A Boston religious leader wants mayoral candidates to say how they plan to reduce violence and shootings in the city amid calls to defund the police, the Boston Herald reported.
The Rev. Eugene Rivers said “terror is rising in the neighborhoods” and “calls for defunding police and the elimination of school police are absurd,” the Boston Herald reported. He held a press conference Thursday to address the issues following a shooting in the Roxbury neighborhood on Monday night, where 40 bullets were fired at buildings and cars.
We appreciate community leaders who champion common sense over anti-police nonsense. Per Rev. Eugene Rivers: “Enough of the partisan craziness. Let’s focus on problem solving, supporting our police officers and keeping our city safe. Defunding is absurd.” pic.twitter.com/sl4rjjZhWn
— Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) (@BostonPatrolmen) July 4, 2021
Any mayoral candidate for Massachusetts’ capital who does not provide “a systematic, evidence-based policy prescription and program to reduce the violence which is plaguing Boston’s poorest neighborhoods” should not be elected to the role, Rivers said.
“There has been no substantial response from the mayoral candidates to this unbelievable display of violence in the poorest and blackest neighborhoods in this city,” Rivers said in a statement ahead of the press conference, the Herald reported.
Rivers is a reverend and activist against gang violence, according to The History Makers. He founded Azusa Christian Community in 1984 in the Four Corners area of Boston’s inner city Dorchester neighborhood. He has also served as president of the National Ten Point Leadership Foundation, where he set up grassroots leadership in forty of the worst inner city neighborhoods in America.
Along with rising terror among citizens, Rivers cited other incidents of violence seen in recent months, including a July shooting in the Dorchester neighborhood, with 37 shots fired and four pistols found, the Herald reported.
Rivers helped raise a $10,000 reward for information on the person who shot and killed 73-year-old grandmother Delois Brown while she sat on her Dorchester porch in April, the Herald reported. No arrests have been made. (RELATED: Biden Wants To Pick Boston Mayor Marty Walsh For Labor Secretary, But Is ‘Concerned’ About Him Being White: Report)
A bill introduced in the state legislature would increase the punishment for shooting at homes to a felony. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is encouraging legislation that potentially increases the penalty to a five-year sentence and up to $10,000 in fines, the Herald reported.
“Every one of the candidates seeking the office of mayor must be publicly challenged regarding their indifference to the well-being of the most vulnerable residents of the city whose principal offense is that they are poor and Black,” Rivers told the Herald.
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