Boston Police Commissioner Defends Meeting with AG Barr

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.

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Pressley Calls for Ending Qualified Immunity for Police Officers, State and Local Officials

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.

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Elected Officials of Color Present 10-Point Plan to Combat Systemic Racism in Policing & Police Brutality

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)

 

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Pressley, Elugardo, Goldstein Talking About COVID-19 Path to Recovery on May 20

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, state Rep. Nika Elugardo, and Congressional candidate Robbie Goldstein, will talk about the state and federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday. The event is being hosted by JP Progressives, and the Mass Public Health Association, with the following special guests:

Nancy Kreiger from the Harvard School of Public Health will share findings from her research on the disparate impact of the virus

Monique Ching from the Mass Budget and Policy Center will speak about the state budget crisis
Milt Kotelchuck from Mass General Hospital will provide relevant historical context

Goldstein, who is a Democratic challenger to Congressman Stephen Lynch, 8th-MA

"Massachusetts has more than 86,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths, but who are the individuals and communities that have been most impacted? What is the current and future outlook for our community and economic health? What are policymakers at the state and federal levels doing, and not doing, to respond to the crisis?" said a JP Progressives email newsletter.

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CDC Director Tells Ayanna Pressley Costs of COVID-19 Testing & Treatment Will Be Covered

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley was able to get the Center for Disease Control Director to agree to cover the cost of Coronavirus treatment for the uninsured. At a hearing on Thursday, Pressley (D-MA 7th) pressed CDC Director Robert Redfield to commit to covering the cost of treatment for the uninsured. And while Pressley was able to get Redfield's commitment, Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA 45th) got Redfield to say that the government would pay for anyone's Coronavirus testing, regardless of being insured or not. “This is a public health crisis and we must confront it with every tool at our disposal. Coronavirus testing and treatment must be affordable and available to everyone to prevent the further spread of the pandemic," said Pressley after speaking at the hearing.

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