy cop. I know several trustworthy mechanics.

(Pro Tip: more tattoos = greater reliability.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:22 PM on July 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Gocomics.com has in its outside-the-mainstream Comics Sherpa section a "pro-cop" weekly comic titled Police Limit that embraces many of the same stereotypes. But at least the policeman protagonist himself is drawn as a pig with a permanent smirk.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:25 PM on July 6, 2012


Sorry, I was imprecise with the reference to auto-mechanics. I meant to say that there are other occupations that have a history of being extremely bigoted, misogynistic, etc. I'm not saying you can't trust auto mechanics, but rather there's a long history of auto mechanics giving women a hard time, having porn on the walls, waving the confederate flag, etc.

See also, construction workers and sexual harassment.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:26 PM on July 6, 2012


See also, auto mechanics. I'm not sure there is much of a link between these occupations (and some others) and the incredible amounts of bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, etc, etc that accompanies them.

My two most trusted mechanics are Muslim and gay, respectively.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:28 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised only that anyone would find these quotes surprising. Very often (obviously not universally) cops are cops because they want to be enforcers who dominate people in a society-sanctioned method of channeling aggression. There's nothing nobler than a good cop, but there are a tragic number of bad cops, and bad cops are terrifying.

I'm a pretty low-aggression, law-abiding citizen, but as a general rule, I'm scared of the police. The average cop is probably a decent person with no ill intentions, but there's very little to prevent the average police officer from making life miserable for people [s]he is prejudiced against or finds annoying. Reading stuff like this reinforces my policy of keeping interactions with police to an absolute minimum. And, if they're being unreasonable, not arguing and just letting them do their thing and show me what Alpha specimens they are.
posted by pdq at 2:30 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


But maybe it's just the job that attracts bullies, misogynists and other knuckle-dragging dregs from society.

It sure seems like it. "Archie Bunker outer-space banana-cake" is a brilliant characterisation.

Patrolling the streets seems like an excellent example of something that should not be professionalized, and should be done by people who by and large don't want to be there, the way jury duty is. Then we could feel like policing is being done for the good of the community, rather than by a paid, self-selecting pool of people with more than its fair share of power-trippers. Saying "as the state, we will be exercising our monopoly on the legitimate use of force via a special professional special class one can choose to join" is a recipe for disaster, provided one considers the presence of a cabal of heavily-armed high-F-scale or sociopathic folks running around with broad discretion to infringe on civil liberties and enforce specific ideologies a disaster. Oh wait.

(Given that he publicly expressed an opinion, one way or the other, about Occupy, apparently "based on" experience, one hopes that James Carnell's duties did not include any further Occupy Boston-related police work...)
posted by kengraham at 2:31 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that Police Limit cartoon is awful. How can you draw a comic like this and not literally choke to death on the actual, physical globs of irony that encase your entire body?
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:33 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recall a little PR problem back when the DNC was held in Chicago for the first time since 1968. The cops printed up T-shirts that said something like "Chicago PD: We kicked your Dad's ass, now we'll kick yours" That is at least a little funny, but....I don't think they were kidding. I think they were actually eager about clubbing protestors.
posted by thelonius at 2:48 PM on July 6, 2012


Cops in NYC didn't seem to have any problems posting racist shit on a facebook group last year, under their real names and everything.

It's not just Facebook. If you ever feel like sacrificing a day in your life to the deity of bottomless despair, go check out NYPD-related posts in the forums on officer.com. Come to think of it, it's not strictly necessary to limit it to the NYPD.
posted by invitapriore at 2:49 PM on July 6, 2012


But maybe it's just the job that attracts bullies, misogynists and other knuckle-dragging dregs from society.

I've only known two people in my life who specifically went to school to eventually become cops. They were both the most racist, white-power, rednecks I ever knew in high school. Just sayin'.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:53 PM on July 6, 2012


“They were playing good cop. I, on the other hand, am evil and bad and have big claws and fangs and write terrible things about suburban nitwits who want to relive the 1960’s, beat drums, feel good about themselves, and screw up traffic for people who actually work for a living,“ Carnell wrote.

Well, what do you think?

Will we see this guy stand up for his beliefs regardless of the consequences, or will we get to see evil, bad, fanged and big clawed James Carnell whine, grovel and turn himself inside out to try and keep his job?

