Four months after he was sworn in as Boston's first black police commissioner, William Gross blasted the American Civil Liberties Union over its lawsuit, saying the city's cops racially profile people of color in their efforts to fight gangs.
The ACLU suit accuses the police department of using a gang-monitoring system that targets and investigates a disproportionate number of black and brown people who may not even belong to a gang, WFXT-TV reported.
The commish fires back
With that, Gross fired back at the ACLU on Facebook and called the civil rights organization "paper warriors," the station said.
"How would they know," the commissioner noted in his post, "they are never in the streets but always hiding and waiting for a slow news day to justify their existence."
Gross also pointed out the police department's work to stem the tide of gang violence.
"I sure as hell didn't see the ACLU in El Salvador working to find a solution to our youth being inducted into the MS-13 Gang and The 18th Street Gang," he continued, in reference to a trip he took to the Central American country. "Didn't see the ACLU there or at any of our 22 programs and initiatives for our citizens and youth. Despite the paper warriors, we'll continue to do our jobs."
'No ACLU when officers are shot'
The commissioner's post also criticized the ACLU for apparently not caring when an officer is "shot and killed by criminal" while vigorously standing up for those accused of such violence.
Gross specifically noted how he saw things after Boston Police Officer John Moynihan was shot point-blank in the face by a convicted felon during a traffic stop in 2015, WFXT reported.
"I sure as hell saw a member of the ACLU in the background taking pictures as a certain group tried to crash through the crime scene three hours later as they advocated for the criminal that shot the officer," he said in his post.
“No ACLU when officers are shot, no ACLU when we help citizens, no ACLU present when we have to explain to a mother that her son or daughter was horribly murdered by gang violence," Gross also noted, according to the station, adding that the organization won't "take a risk or even walk the streets to interact with our communities."
A Boston police spokesperson declined to comment on Gross' post, WFXT said.
How did the ACLU respond?
“Commissioner Gross’ accusations appear to be nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the serious issues raised by an ACLU lawsuit that seeks to uncover whether the Boston Police Department is unfairly and arbitrarily targeting people of color through its gang database and sharing that information with federal immigration officials," the ACLU of Massachusetts responded in a statement, the station reported.
What did an attorney and victim advocate have to say?
"It’s not that I don’t think the ACLU should care about police being racist; of course they should," Wendy Murphy, an attorney and victim advocate, told WFXT. "The question is, is this the right way to go about solving that potential problem, and the answer is obviously not."
Murphy added to the station — presumably in reference to the ACLU lawsuit — that it might seem like a "noble thing for the ACLU to do," but that it might have the opposite effect of "protecting the gangs" and undermining "the ability of police to stop the violence."
(H/T: Blue Lives Matter)