The state's top federal prosecutor has created a special task force that will work with local and state police to prevent, investigate and prosecute civil rights violations in Massachusetts.

The Civil Rights Task Force will identify and deter threats, strengthen relationships between police and the community, and provide training and support to local police departments confronting civil rights issues, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a media release.

“The current intensity of public concern with issues of racial equity, persecution of minorities, and relations between minority communities and law enforcement, demands a coordinated law enforcement response,” Lelling said. “In short, we need to do something and, in the interest of bolstering the public’s trust, the public needs to see that we take these issues seriously and will be accountable for our success or failure."

Lelling said he hosted an initial leadership team meeting that included Terrence Reidy, Undersecretary for Law Enforcement at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security; Boston Police Commissioner William Gross; Hampden Police Chief Jeff W. Farnsworth, President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; and Gina Kwon, Criminal Bureau Chief for the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

Members will be appointed and the general task force is expected to start its work in January 2021, Lelling said.

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