DOJ race relations discussions: Just another campaign event?

By Gordon Davis

It is something like karma when this morning four protesters of racist police misconduct will be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on the same day the City of Worcester is holding with the Department of Justice (DOJ) discussions on race relations (race and city government) at Quinsgamond Community College.

The malicious prosecution of the four protesters is evidence of the problems with race in Worcester.

A Worcester police officer allegedly beating a shackled man in lock up is evidence of police misconduct in Worcester.

There is no need for DOJ facilitation for people of color to recognize the implied threat by the City of Worcester. There is no need for the facilitation of the DOJ for the racists in Worcester and city government to deny that the malicious prosecution is racist or to deny the existence of any racism.

Not one of the four protesters had the capacity to stop Black Lives Matter protests from continuing or blocking an intersection. The so called “deal” was a political stunt and evidence of the political and racist nature of the malicious prosecution by the City Manager and the Police Chief.

The Massachusetts Human Rights Commission and the Progressive Labor Party have not been intimidated by the racism and the malicious prosecution by the City of Worcester.

They are calling for a Black Lives Matter march and rally Tuesday, June 2, at 5 p.m. at Worcester City Hall.

The Green-Rainbow Party at its recent state convention passed a resolution condemning police misconduct of all kinds and systemic racism. This new civil rights movement seems to have more staying power than some thought.

The DOJ hearing scheduled for today, June 1, will be a campaign event. Practically every candidate for Worcester City Council will show up and say Worcester is not racist and that they will do all that they can to ameliorate any racial problems. These political candidates will do this without saying anything substantial or by saying nothing at all or by saying something offensive.

There will be no discussion of disparate treatment of people of color by the Worcester Police Department.

There will be no discussion of the City’s extortion and intimidation against those who are fighting for the Worcester  Police Department to release its data on police misconduct.

I do not think many candidates will go to the next DOJ hearing on June 8 at the AME Baptist Church dealing with “public safety.” The June 8 hearing will likely put the Worcester Police Department in the spotlight about what is really going on and its lack of transparency. I would be surprised if Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme came to the meeting or answered questions.

At the May 18 hearing – the first hearing-  the DOJ set up the hearing in such a way that allowed no one from the audience to ask questions of Worcester officials. It seemed to me the DOJ was running interference for the City more than it was gathering information about race relations in Worcester.

One of the people who plans to attend today’s hearing sent a list of goals he hopes the hearing will accomplish:

How do we change Worcester so that our government best represents the residents?

Does our government use media to speak to all the communities in our City?

Are Worcester City Council meetings fully accessible to those for whom English is a second language?

Is City Hall and all of our City Departments fully accessible to those for whom English is a second language?

Does everyone have an equal voice in Worcester?

What needs to change?