Letters to the Editor
Originally Published September 27, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate
When I learned of the deeply racist and violent writings of Lt. Pedrini, I was shocked. When I learned that he had written similar articles in the past and been subject to restraining orders and allegations of inappropriate conduct, it became clear that this was not an isolated incident, but rather, a disturbing pattern. These actions betray the stated values of Arlington and the “Hate Has No Home Here” signs displayed by so many. I have no confidence that Pedrini has changed his views. The fact that his published apology did not disavow his words as racist and that he has yet to step down from the MPA affirms my belief. Pedrini’s published words directly put the people of Arlington at risk by breaking the trust between the community and the APD, causing crimes to go unreported, as well as the risk a police officer with such violent and racist beliefs policing that community.
If there was trouble in my neighborhood, how could I call the police, knowing that the officer responding might think he should “forget about ‘restraint,‘” “measured responses,” “procedural justice.” “de-escalation”’ and instead “meet violence with violence?” If there was trouble at the park, how could I call the police, knowing that they might send an officer who compared asylum seekers with the invasion of Pearl Harbor? How can I tell my child that, if there is trouble, he should talk to a police officer, when we have reason to worry that the police might make the situation worse, not better?
I could not. We need true engagement with the Arlington residents Pedrini targeted with his words alongside actions that make it clear the town of Arlington and the APD will not tolerate racist and violent rhetoric. I urge the town to exercise all avenues possible for terminating Pedrini. Short of termination, Pedrini should absolutely remain on administrative assignment in a role where his interactions with the community are minimized. This would serve to reduce harm to the community as well as potential financial liability to the town that would be incurred by future civil suits filed if Pedrini were to arrest any individuals identifying with any of the groups he targeted.