The Boston Police commissioner was having absolutely none of it. "No ACLU present when we have to explain to a mother that her son or daughter was horribly murdered by gang violence. No ACLU when officers are shot. No ACLU when we help citizens," Commissioner William Gross said in a private Facebook post viewed by the Boston Herald.
The ACLU claims that Boston police are too secretive about how they monitor suspected gang members. A local chapter for the rights group further alleges that the database system automatically targets, labels and investigates a disproportionately high share of black- and brown-skinned students who are not always part of a gang.
"Despite the paper warriors, we'll continue to do our jobs," Gross said. Gross, whose department recently convicted 49 members of the MS-13 gang, said he "didn't see" the ACLU doing much to subdue gang's "atrocities."
The ACLU is "always hiding and waiting for a slow news day to justify their existence," Gross was quoted as saying by the Boston Herald on Facebook. A spokesman for the department said the commissioner "shared his opinion" on her personal Facebook page, and then declined to comment further on the matter.
Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary spoke with Monica Cannon-Gant, a community activist from the Boston area who has seen her community be impacted by prejudiced cops. Instead of a battle between "paper warriors" and the Boston police, Cannon-Gant explained to Sputnik that the ACLU is actually following up on a lead from a while ago in which the mayor was working to deport residents and lying about it.
"Part of the reason why it's important is because earlier this year Mayor [Marty] Walsh fired the superintendent here. There was speculation because it was stated that the superintendent was cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security when it came to young people who were in school who were immigrants" the activist, based in Roxbury, Massachusetts, told Sputnik.
"They were handing that information over after they've been deemed ‘gang-involved,' and they were being pulled out of school and deported. We later found out it really wasn't the superintendent" who was working with the feds, she said.
"It was the Boston Police Department, which is overseen by the mayor. A lot of people were flabbergasted — not so much myself — but this was a mayor that stood publicly and said that Boston is a sanctuary city, and that if you didn't have anywhere to go, you could go sleep at City Hall."
"But at the back end, he was handing over information to ICE, the Department of Homeland Security. This lawsuit is to get this information," she said.
"This pinpoint system is heavily racially discriminatory when it comes to the criteria of being labelled ‘gang-involved,' in order to qualify you to be deported, be racially profiled, or just to be labelled as a gang member," said the organizer.
"The biggest issue for me is they've been doing it to the black kids in our community forever; now they've taken it a step further and they are doing it to immigrant children and they're being deported because of it," Cannon-Gant said.