Boston Police Commissioner Defends Meeting with AG Barr

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U.S. Attorney General William Barr was in Boston on Thursday and met with Boston Police Commissioner William Gross. That meeting sparked criticism from many elected officials, and led to Gross defending why he met with the controversial head of the Department of Justice.

The U.S. Department of Justice tweeted out a photo of Barr and Gross shoulder-to-shoulder, and not wearing masks together in Boston. Supposedly it was the first time a sitting U.S. Attorney General had visited the Boston Police Department.

As chief legal counsel to the president, Barr has most recently been widely condemned for ordering peaceful protestors to be teargassed in Washington D.C. to clear the way for President Trump to walk where the protestors were occupying so he could do a photo op.

The Boston Police Department released a statement from Gross on Thursday afternoon, explaining why he met with Gross:

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.

Massachusetts elected officials were quick to criticize the meeting.

U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA 8th) said she'd like to be part of the next meeting between Gross and Barr, and that she'd be bringing her own counsel -- Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Healey offered her opinion of Barr.

At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu was not happy with the meeting.

And neither was District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell.