Pedrini Threatens Our Safety and Right to Protest

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published October 31, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

I’d like to ask my fellow Arlingtonians: Have you ever been upset about something the government has done? Have you ever wanted to be paid more at work? Have you ever been worried about our future and wanted to get your voice heard? Then you should be concerned about what Lt. Pedrini said about protesters in the Massachusetts Police Association newsletter.

I grew up in Arlington and I’m happy I’ve chosen to live here as an adult. But I’m very concerned about how my town has handled this issue. Lt. Pedrini’s articles encouraged unrestrained violence against disabled people, immigrants, refugees, drug users and protesters. The protesters he mentions the most are Black people: i.e. Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter. But he also targets protesters in general.

Protest is an important part of U.S. history since the Boston Tea Party. I’ve attended many protests and helped organize protests about climate change, affordable housing and U.S. foreign policy. And I do social media consulting to help unions, authors, nonprofits and political candidates get their message out. Many of them take part in protests to increase pay, demand racial justice, expose greed and mismanagement, get legislation passed, and call out politicians.

Lt. Pedrini wrote: “I am sick and tired of the social justice warriors telling us how to do our jobs. It’s time we forget about ‘restraint’… ‘de-escalation’, ‘stigma-reduction’, and other feel-good BS… Let’s meet violence with violence and get the job done.”

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a social justice warrior, are you sure police like Lt. Pedrini wouldn’t think so? Given the fact that he compared WWII Japanese warplanes to refugees seeking a better life — I wouldn’t count on his sense of discernment.

The Town of Arlington needs to keep us safe and keep Lt. Pedrini off the street, on desk duty. Instead, this year Lt. Pedrini has worked the streets, chaperoned high school events and helped teach at the Citizen’s Police Academy. Arlington must send a clear message to police across the commonwealth: When you call for violence against the people you are supposed to protect, you will face consequences. One weak apology letter doesn’t make a difference.

And whether he steps down or he’s fired, Lt. Pedrini needs to leave the Arlington Police Department. As long as he’s there, we can’t trust the APD.

Eli Gerzon
Massachusetts Avenue