While there are many actions we would like to see the Town take in response to the matter, we have flagged several as the most important.
- The first priority: Keep Lt. Pedrini on administrative assignment while further steps are taken to clarify what has occurred and what next steps are available to the Town to resolve this situation. If termination is proven to be off the table, keep Lt. Pedrini on administrative duty indefinitely.
- Provide transparency on the restorative justice process, with third-party legal counsel available to advise (a) what the Town’s options were when Lt. Pedrini’s articles were brought to the Town’s attention, (b) what the options are currently, and (c) to conclusively advise the community whether or not termination is or was an option for Lt. Pedrini. With input from the community, set transparent and measurable procedures and standards for when and how the Town and its departments choose to use restorative justice in the future.
- Strengthen the Town’s Code of Conduct to make it clear to all town employees, current and future, that any writings, social media presence, or political stances accessible to the public that contravene the Code of Conduct will result in the employee’s termination.
- Strengthen outreach and support for Arlington’s marginalized communities to learn about their needs and offer safe ways to raise complaints and concerns. Outreach and support should use culturally appropriate engagement and inclusion efforts, including information translated into multiple languages and outreach beyond online channels.
- Given that the Town Manager and Acting Chief of Police both labelled Lt. Pedrini’s articles as racist at a May Diversity Task Group meeting, they should now do this in a public statement, together with an explanation that will help town residents to understand why the articles are racist.
The following would also help to rebuild trust in the community
Provide the following information:
- The Town Manager’s explanation as to why he ignored the Chief Fred Ryan’s reservations regarding pursuing restorative justice and Lt. Pedrini’s ability to express remorse.
- Public disclosure of Lt. Pedrini’s 2002 restraining order case and of the 2014 case brought forth by Attorney Howard Friedman, and disclosure of the financial loss the town incurred settling in these cases.
- Confirmation as to whether Lt. Pedrini was suspended without pay, as indicated in Attorney Friedman’s letter. If he was suspended, why was this not clarified when the Town Manager was questioned re Pedrini’s record.
- Explanation of APD’s labor contracts in a transparent way that explains for instance why our town does not allow suspension without pay for misconduct when others do.
- All of Lt. Pedrini’s prior Sentinel articles that have been scrubbed from the web.
Restrict Lt. Pedrini’s activities while on duty. Specifically, restrict him from:
- representing the town on any committees
- any outward-facing community engagement such as Coffee with a Cop, and school events such as the Last Blast
- conducting interviews for and deciding who gets gun permits in Arlington
- doing any detail work that exposes the public to risk
- performing duties that qualify for overtime pay
- all Massachusetts Police Association (MPA) connections, including stepping down from the Executive Board
- Develop a plan for the establishment of an autonomous and racially and class diverse Police Civilian Review Board that is endowed with the ability to act independently of the Town Manager and has the authority to watchdog the APD without interference from town leadership and that prioritizes the needs and acts in the best interest of the harmed and marginalized populations that are disproportionately targeted by police profiling, harassment and assault
- A public letter from Town leadership acknowledging the work that town residents have put into researching this case and thanking them for bringing these concerns to the Town’s attention. This action would aid in quelling any concerns about divisiveness in the public’s eye.
- The Town to revisit their decision to have community policing at the schools at a minimum until a third party has assessed the department for bias.
- The Town to hire outside consultants to get bids from multiple organizations that can assess bias in the town and provide bias and whiteness training to all leaders and employees . Consultants should be from culturally-competent organizations with diverse representation. Lawyers for Civil Rights, Visions, Inc. and Black Lives Matter might be places to start in researching appropriate organizations.
- Select Board members, the Town Manager, and the Acting Chief of Police to sign up for annual anti-bias and whiteness training, such as the White Privilege Symposium next month in Cambridge.
- The Town should support HRC efforts to review their mission in order to ensure their mission, commissioner selection/retention process and current powers sufficiently endow the HRC with the composition and authority to best serve the breadth of targeted groups in our community and endows them with powers to fully research complaints including the ability to question town departments.
- The Town to develop a Diversity and Inclusion statement to be read before the start of all official town business; this will help to reinforce the Town’s commitment to creating a safe and welcoming space for all residents, employees and visitors, inclusive of all identities.