Oct 24 2013

October 22 anti-police brutality rally at Lynn City Hall

Dr. Q

For years now, October 22 has been set as the “National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation,” a day when people gather around to country to hold grassroots rallies to protest police violence in their communities. I attended one such rally in Lynn, Massachusetts where family members of Denis Reynoso and their supporters gathered outside the Lynn City Hall.

Reynoso was an Iraq war veteran who was shot to death in his own home by Lynn police officers who entered without a warrant. Police have claimed that they shot Reynoso in self-defense after he tried to grab a police officer’s weapon.

The investigation into the shooting is being handled by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, but the family has called for an independent investigation.

At the October 22 rally, people gathered outside city hall. After a while, an open mic (and later, a bullhorn) was set up. A number of people talked about Denis Reynoso while others recounted their own personal experiences. I recorded most of the speeches, but I made an amateurish mistake and ended up losing my video. A number of other people were recording the speeches, so I’ll post links to their videos if they are shared online.

There was also a rally for Reynoso on October 5 which I reported on. At that rally, protesters first gathered at the Lynn Commons then marched to the police station. Reynoso’s wife Jessica Spinney entered the police station and handed in a petition asking for an independent investigation and changes to the Lynn Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

The Daily Item reports that Lynn Police Chief Kevin Coppinger has said that “If anyone else wants to come in and look at this [the shooting] — a legitimate entity or agency — you will have our full cooperation. We have nothing to hide.” However, James Lamanna, the attorney for the city, has refused to share records about the shooting with the family’s attorney, Howard Friedman. Lamanna told the Item that the DA advised him not to disclose the records yet.

You can sign an online petition calling on Lynn Mayor Judith Kennedy and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to provide an independent investigation of the Denis Reynoso shooting here.

Below, you can see some photos I took at the rally.

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You can see a few additional photographs here.


Oct 7 2013

Rally for Denis Reynoso — Iraq war vet killed by the Lynn police

Dr. Q

On September 5 of this year, police entered the home of Iraq war veteran Denis Reynoso in Lynn, Massachusetts without a warrant and shot him to death. The police have said little about the shooting, but claimed that Reynoso was shot because he tried to grab a police officer’s gun. The shooting investigation is currently being handled by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

On October 5, exactly one month after the shooting, family members of Reynoso and their supporters gathered in Lynn to demand an independent investigation of the shooting. The protest began at the Lynn Commons where several people gave speeches criticizing the Lynn police. After the speeches ended, we all marched to the Lynn Police Station. Jessica Spinney, Denis Reynoso’s wife, entered the police station to hand in a petition calling for an independent investigation and changes to the Lynn Police Department’s use-of-force policies.

After Jessica left the police station, the protest continued on for some time. Many of the protesters eventually began marching a second time. I heard they were marching to the church the family attends, but I left the protest at this point.

I took dozens of photos at the protest and shot some video as well.

You can sign an online petition here calling on Lynn Mayor Judith Kennedy and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to provide an independent investigation of the Denis Reynoso shooting.

Raw videos:

The mainstream media’s reporting on the shooting:

Boston Globe:

Lynn Daily Item:

Lynn Journal:

Fox 25:

WCVB:


Jun 2 2013

Videos from the International Day of Privacy protest

Dr. Q
BRIC (Photo by KT)

BRIC (Photo by KT)

Yesterday, a group of activists held a small “International Day of Privacy” protest outside the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), the state’s “fusion center” in Boston. If you’re not familiar with the BRIC, I recommend checking out Chris Faraone’s recent piece in Dig Boston which offers some background.

The protest was organized by KT (the first speaker in the first video below), the same person who uploaded the videos of herself being harassed by court employees and police while protesting in Salem. Luckily, there was no police harassment at this protest. KT told me (via Twitter) that the police “stayed in their nice climate controlled fusion center.”

One of the attendees uploaded some videos of other protesters giving speeches. I’ve embedded them below so you know check them out:


Oct 23 2011

Boston occupation movement demands police reforms

Dr. Q

This weekend, Boston’s Occupation movement has put its energy into demanding reforms of the Boston Police Department.

On Saturday, demonstrators from Occupy the Hood, a gathering of people from the predominantly black and Latino neighborhood of Roxbury that began Friday, joined together with Occupy Boston to protest against police brutality as part of the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality.

