Boston DA taking Straight Pride protest cases to state supreme court seeking to thwart judge’s ruling
District Attorney Rachael Rollins is taking anti-Straight Pride Parade protester cases to the Supreme Judicial Court, seeking dismissals that a Boston Municipal Court judge refused to order.
Judge Richard Sinnott on Tuesday denied requests from Rollins’ prosecutors to dismiss charges. Wednesday he held a defense attorney in contempt of court for arguing case law in support of Rollins’ position. She was handcuffed and sat in a cell for hours before being let go.
Rollins, in response, filed a 16-page emergency petition to the SJC to step in and resolve the impasse.
“The actions of Judge Richard Sinnott are unprecedented and outrageous,” Rollins said in a statement announcing the SJC filing. “His insistence on arraigning individuals when my office has used its discretion to decline a case is an unconstitutional abuse of his power and serves neither the interests of justice nor public safety.”
She added that Sinnott “overstepped his authority here, and only an action of our state’s highest court can correct this injustice. My petition is a call for order to be returned to our courts, to ensure the fair administration of justice, and to restore the public’s trust in the integrity of our legal system. The people of Suffolk County elected me to do exactly what I am doing.”
Sinnott declined to comment Wednesday, citing that the cases are pending.
The DA’s petition accuses Sinnott of ignoring “the clear and unambiguous constraints placed on the judiciary by the separation of powers.”
The DA’s petition is based on one defendant, Roderick Webber, 45, of Holbrook, charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest at Saturday’s Straight Pride Parade. He was one of the 36 counterprotesters arrested that day.
Police said Webber used a megaphone to incite the crowd. He later told the Herald he was a “documentarian” shooting video of the event “to show the truth.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Martin Walsh on Wednesday said he’s backing the judges, revealing a split with Rollins.
“I think the judge, the courts should take those cases on,” Walsh said. “They should go through the court system.”
Also Wednesday, City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu took to Twitter, saying she watched videos of police interactions with protesters Saturday and felt police acted professionally.
“Our law enforcement officers face an incredibly difficult job everyday,” Wu tweeted. “The vast majority of officers in the videos showed restraint, from what I could tell. The City should look into the usage of pepper spray — the short videos don’t show provocation & also don’t give all context.”
The councilor was slammed on social media for her tweet, with one user writing, “Resign from office immediately.”
Greater Boston Antifa is promoting another Saturday rally, “Shame on Marty Walsh: a response to police violence.”
“It is time to hold Mayor Walsh and the B.P.D. (Boston Police) accountable for their actions,” a group that calls itself the “Boston Anti-Nazi Network” wrote on Facebook.
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