He's fundamentally a gutless coward like all the bullies hiding behind a badge, and it'll be satisfying to see him demonstrate that beyond any shadow of a doubt in front of the entire country... but not very.

What would be satisfying is to see the large number of cops like this all over the country purged from their departments and replaced by actual human beings.

It would raise the crime rate, the reported crime rate anyway, as they tried to continue making a living doing the only things they know how to do-- lie, cheat, steal, intimidate, extort, beat, and murder (not to mention milk the system for all its worth with phony disability claims and other scams)-- but we'd sweep the worst of the dirt into the prison system where they've always belonged soon enough, and we do have quite a few people who could use the jobs.

It might take them awhile to be good at it, but they could hardly be worse.
posted by jamjam at 2:55 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should say that there are some absolutely wonderful, sweetheart cops in the Boston and greater Boston area. Cambridge and Somerville especially have some great cops I see working on a regular basis.

On the other hand, I've lost a friend here or there.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:58 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've only known two people in my life who specifically went to school to eventually become cops.

I went to high school with just a few. Again, anecdata, but their high alcohol tolerance, sense of entitlement, and limited literacy truly set them apart from their peers.
posted by kengraham at 3:17 PM on July 6, 2012


I wonder how many "bad" cops go into the profession that way and how many are just worn down by the system. In the same way that a few years in tech support can burn one out and convince you that every single human is a frackin' moron because you only seem to deal with people who have no clue.

I imagine police work is the same; you are constantly dealing with criminals and even the victims are often unsympathetic (see the comments in the story about gang members). The whole time experience is teaching you that everyone around you has done something wrong. Then add in a healthy dose of reasonable paranoia for your safety. Really it's amazing more cops don't go on shooting sprees.
posted by Mitheral at 3:28 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Archie Bunker outer-space banana-cake" is a brilliant characterisation.

Ha, yeah. Jamahrl Crawford isn't one to mince his words.
posted by rollbiz at 3:32 PM on July 6, 2012


I wonder how many "bad" cops go into the profession that way and how many are just worn down by the system.
...
Really it's amazing more cops don't go on shooting sprees.


So we comfort ourselves.

Check out this question from just last night for some counterexamples:
Guy who sexually assaulted me is trying to become a cop. This makes me terrified and enraged. Help?!
posted by jamjam at 4:02 PM on July 6, 2012


Really it's amazing more cops don't go on shooting sprees.

I would be more sympathetic to this type of argument if police officers didn't have the option to (a) find a new line of work when they become too burnt out to do their job properly, or (b) not become police officers in the first place. This is true to a greater extent than it is true of someone in tech support, because police officers should be held to extremely high ethical standards by virtue of the large amount of power they wield. In particular, a person with the sort of disdain for members of the public they are supposed to serve that is in evidence in the P.C. is not fit to be a police officer. One wonders why they would want to and, upon wondering, concludes that the remaining motivations have to do with outsized social power, or perhaps astronomical sick pay. The standards in that profession, if it is to be a profession, and not some type of civic obligation, should be such that such a person, regardless of their prior employment, is dismissed for being no longer qualified for their job.

As it stands, professional police don't seem to have much stake in the accomplishment of the actual objective of their job: the maintenance of an environment in which citizens can function, within reasonable limits, without too much undue molestation. In fact, the establishment of a relatively peaceful, functional society threatens a professional police force, since it decreases demand for their services and public support for their activities. There seem to be perverse incentives at work, and they probably contribute both to the ongoing evolution of the U.S. into (more or less) a police state, and, on a smaller scale, to the fact that police forces are apparently full of people who are in their business for reasons that have nothing to do with the stated function of the police as part of an orderly, functional society.
posted by kengraham at 4:19 PM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


jamjam, I've had the same AskMe in mind since first reading the present FPP. In view of P.C., I would say the vetting of applicants for police jobs is not nearly as meticulous as some answers to that AskMe would have us believe. (Or, if they are, then the hiring procedures involve the application of criteria that set the Minimum Douchebaggery Quotient bar very high.)
posted by kengraham at 4:23 PM on July 6, 2012


This right here is why watching the watchmen leads us to drinking.
posted by Archelaus at 4:33 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


See also, auto mechanics

Mine are all mild-mannered engineers and scientists who got tired of the rat-race. Usually very sweet and easygoing guys. I avoid dealerships and service chains like the deadly plague, tho, so maybe the indie shops have a different workplace vibe.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:37 PM on July 6, 2012


I think the starting pay now for cops in NYC is something like 25k. And the youngest guys get put in the worst neighborhoods. And risk getting shot at everyday and then have to deal with the Village Voice and whoever else doing "exposes" (french accent needed) on them...and the NY Post and other union dis-likers all over them....it has to be a drag.

