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MAYOR SULLIVAN ON TONIGHT’S EVENT:

Mayor Robert Sullivan
Jul 30 · 4 min read

Tonight the DARRC Coalition is hosting an event outside City Hall to talk about policing here in Brockton. I was invited to this event, and on Tuesday, July 28th, I emailed the people who invited me, Angel Cosme, Will Dickerson, and Natalia Guerrero, and wrote in part:

“Upon review and after discussions with the Superintendent of Schools, Police Chief, and City Council President, I believe that these questions deserve adequate time and full discussions, and therefore I cannot participate in this event. While I understand the desire that some people may have for simple solutions, the proposed format reduces the complex public policy issues we are facing in reforming policing and ending racial injustice to an insufficient format of yes/no answers.”

I am sharing this information because it appears the organizers of tonight’s event have not shared with the public that none of the folks they invited are going to be at tonight’s event.

While neither I nor the Superintendent of Schools, Police Chief, or the City Council President will be attending tonight’s event, the City is committed to an open dialogue and public discussion, and that is why I took the “Mayors Pledge” from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and the Obama Foundation. To fulfill that pledge, I am in the process of forming the Community Justice Task Force, which already includes Attorney Michael Curry, Judge Mike Williams, and Ms. Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP. This panel will meet regularly with me and the community to freely and fully discuss all of the relevant questions and to make recommendations to me on the best ways to address police misconduct, systemic injustice, racism, and inequities in our City. The Task Force will only work if the whole community is involved in the process, and I urge the DARCC Coalition to participate.

Towards that end, yesterday I had a phone call with Will Dickerson, the Executive Director of Brockton Interfaith Community and one of DARRC Coalition’s organizers, and plan to have a fuller conversation next week. I also am ensuring that his event tonight would have access to the podium and sound system that the City uses for events at City Hall.

In addition to the Community Justice Task Force, the Brockton Police Department has already released information about their use of force policies prior to the murder of George Floyd, which were already in compliance with all “8 Can’t Wait” policies.

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A graphic showing the ‘8 Can’t Wait’ use of force policies that can reduce killings by police and save lives.

You can hear Chief Gomes talking about BPD’s use of force policies here. In addition, Brockton has one of the most diverse police departments in Massachusetts, with people of color making up 37% of officers.

Here is the full email that I sent to DARRC Coalition on Tuesday:

Dear Angel-

Thank you for your email, and for putting together the list of questions. Upon review and after discussions with the Superintendent of Schools, Police Chief, and City Council President, I believe that these questions deserve adequate time and full discussions, and therefore I cannot participate in this event. While I understand the desire that some people may have for simple solutions, the proposed format reduces the complex public policy issues we are facing in reforming policing and ending racial injustice to an insufficient format of yes/no answers.

Since the murder of Mr. George Floyd, my administration and I have been meeting regularly with community leaders, activists, and clergy in the Black community, as well as other communities of color, to discuss policing in Brockton.

These discussion led me to proudly taking the “Mayors Pledge” from the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and the Obama Foundation. To fulfill this pledge, I am forming the Community Justice Task Force, which includes Attorney Michael Curry, Judge Mike Williams, and Ms. Phyllis Ellis, President of the Brockton Area Branch of the NAACP. This panel will meet regularly with me and the community to freely and fully discuss all of the relevant questions and to make recommendations to me on the best ways to address police misconduct, systemic injustice, racism. and inequities in our City. I urge you to bring these questions before this Task Force, where they can be answered as part of a thoughtful conversation.

Inequalities go beyond policing, however, so during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic my office worked with community members to develop the “Health Equity Task Force” that meets weekly. They have made great progress in keeping citizens informed of COVID information in multiple languages and in meeting people where they are at, whether in their homes or on BAT buses. In addition, the City is currently in the process of hiring a public health nurse to focus on equity data.

Everyone in Brockton deserves to feel safe, and achieving that is the goal of all these actions. I am proud of the progress we are making as we all focus on how to improve the quality of life for all who live and work in the City of Champions. We can truly be an example for the Commonwealth and the country as we work together in a collective and collaborative manner.

Very truly yours,

Bob

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