U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who boosted a protester bail fund over the weekend, called for an “independent investigation” into what happened between Boston Police and protesters at the Straight Pride Parade — which devolved into chaos and led to dozens of arrests.
Pressley, speaking in Roxbury Tuesday, also pushed for more police body cameras to show what happens in future incidents.
“A lot of the reason we don’t have a picture of what transpired is because there’s no documenting,” Pressley said, saying she believes body cameras would show if police used de-escalation techniques, and if people were provoked.
“The footage I have seen only leaves me with more questions,” Pressley said.
When asked about the judges not dismissing the charges for the protesters Tuesday, Pressley responded that the judges’ decisions appeared to be an “overreach.”
“It’s not germane to what I do, but according to what is under the jurisdiction of our Suffolk County DA, it seems to be an overreach,” she said.
The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Union blasted Pressley for supporting the protester bail fund. The congresswoman said she will speak to the union directly about that.
Of that fund, Pressley cited that excess funds would be directed to support LGBTQ advocacy organizations such as Boston GLASS, which is a “worthy cause,” she said.
Pressley added that she supports peaceful protests and does not condone violence in any form.
Other elected officials punted when asked about the two judges refusing the DA’s request to dismiss charges for the protesters.
Mayor Martin Walsh and his potential political opponent Councilor Michelle Wu did not respond to requests for comment. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a presidential hopeful, and Senate primary rivals U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III also declined to weigh in.
Walsh had previously voiced concern about allegations of “police misconduct,” and denounced the Straight Pride marchers. He has refrained from making a strong statement of support for Boston police.
The 36 people arrested at the controversial parade on Saturday began appearing in court Tuesday. Nine are accused of assaulting police, injuring four officers. Those defendants and others were variously charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
A spokesman for Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement: “The administration does not condone violence of any kind and was pleased to propose and sign legislation strengthening penalties for assault and battery on a police officer.” Baker signed criminal justice legislation last year that included a one-year mandatory minimum for assault and battery on a police officer for serious bodily injury. Those injuries include “permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ or substantial risk of death.”
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