Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-7th) and Michigan Congressman Justin Amash recently introduced legislation to eliminate qualified immunity, which would allow people to sue police officers who violate their rights. “Qualified immunity shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country,” said Pressley. “There can be no justice without healing and accountability, and there can be no true accountability with qualified immunity. It’s past time to end qualified immunity, and that’s exactly what this bill does.”
Lawfareblog.com breaks qualified immunity down:
"Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate 'clearly established' law." Qualified immunity dates back to 1871 and was originally passed to help the government combat Ku Klux Klan violence down South after the Civil War. There have been numerous Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals cases through the decades on the topic.
Saying that Boston needs to be a leader in battling racism, Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis. He also announced that 20% or $12 million of the Boston Police Department's overtime budget will be reallocated as investments in equity and inclusion in the city. "In Boston, we embrace the opportunity this moment and this movement offers us," said Walsh on Friday. "We stand with our Black community and communities of color to lead the change toward a more just and equitable society. With these actions, we will increase equity in public safety and public health, and launch a conversation that can produce lasting, systemic change to eliminate all the ways that racism and inequality harm our residents."
Sorry Jamaica Plain dog lovers -- you're going to have wait longer for an off-leash dog park. Back in 2018, DCR announced that a location by Oakdale Street, which is already used as a renegade dog park, would be the site of a large off-leash dog park. Since then no shovels have hit the ground, merely just renegade paws. That leads us to February 5, 2020, when Jim Montgomery was named the new commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Montgomery decided to pause numerous proposed projects, including the Jamaica Plain dog park within the Southwest Corridor Park.
Does it seem like as soon as we jumped into warmer weather a lot more fireworks are being shot off than previous years? Knowing the great disturbances fireworks can cause to our emotional, social, and physical states, At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia will be leading an online discussion on Thursday to talk about solutions to address fireworks in Boston. "We want to take a solutions-orientated approach and hear about your ideas in solving this problem," tweeted Mejia. She encouraged people to tweet, comment, direct message her on social media, or email at email@example.com.
Mejia will be hosting a Fireworks Trauma conversation on her Facebook page at: facebook/JuliaforBoston on June 11 at 6 pm. The discussion will be co-hosted by Youth Liaisons Naseoj Ware, Alondra Bobadilla, and Dr. Gayl Crumpy-Swaby.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, and state Rep. Nika Elugardo were among elected officials of color to speak at a press conference on Tuesday outside of the State House, and released a 10-point plan to combat systemic racism. Pressley joined the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and other elected officials of color from across the state to "speak directly to the pain and injustice facing our communities and to advocate for police accountability and reform." You can view the entire press conference here. Elugardo said that she worked closely with African American Coalition Committee (AACC), a group of "inside the wall" advocates incarcerated at MCI Norfolk who, before Elugardo was elected, helped draft the original bill to establish the Commission on Structural Racism referenced in priority #7. (Graphics from Boston At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia)