At the beginning of Tuesday night’s meeting of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, the group’s president, Larry Ellison, had all the police officers in the room stand up.
More than two dozen men and women rose from their seats.
“Those who feel like this department equally represents you, please stay standing,” Ellison said, referring to the Boston Police Department.
No one did, except for those who didn’t have seats in the standing-room-only meeting.
“We have an opportunity here, folks. It’s an election year,” Ellison told the crowd. “You have to look at these mayoral candidates. Why would you consider someone who wants to continue this oppression?”
And by that he meant keeping Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis as head of the department.
The group gathered to tell members of the community that it had taken a vote of no confidence in Davis and his second-in-command, Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey, accusing them of continued and pervasive discrimination within the department. (Here’s my colleague Travis Andersen’s story about that.)
City Councilor Tito Jackson was there, too. So was a representative from state Representative Nick Collins’s office, along with several prominent members of the ministerial alliance and community activists.
Members of the association, known by the acronym MAMLEO, said the police department’s numbers don’t bare out administration claims of diversity and inclusion in a city where more than half of the population identifies as people of color.
If officers of color don’t feel welcomed within the Boston Police Department, how are communities of color supposed to feel comfortable with the police, Ellison asked.
MAMLEO will bring up the issue of diversity within the police department again today at its Columbia Road headquarters. Expected to be standing with them is City Councilor—and mayoral candidate—Michael P. Ross.Akilah Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.