United States Attorney Andrew Lelling announces the creation of a statewide Civil Rights Task Force, which will coordinate with, and support, local and state law enforcement in preventing, investigating and prosecuting civil rights violations in Massachusetts. The Task Force will enhance collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement to better identify and deter threats, work to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and community members, and provide training and support to local police departments confronting civil rights issues.
“The current intensity of public concern with issues of racial equity, persecution of minorities, and relations between minority communities and law enforcement, demands a coordinated law enforcement response,” said U.S. Attorney Lelling. “In short, we need to do something and, in the interest of bolstering the public’s trust, the public needs to see that we take these issues seriously and will be accountable for our success or failure. I want to thank the state and local officials joining me today to launch this effort.”
Today, U.S. Attorney Lelling hosted the Task Force’s initial leadership meeting. The leadership team is charged with choosing representatives for the Task Force’s primary working group and will set priorities for the group. The leadership members in attendance at today’s meeting included: Terrence Reidy, Undersecretary for Law Enforcement, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; William Gross, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department; Jeff W. Farnsworth, the Chief of Police for the Hampden Police Department and the President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; and Gina Kwon, Chief of the Criminal Bureau, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Attorney Lelling and the leadership team outlined the importance of a statewide collective focused on providing support and resources to local and state law enforcement on civil rights issues. They also provided details surrounding the structure of the new Civil Rights Task Force, and the selection process for appointing members. The general Task Force membership is expected to meet and begin providing resources to local police departments, community organizations and police chiefs in January 2021.