Letters to the Editor
Originally Published September 27, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate
We are writing to add our voices of deep concern and anger about the continuing harm caused by the published racist and violent words that Lt. Pedrini, a member of the Arlington Police Department, has caused and the way the case is still being treated by leadership in this town. We are also asking that town manager and the board of selectmen recognize that racist content of his actions and act accordingly to repair this harm.
In addition, we ask that if Pedrini stays in our community, that he be permanently on administrative duties only. Putting him back on the street sends the wrong message to all in our community and is a real financial liability as well.
His words constituted hate speech that was directed at members of the community that he has sworn to serve and protect. Members of a community that may now may be even more fearful of calling the police when they are needed.
Taking accountability for the harm caused requires us all as a community to recognize and name what happened, for example labeling the writings as racist, among other things.
It also does no good if some on the Select Board, like Selectwoman Mahon belittle and downplay the serious concerns that we should all have. Pedrini is someone who is supposed to represent the law but felt free to exclaim and publish his racist views. This is a difficult thing to just put behind us when we feel true accountability for his actions have not happened. We also want to recognize Select Boardman Decourcey and Curro for not voting to endorse the TM letter but believe in endorsing his handling of the Pedrini case is the wrong way to go forward.
Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine does not go far enough in refusing to use the word racist. We implore him to reconsider how he writes and talks about this very troubling incident that happened in our police department. We ask that the Select Board and the town manager make a public statement calling the remarks racist, and explaining why the writings are racist. This is a learning opportunity that all can benefit from.
We still don’t know to the full extent the harm these racist, xenophobic and violent words affected folks in our community who were targeted by Pedrini’s statements. Repair cannot happen without accountability. We ask that town leaders please continue to take this into consideration and do the right thing. There is still time.
Paula Jordan and Robert Santosuosso