OPINION | Barry Richard: Perry Owes Cordeiro Proof Or an Apology
Allegations of racism and sexual harassment against Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro became public yesterday. Those accusations were made by 30-year veteran police officer and mayoral contender Charlie Perry. So far, Perry has yet to provide any proof to support his claims and efforts by the local media to substantiate the allegations have been unsuccessful.
Officer Perry has been given multiple opportunities to appear on the radio to discuss his allegations that Cordeiro has treated minority officers unfairly and has sexually harassed three police officers. He has also alleged that the Chief "covered up" a drunk driving accident involving Cordeiro's son. Perry has declined all invitations.
It is also important to note that Perry's complaint alleging racist behavior on the part of Chief Cordeiro was dismissed by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which determined there was a "lack or probable cause" to pursue the matter any further.
A police report of Cordeiro's son's accident obtained by WBSM does not appear to indicate that alcohol was a factor.
Chief Cordeiro has issued a written statement in response to Perry's allegations:
"I am disappointed by these baseless allegations, which the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination have dismissed. I have dedicated my career to equality for every resident of New Bedford, especially in the last sixteen months as chief, and have fostered positive community relations in our commitment towards a City of One. The New Bedford Police Department prides itself on equality and does not tolerate discrimination in any form."
Mayor Jon Mitchell issued a statement in support of Cordeiro:
"I fully support Chief Cordeiro's leadership. The Chief's career, including his service on the City's Human Relations Commission and at the Women's Center, has been a commitment to equality and the fair treatment of all residents."
Perry's accusations are serious. Because of Perry's lengthy tenure with the New Bedford Police Department, they certainly deserve media attention. But, seeing that Officer Perry has declined to provide any evidence to substantiate his accusations and no one else has come forward to do so, it is time for Perry to either provide that proof or to apologize to Chief Cordeiro and the people of New Bedford for this ugly episode.
Officer Perry, what say you?
Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.