Politics

Boston police union was unaware of endorsed City Council candidate’s anti-Asian posts, group says

“We were completely unaware of these postings and we do not condone these racist statements."

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Boston City Hall. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association says it was unaware of anti-Asian social media posts made by a City Council candidate after the prominent union endorsed him in last month’s preliminary election.

BPPA President Larry Calderone denounced the posts made by candidate Donnie Palmer, a special needs educator and professional boxer from Dorchester who lost his bid in the Sept. 14 race, in a statement to The Dorchester Reporter, which recently found that Palmer received thousands of dollars from the MassGOP.

According to the newspaper, Palmer, in one Twitter post on Aug. 29, wrote: “ARE WE ABOUT TO ELECT A CHINESE CITIZEN TO CONTROL THE CITY OF BOSTON?” Accompanying the words was a picture of City Councilor At-Large and mayoral hopeful Michelle Wu, the Chicago-born daughter of Taiwanese immigrants.

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Palmer also set the photo alongside one of Chinese head of state Xi Jinping, the outlet reported.

“The Arabs and Chinese want to do to Africa what the Europeans did to America. Wipe out the indigenous people and set up a super colony,” another person wrote on Twitter last month. Palmer responded, “Correct!”

Earlier this month, Palmer posted a picture of Wu and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who also grew up in Chicago. With it, he wrote: “Do you think that Chicago would allow a bunch of gangsters from Boston to come in and take over their city??? NO WAY…and neither should we.”

Palmer also responded directly to Wu when her campaign shared her TV ad on the social media site in August, calling COVID-19 a “Chinese” virus and asking, “Does China run Boston?,” according to the Reporter.

In a separate post, Palmer asserted that Australia is “controlled” by China. He wrote, “WE ARE NEXT.”

The BPPA backed Palmer, along with four other candidates in the 17-candidate field, in August and donated $500 to his campaign in September, the newspaper reports.

“We were completely unaware of these postings and we do not condone these racist statements,” Calderone said in a statement to the Reporter.

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Calderone noted posts highlighted by the Reporter were written after the BPPA endorsed Palmer on Aug. 18.

“Further, at that time, we were unaware of these or any other postings that reflected racist attitudes by Mr. Palmer,” Calderone added. “The BPPA abhors all forms of racism and Mr. Palmer’s statements do not reflect our values.”

Recent campaign finance filings showed the Republican State Committee spent $3,697 on Facebook ads for Palmer in August, according to the newspaper.

Responding to Palmer’s remarks, Wu told the Reporter, there is a “responsibility to stand together against the scourge of Anti-Asian racism and hatred of all kinds.”

“Funding campaigns built on discrimination only perpetuates the alienation so many have from our political process,” Wu told the outlet in a statement. “I’m committed to joining our communities to stand up against racism, and see and value every person.”

Palmer, in addition to making anti-Asian posts, has also posted false claims the 2020 U.S. election was stolen and asserted that the government is “forcing us to take a vaccine that’s killing healthy people all over the country.”

“Earlier in the race I felt that the GOP were not interested in supporting me,” Palmer wrote in a July 10 post. “That has all changed. Jim Lyons, the Mass. GOP chairman, is giving me massive support.”

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Neither Palmer nor the Republican State Committee responded to requests for comment from the newspaper.

Palmer, since finishing 14th in last month’s preliminary election, has indicated he plans to challenge Pressley next year, according to the Reporter.

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