New England Cable News has some footage of the protest which you can view below:

The Boston Herald also has some coverage of the protest here.

Prior to the protest, a list of specific demands was posted on OccupyBoston.com:

1. The current CO-OP (Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel) must be given subpoena powers and the ability to initiate its own independent investigations.

2. There should also be a true Civilian review board with the same powers as, but independent of, the CO-OP. The CO-OP is primarily made up of criminal justice/law enforcement professionals and appointed by the Mayor. A true Civilian review board would be compromised of a cross section from all walks of life within the communities most affected.

3. We have begun work with State Officials to examine and propose a State Commission on Police Brutality. This commission would work statewide to study, examine and investigate cases of police brutality and misconduct where cities and towns have found themselves either unwilling or unable to adequately address these issues in a just manner. Local DA’s and Police Departments have shown that they cannot police themselves and some level of accountability must be established.

4. The Boston Police Department needs to reflect the diversity of the city in its command staff and other decision making positions. We recognize it is only in standing together, united in our solidarity and in action, that we will overcome police repression and succeed in creating a better world.

What do you think of these ideas for reforms? Let us know in the comment section or send us an email using our contact page. If you have any media (photos, videos, etc.) from the protest that you’d like to share, please do so.


Oct 6 2011

What I saw at Occupy Boston

Dr. Q

Last Sunday, I decided to attend the Occupy Boston protest which I’ve blogged about a couple times in the past. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the protest, here’s how it’s described on OccupyBoston.com:

Occupy Boston is an on-going protest inspired by Occupy Wall Street, which started in New York City on September 17, and is connected to similar demonstrations and occupations taking place around the world. We are raising awareness about the discontent with the American corporate and political systems. We’re inspiring conversation, discussion and debate around topics like corruption, financial inequality, and political immorality.

Occupy Boston is not a single group with a single demand, but we feel our national leaders have let us down too many times, and the government needs to fundamentally change.

One thing that drew me to the protest was the possibility of police brutality and misconduct. There’s been so much brutality and abuse by the NYPD at the Occupy Wall Street protest that it’s difficult to keep track of it all. Luckily, nothing of the sort has happened at Occupy Boston. So far, there have been no arrests at all, let alone police brutality incidents. When I visited the protest on Sunday, the police presence was light and the police didn’t appear to be interacting much with the demonstrators.

Since there was no police activity worth documenting, I decided that I would spend some of my time at the protest taking photos and interviewing people about their reasons for attending. You can watch those interviews below:

I definitely didn’t agree with everything I heard at the protest, but I was still impressed to see so many people gathering together to discuss and advocate ideas that they believe in.

After I talked with some of the protesters, I left Dewey Square for a while to handle some other business and get some food. When I returned to the protest later that evening, I managed to show up just as a march was beginning. I joined in the march, took some more photos, as well as some more video (some of that footage ended up at the beginning of the video embedded above).

After the march, I attended the General Assembly meeting which is one of ways the protesters have coordinated their efforts. Unfortunately, the meeting was pretty long, so I ended up having to leave before it was over. Before I left, I dropped by the Really, Really Free Market tent that protesters had organized and donated a white CopBlock.org t-shirt. (If you happen to see anyone wearing this shirt, I’d appreciate a photo.)

You can check out the photographs I took at the protest via Flickr:


Sep 27 2011

#OccupyBoston General Assembly meeting to be livestreamed

Dr. Q

As I reported yesterday, the first General Assembly for the Occupy Boston movement is scheduled for tonight at 7:30 at the Boston Common gazebo (you can now RSVP on Facebook). I have just learned via Twitter that the meeting will be livestreamed so that people who cannot make it will be able to watch online.

You can either watch the livestream using the embed below or you can follow this link back to the original source.

Since I first reported on the protest, the Boston Police Department contacted planners of the protest via Twitter. “We look forward 2 working w/ u 2 ensure a peaceful event which respects ur right 2 protest & maintains safety,” tweeted a BPD spokesperson. A second tweet encouraged planners to “contact Special Events Sgt. Bill Ridge to coordinate logistics” which at least one planner indicated they would do.

Despite these reassurances, I still encourage anyone taking part in the protest to make sure they know their rights and to document all interactions with the police using video cameras. If you witness any police brutality or misconduct during the demonstration, be sure to let us know. You can email Massachusetts Cop Block using our contact page or you can connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.