BOSTON, Mass. – The Boston Police Department recently came under fire for how police officers handled the massive group of angry activists who showed up to protest the ‘Straight Pride Parade’ last Saturday.
But now, the department commissioner has released a statement defending his officers and how they dealt with the event.
“While much has been made about the actions taken by my officers during the Straight Pride Parade, let me say without hesitation that I could not be more proud or impressed with the high levels of restraint and professionalism displayed by my officers tasked with safeguarding and protecting all who either attended, participated or protested at the parade,” Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said.
Sources estimated that the number of officers at the event totaled in the hundreds after a large group of protesters showed up to voice their disdain over the event. Police say that the protesters well outnumbered those that actually marched.
A total of 36 arrests were reportedly made during the event, in which nine suspects were charged with assaulting police officers in some way. Cops used riot gear and pepper spray to keep large crowds of protesters, such as Antifa members, under control and as far away from interfering with the event as they could.
“As we saw along the parade route, there were many who chose to voice their objections to those who chose to participate in the Straight Pride Parade,” Gross said. “While most expressed those objections peacefully, not everybody did. And nobody can attest to that fact more so than my officers.”
Gross said that the Boston officers and other local departments that dispatched to the city to assist faced their own battles with the protesters, some of whom were violent.
Officers faced “an unending stream of verbal taunts, jeers, profanities, obscenities and physical assaults,” Gross said.
All from the people preaching love and tolerance.
Gotta love irony, right?
Three dozen people were arrested at Boston Straight Pride Parade Saturday. They assaulted cops, carried weapons including razor blades. One member of the hard-left Antifa while wearing a mask said violence is necessary to shut up Straight Pride organizers. https://t.co/3mTrZUo69Q pic.twitter.com/Wb2lEmGiIz
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) September 3, 2019
“The Boston Police Department has and will continue to protect the freedoms and rights of all people, regardless of political leanings or personal points of view, to lawfully and peacefully express their First Amendment Rights,” Gross said.
After the court faced a number of cases involving protesters from the event, a district attorney requested that any non-violent charges be dropped. A Boston judge denied that request.
But on Monday, a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of a move by Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to drop charges against protesters arrested solely on nonviolent charges, overruling that lower-court judge, Boston.com reported.
For those with remaining charges, the protesters only have to look to leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for help.
The freshman congresswoman from New York City has vowed to raise money to help pay the legal fees of protesters who were arrested at the ‘Straight Pride Parade’ last weekend.
AOC and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, both members of “The Squad”, tweeted out a link to the Solidarity Against Hate Legal Defense Fund this week, which has raised approximately $25,000 for bail and additional legal fees for the protesters arrested at the event.
One way to support the local LGBTQ community impacted by Boston’s white supremacist parade?
Contribute to the Bail Fund for the activists who put themselves on the line protecting the Boston community:https://t.co/z2NRSqHMve
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 1, 2019
The congresswomen called the event a ‘white supremacist parade’ and an ‘#LGBT hate march’.
“One way to support the local LGBTQ community impacted by Boston’s white supremacist parade?” Ocasio-Cortez posted on Twitter along with a link to the crowdfunding site. “Contribute to the Bail Fund for the activists who put themselves on the line protecting the Boston community.”
The Boston Herald spoke with a protester.
“We’re covered in black so when we attack these guys we can’t be prosecuted,” Jon Crowley, a self-identified Antifa member said at Saturday’s parade. He said that violence is the only way properly deal with the “Straight Pride” marchers.
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“They are fascists, 100 percent. How else are you going to get them to shut up?”
36 protesters were arrested during the parade. Police say that the charges ranged from disorderly conduct and resisting arrest to assault and battery on a police officer.
Multiple videos posted to Twitter showed the vast number of protesters. At one point, police had to deploy pepper spray into a crowd that would not move back.
Boston Police Department spraying pepper spray into the crowd of protestors of the Straight Pride Parade #boston #straightpride #cityhall #pepperspray #protests #policebrutality pic.twitter.com/TLTIbdcu2A
— Lizzie Heintz (@lizzieheintz) August 31, 2019