Massachusetts police chiefs are slamming U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for ignoring their longstanding concerns over her anti-cop rhetoric — even as she sought their support for her new gun control legislation.
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association fired off another letter to the Democratic presidential hopeful this week, blasting Warren’s “negativity toward our profession” and her “insulting” refusal to take “even five to ten minutes for a phone call to discuss her inflammatory statements.”
Hampden Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth, the association’s president, said simmering tensions boiled over this week after members of his group were asked to support Warren’s new legislation.
“She does not have even five minutes to talk to us over the phone, yet has the audacity to ask us to stand with her and blindly support her legislative initiative,” says the letter, signed by Farnsworth and the association’s two past presidents. “To say the least, she has found a new way to insult us.”
Warren drew the ire of Bay State police chiefs when she called the criminal justice system “racist … I mean front to back,” in an August 2018 speech at Dillard University, a historically black college in New Orleans.
She doubled down in August 2019, tweeting that black teenager Michael Brown was “murdered by a white police officer,” in Ferguson, Mo. The Obama Justice Department found “no credible evidence” that Officer Darren Wilson “willfully shot Brown” and a grand jury declined to indict him.
“To continually make those kinds of statements is just baseless and it really breaks down the bridges that we try to build in our communities, and really it’s just regressive to the progress we’ve made in Massachusetts,” Farnsworth said.
Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon, who serves on the police chiefs association’s executive board, said Warren’s rhetoric is “disheartening” and “affects the public perception” of police officers.
On Thursday, Warren unveiled her Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act, which includes creating a federal gun licensing system, instituting universal background checks and raising the minimum age for gun and ammunition purchases to 21.
The legislation was co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, who Farnsworth said reached out to the police chiefs this week to “check in.”
Farnsworth said his association has been in contact with Warren’s staff, but not the senator herself. Warren’s Senate and campaign staffs did not respond to a Herald request for comment.
The chiefs’ renewed criticism comes at a critical juncture for Warren’s presidential campaign, as the Massachusetts senator trails her key rivals in polling and fundraising just days before the Iowa caucuses.
“Regardless of what other aspirations she has, she’s still our senator,” Farnsworth said. “We understand she’s pretty busy right now. But we’re not talking about something that’s just been transpiring for the past week, month or year.”
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