I'm not a fan of hate speech, obviously, but I'm sure there's some pretty dark humour in every profession where you have to deal with really horrible things all the time. And I'm not saying this kind of talk is 'funny' (AT ALL) but it has also been outlined above as to how maybe these guys (and women) may not have the best educations, vocabularies and worldviews. But give them some credit, being a police officer is a tough and low paid job with a high risk or injury and/or death.

(Although I wasn't too impressed on the subway the other day when a girl was saying "When I become a cop, and finally graduate, I'm gonna arrest her ass (about some other girl obviously) over all kinds of stupid shit"). But again, let's be honest, how many of us are willing to get shot at for 25k? I'm not.
posted by bquarters at 5:08 PM on July 6, 2012


NYPD says the starting salary is $34,970, "including holiday pay, uniform pay and night differential."
posted by grouse at 5:20 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, 2009 was 25k and I'm not sure how much salaries have gone up since then. (Take home vs 'what's included') I just remember hearing a lot about it at the time...and I'm pretty sure things haven't changed for the better.
posted by bquarters at 5:23 PM on July 6, 2012


Here in Boston police are very well compensated.

Boston Police Among Highest Paid in Nation.
"With high base salaries, opportunities to work lucrative construction details, and one of the nation's most generous overtime programs, Boston's rank-and-file police officers brought home $78,906 on average in 2002, and those who earned higher-education degrees made considerably more....Many detectives now receive salaries in excess of $90,000 a year."
"Average pay for Boston police patrolman, including overtime and other benefits...: $81,725 [in October 2004]"

Police Salaries in Major Cities [March 2004].*
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2012


I meant to say that there are other occupations that have a history of being extremely bigoted, misogynistic, etc.

I think you meant to say any man who wears a blue collar at work.
posted by digsrus at 5:26 PM on July 6, 2012


Cambridge and Somerville especially have some great cops ...

Well, there was that one incident of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates being arrested by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley for breaking into his own home.

Ah, memories of 'The Beer Summit' with President Obama
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


When a cop does something bad it's an isolated incident and we shouldn't make generalizations.

Really it's amazing more cops don't go on shooting sprees.

When a non-cop goes on a murder spree, they have to get it all out at once. A police officer can stay on the force for decades, taking solace in the fact that any frustrations can be taken out on their next shift and the police union will run interference for them as long as their incidents aren't too too egregious.
posted by rhizome at 5:44 PM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know a few cops - a couple of them are smart and pretty stand-up folks. One (iirc) decided to become a cop when he grew up because a cop kicked his ass when he was a borderline juvenile delinquent and he figured "hey, cops get to kick people's asses." He was also a pretty savvy tech geek.

Happily, I don't know personally any of the bottom-of-the-barrel types here. Or at least they haven't revealed their nature to me. I haven't had any bad interactions with the Somerville (MA) cops, either.

But the Pax Centurion is impressive stuff. Let your bigot flag fly, officers!
posted by rmd1023 at 5:49 PM on July 6, 2012


I know two guys, one in CT and one in MA, who went to police academy. Neither are bigots, racists or homophobes. Neither are still cops, though.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:51 PM on July 6, 2012


Ah, memories of 'The Beer Summit' with President Obama

The Pax Centurion is a cynical attempt to defraud Mr. Obama of moar free beer.
posted by kengraham at 5:52 PM on July 6, 2012


It's like facebook or twitter for cops!
posted by srboisvert at 7:12 PM on July 6, 2012


And risk getting shot at everyday

Police work is actually pretty safe. Many other fairly low-paying jobs (e.g. roofers, loggers, truck drivers) are more dangerous, so police don't really have special grounds for complaint in that regard.
posted by jedicus at 7:44 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


And the vast majority of cop deaths are auto accidents, which is no surprise when your job involves driving around all day.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:23 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, someone needs to introduce these cops to the internet. They'd love it here.
posted by Theta States at 8:31 PM on July 6, 2012


It seems that cops have become so used to being the private army for the 1% that they've adopted all their biases. Makes for an odd contrast to see foaming-at-the-mouth neocons standing up for their union.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:19 PM on July 6, 2012


kengraham writes "As it stands, professional police don't seem to have much stake in the accomplishment of the actual objective of their job: the maintenance of an environment in which citizens can function, within reasonable limits, without too much undue molestation. In fact, the establishment of a relatively peaceful, functional society threatens a professional police force, since it decreases demand for their services and public support for their activities."

