Letters to the Editor
Originally Published November 14, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate
We are writing to respond to the Nov. 7 letter by retired Arlington police officers Bass and Wilson. The authors ask that the citizens of Arlington stop complaining about Lt. Pedrini’s behavior and his characterization of the people he was sworn to protect and serve as “maggot criminals” and “a vile piece of excrement.” Bass and Wilson dismiss this language as “dark” humor and “satire,” and they characterize Lt. Rick Pedrini as “fair and impartial” and “brave.” It is not “fair” to dismiss critics as “social justice warriors telling us how to do our job.” It is not “impartial” to distribute / perpetuate harmful stereotypes of immigrants, drug addicted people, and Black Lives Matter activists. It is not “brave” to write “let’s meet violence with violence and get the job done” while carrying a gun.
We reject Bass and Wilson’s erroneous characterization of our community as “soft on criminals” and “coddling of wrongdoers.” These statements help justify instances in which police use excessive violence against civilians, and silence those who dare to demand that police officers take utmost care and consideration as they “protect and serve” their communities.
We agree that Arlington’s law enforcement officers are valued public servants with difficult jobs. The tax-paying citizens entrust them with the welfare and safety of our entire community. Successful and valued police officers are capable of exercising restraint and the greatest of discretion when executing their duties. Above all, they must prove themselves worthy of the public’s trust. When law enforcement officers betray the trust of the community they serve, they must be held accountable.
We are not satisfied that Lt. Pedrini has “done enough” to repair the harm he has inflicted on this community. He has not written an authentic apology to the groups he specifically targeted. He has not interacted with the public in a community forum. He has not resigned from his position on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Police Association. Post-restorative justice, he continued to follow hateful and racist pages on his Facebook.
Concerned community members like myself will not allow town leaders to put the public, for whom Lt. Pedrini has expressed such scorn and disdain, at further risk until we are satisfied that he has changed.
Nicole Noll and Susan Buck