Gomes to Introduce Motion Supporting New Bedford Police [OPINION]
As per usual, New Bedford City Councilor-at-Large Brian Gomes was the first to come forward with a full-throated show of support for the New Bedford Police Department, which is under attack by a Boston non-profit.
Gomes says he plans to introduce a motion in time for next week's council meeting in support of the police and is calling on his colleagues to stand in unity with the department.
Citizens for Juvenile Justice released an agenda-driven report this week suggesting the police department unfairly profiles members of the Black and Latino communities as a form of harassment. The report accuses police of "over-policing" in certain neighborhoods.
On my Thursday program, Gomes called the report "garbage" and said the CFJJ is attempting to "stir things up" in the city. The group calls for the removal of police officers from public housing and resource officers from public schools. Gomes said neither will happen "as long as I have anything to say about it."
The New Bedford Police Union said the CFJJ report contains "disparaging and unfounded claims" and called a Boston Globe piece on the report published on Wednesday is "slanted and prejudiced reporting."
At-Large Councilor Naomi Carney, quick to support Gomes' motion, said on my program, "I support our law enforcement."
As of this writing, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has yet to comment on the report since reviewing it on Wednesday evening. That is unfortunate. Mitchell should have responded immediately. Calls for unity should have originated with Mitchell, not Gomes.
The mayor is willing to boycott me and my tough policy questions but appears unwilling to stand up to outside agitators who are looking to divide our citizens and dictate policy for our city. How sad.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.