By Gordon Davis
I met Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus for the first time Saturday, October 24, 2015. I was standing outside of the Belmont AME Zion Church in Worcester. Mr. Augustus walked by on his way to the NAACP forum on education. As most people know by now I am legally blind, with only reduced sight in one eye. For that reason I did not recognize the city manager. I said to him: “I think I know you.”
Mr. Augustus identified himself, and then to my surprise he said, “You are Gordon Davis and you write hateful things about me.”
I thought politicians have thicker skins and do not get upset about things written about them.
I responded that I never wrote any thing hateful about him.
I challenged him to cite one example of any hate speech or even anything personal about him.
Mr. Augustus said he could not at the moment think of anything hateful that I had said about him.
I said I thought he was maliciously prosecuting the four BlackLives Matter protesters.
He said the courts would decide the issue. Then he went into this monologue about how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail and that protesters should go to jail.
My wife reminded me as we stood talking to Mr. Augustus not to lose my temper. So Mr. Augustus and I started a back and forth on the issue.
Mr. Augustus said the Black Lives Matter protesters disturbed the peace at Kelley Square because the truck driver was “inching into the protester.”
I told Mr. Augustus that the truck driver’s “inching” was a form of assault.
Mr. Augustus said the driver was provoked by the presence of the Black Lives Matter protester.
I told Mr. Augustus that provocation was not a defense for assault.
You can not hit or threaten someone because he calls you a name. You can not claim that there is a disturbance of the peace because people hold a sign saying “BlackLives Matters.”
The issue of the lack of prosecution of the dog owners in Worcester’s Boynton Park was brought up by my wife.
She said the City of Worcester knows the name of the violators at Boynton Park and that they provoked the City of Worcester worker.
At Boynton Park, the City brought charges against a City of Worcester worker driving a truck in Boynton Park – but not against the truck driver at Kelly Square.
Mr. August said that was different, but he did not give an explanation as to how it was different.
Mr. Augustus offered three different rationales for the City of Worcester seeking charges against the Kelley Square protesters:
The first was that the City of Worcester offered the protesters a deal that amounted to extortion; don’t protest again and the City will not seek charges.
The second is the Worcester Police saying it saw a video.
The third is Mr. Augustus’ comment that protesters should go to jail like Dr. King.
My first impression of Mr. Augustus is that he is thin-skinned and he holds grudges.
He is not above using state power to get his way – even if that use of power is marginally legitimate and possible unlawful.
I think that the defense attorneys for the Bkack Lives Matter protesters at Kelley Square should call on Mr. Augustus and Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme to testify under oath on November 9, 2015, to get evidence on how they formed the decision to seek charges against the protesters.
This information should be made public.
I think a jury might see the malicious prosecution by City Manger Augustus and Police Chief Gemme. Evidence of this possible malicious prosecution could be dispositive and help a jury understand the case better.