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ACLU launches interactive map tracking incidents of alleged police misconduct in Massachusetts

“Police violence and misconduct happen here, in every corner of the state.”

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The ACLU of Massachusetts launched an interactive map on Wednesday that tracks incidents of alleged misconduct or violence by police in the state, with the nonprofit calling on lawmakers to take urgent action on law enforcement reforms and prevent “future harms.”

The map was released as part of the nonprofit’s week of action titled “Police Violence Happens Here,” which seeks to raise awareness about incidents of police violence in Massachusetts and call for legislators to take action on reforms.

According to the ACLU, at the time of its launch, the map contained at least 115 reported cases of alleged police brutality in 34 cities and towns across Massachusetts over the last 10 years. The map was released as supporters of police reform stood in cities and towns where alleged incidents occurred, including Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, and Framingham, displaying signs to call attention to the cases. 

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In response to nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, the Massachusetts House and Senate each passed police reform proposals. A conference committee has been working on a final compromise bill since August, to the frustration of advocates and elected officials alike

“Contrary to the claims by police unions and other opponents of meaningful reform, Massachusetts is not immune to harmful or racially disparate policing,” Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in a statement. “Police violence and misconduct happen here, in every corner of the state. From Boston to Springfield to Pittsfield, people experience policing differently depending on who they are and to what community they belong.

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“Bay Staters deserve equal justice and demand meaningful police reform,” Rose wrote. “Massachusetts lawmakers must act now to address past violence and prevent future harms.”

The map was developed by the organization’s Data for Justice Project to serve as a resource for the public, activists, and press, drawing on media reports to mark the alleged incidents, according to the ACLU.

“Many incidents of police misconduct are never reported; what appears on this map likely just scratches the surface of the problem,” the ACLU of Massachusetts said in a statement.

The public is able to offer comments and suggestions for adding incidents to the map, according to the nonprofit.

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