Boston Police Commissioner William Gross released a statement after U.S. Attorney General William Barr visited his department and met with him Thursday.
Just prior to Gross’s statement, city Councilor Michelle Wu had strongly criticized the meeting, saying on Twitter, “This is a disgrace to our city & a breach of trust to our communities.”
👀Racism Is A Public Health Crisis…aka don’t welcome the person who dismisses systemic racism & creates/enforces racist policies through abuses of power!!! This is a disgrace to our city & a breach of trust to our communities. https://t.co/tfhxVajm8Y
— Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@wutrain) June 18, 2020
“Defund whatever the hell this is,” Councilor Andrea Campbell also said on Twitter.
Read Gross’s statement, in full, below:
“As Police Commissioner, I often have to put my personal feelings aside. The top law enforcement official in the country requested a meeting with the Boston Police Department and I would rather take the opportunity to educate someone on what we are doing in Boston on how we value and work with the community, and how we support our officers in this work, than close a door. A meeting does not mean I agree with his policies in any way, but I hope he walked away knowing a little more about ours.”
Update: Later Thursday evening, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh weighed in on Twitter:
Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration do not share Boston’s values or my values. His actions and general lack of respect for people and their rights are a danger to our city and the future of our country.
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) June 18, 2020
Update: Gross also held a press conference expanding on his statement:
BPD Commissioner William Gross is making a statement about today’s surprise visit from AG William Barr https://bit.ly/2BhjJaW
Posted by WCVB Channel 5 Boston on Thursday, June 18, 2020
Update: City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo and Julia Mejia, state Attorney General Maura Healey, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley also commented on the meeting:
Yeah, that’s gonna be a no from me. https://t.co/LOs56H2xwO
— Ricardo Arroyo (@RicardoNArroyo) June 18, 2020
Growing up, I lived in fear with my undocumented mother. Barr’s presence in Boston is alarming & traumatizing but we can’t allow it to hinder or intimidate us. Now as the chair of the Civil Rights Committee, I can use my voice to ensure that #AllMeansAll feel safe in Boston. https://t.co/rDsQ7H37ux
— Julia Mejia (@juliaforboston) June 19, 2020
We are in court against Bill Barr constantly, and I can tell you this man does not care about justice or the people of Boston. https://t.co/tlHzncpoKT
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) June 19, 2020
So AG Barr let’s skip the pleasantries. Next time you set foot in my district I demand a face to face meeting where you look me in the eye and explain why you tear gassed peaceful protestors. Understood?
I will have counsel present @MassAGO
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) June 19, 2020