Police unions from across the state — led by Somerville’s — are expected to demonstrate outside Somerville City Hall tomorrow to protest Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone’s refusal to remove a Black Lives Matter banner from the building’s facade.

“The rally will be peaceful and respectful, but will demonstrate the solidarity of police organizations in Massachusetts to the exclusionary message that the banner sends,” said Michael McGrath, president of the Somerville Police Employee’s Association. “In the face of the continuing assassination of police officers across the country as an apparent offshoot of the BLM movement, it is irresponsible for the city to declare support for the lives of one sector, to the exclusion of others, including police officers.”

Mayor Joe Curtatone

Mayor Joe Curtatone

Curtatone’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment last night. A week ago, Curtatone rejected police officers’ attempts to replace the banner with “All Lives Matter,” saying his support of police does not preempt his “commitment to fighting systemic racism.”

In addition to the Somerville union, officers from the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition are also expected to demonstrate. That organization represents police unions from Arlington, Belmont, Burlington, Cambridge, Framingham, Hanover, Lawrence, Lexington, Medford, Malden, Newton, Quincy, and Watertown. McGrath is vice president of that organization.

McGrath added: “While we support the core goal of the BLM movement — equal treatment under the law — we find the banner’s message disrespectful of police officers and potentially encouraging to individuals who pervert that message through the indiscriminate murder of our counterparts from around the country.”


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