Town Officials Accommodating to Racist Advocacy

Letters to the Editor

Originally Published September 19, 2019 in the Arlington Advocate

On Sept. 9, Arlington’s Select Board voted, in part, to endorse the actions of the town manager relating to a racist police officer in the APD. I and well over 20 other concerned citizens present voiced our disappointment with the Board’s actions.

The officer, Lieutenant Pedrini of the APD, formerly published in a Massachusetts-wide police newsletter that undocumented immigrants were like Pearl Harbor bombers and should be shot by the military. While this was the most extreme of his publications to officers across the commonwealth, it was consistent with other published viewpoints of the lieutenant going back a year prior, at least.

The town manager chose to let the officer keep his job, setting Arlington apart from those municipalities across America and within Massachusetts who fired police officers for similar or lesser examples of racist advocacy.

I attended the meeting to ask the Select Board not to endorse the town manager’s conciliatory approach to the words of the officer. I oppose any signs of tolerance towards white supremacist words from those in power. Arlington owed it to those most threatened to fire the officer to show other officers across the commonwealth we do not find racist or white supremacist advocacy acceptable from those entrusted to protect and serve.

I applaud the Select Board member who voted to oppose endorsing the town manager’s letter on the subject and the Select Board member who voted to abstain from voting.

However, the measure they put in place instead of endorsing the town manager’s open letter to the community continued to support the town manager in his actions relating to the racist officer.

This past Monday, our five white Select Board members okayed our white town manager’s decision to leave on the APD a lieutenant who wrote a policy letter to officers in the commonwealth demonizing Black Lives Matter, proposing lethal force by the military against undocumented immigrants, opposing de-escalation relating to police violence, and calling substance abusers “maggots.”

They are okay with a more accommodating approach to racist advocacy from police officers than I am.

I and others do not believe this vote was representative of the best interests of the Arlington community or of neighboring communities in the commonwealth impacted by Pedrini’s racist rhetoric.

Erik Pohl
Massachusetts Avenue