One of the problems of course is the relation between stats and compensation. Everyone wants crime to go down and the only measurable way to do that for the average cop is with tickets and arrests. Interventions and police presence aren't directly measurable.
posted by Mitheral at 9:25 PM on July 6, 2012


I spent one summer working as a janitor/landscape tender in my parent's home town in the suburbs of Boston. I cleaned the police station as part of that job. The cops were pretty nice to me and because my parent's had lived in the town for over 15 years no one even thought about our politics.

There were freely available stickers calling for a boycott of the Boston Globe. I can't remember the exact text, but it was something about it being a liberal rag. (The paper of choice was the Boston Herald, which gives the Washington Times a run on worthlessness.) One of the lockers in the locker room had a Confederate flag sticker on the locker. Admittedly, a good number of the people in my parent's town left Dorchester and other parts of Boston when black people moved in in the 70s, so the casual racism wasn't too surprising.

But cops in the Boston area being small minded bigots? Hell, everyone knows that. It's just nice to have proof.
posted by Hactar at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2012


Editorial in today's Boston Globe (behind paywall):
Police Union Newsletter Expresses Contempt For The Public

THE NEWSLETTER of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, not surprisingly, contains a lot of material tailored to the specific concerns of its members — messages from the union’s leaders, updates on the status of contract negotiations, complaints about policies that the union opposes. And if some items in the newsletter, called Pax Centurion, have caustic words for political figures like President Obama or Governor Patrick, that’s just free speech in action.

But some items in the May/June edition of Pax Centurion go much further, expressing contempt for what adds up to a wide swath of Bostonians: college professors; “turban tops”; residents of Jamaica Plain, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill; even younger officers. In response to criticism in a previous issue, an Occupy Boston supporter named Bil Lewis writes a letter requesting a meeting with the Pax Centurion editor, Officer Jim Carnell. In response, Carnell mocks the way the letter writer spells his name and insinuates that Lewis is in cahoots with illegal immigrants and perpetrators of welfare fraud. He goes on to say, “Most police officers have to remain quiet because of our positions, but I have the luxury of speaking on behalf of what 99 percent of police officers really think about you and your occupiers.”

Boston police officers must be judged by their performance — which, in the case of the Occupy protests last year, was highly professional. Moreover, a newsletter published for police officers is bound to have a grittier tone than a publication for, say, corporate HR managers, and members of the patrolmen’s association should have forums where they can express themselves freely. But some of the content is gratuitously offensive, as a statewide minority law enforcement group has pointed out, and advertisers who merely wanted to support police officers were wise to end their relationship with Pax Centurion.

Now it’s time for union members who disagree with the scowling attitude captured in their newsletter to be heard. Otherwise, when one or two officers express contempt for much of the public while claiming to speak for all their colleagues, people are bound to take them at their word.



posted by ericb at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2012


Hit 'em where it hurts-- let construction workers hold the Stop sign on road construction projects, instead of paying police $60+ an hour to work overtime to do it! This has not led to widespread tragedy in any of the other 49 states....
posted by lily_bart at 1:51 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Philly, the officers had Domelights, a publicly-viewable message forum. It shut down after being a federal lawsuit was brought against it by black Philly cops. This CNN article prints some of the more polite examples of the discourse.
posted by desuetude at 10:22 PM on July 7, 2012


Oh my god. I'm so embarrassed I didn't know about this. I've been in Boston for 8 years. It's humiliating to have this kind of vicious hatred in my city. I can't believe it went on for SO LONG.

Bostonians of MeFi, now is the time to go out of your way to be kind to everybody you meet. We can't let this poison us.
posted by Cygnet at 5:07 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


ACLU releases Android app that secretly videos police -- "Police Tape prevents officers from deleting video shot during police stops."
posted by ericb at 1:57 PM on July 9, 2012


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