Plymouth D.A. Candidate Rahsaan Hall: ‘I Will Use Facts, Not Fear’
Former prosecutor and civil rights attorney Rahsaan Hall is running for Plymouth County District Attorney because he believes he has a vision for justice that is "more fair, equitable and just" than that of longtime incumbent Republican D.A. Tim Cruz.
Hall said that when it comes to having an honest conversation about criminal justice policy that the facts often take a backseat to fear.
"I think one of the things that seasoned politicians are good at is meeting people at their base, which is fear," Hall said in a recent appearance on SouthCoast Tonight.
"Having a vision for a more equitable, fair, and just system is really what I'm trying to bring to this office," Hall added. "Making sure that in addition to holding people accountable who have caused harm and disruption in our communities, that we're treating victims and survivors with dignity and respect. Being intentional about raising the level of transparency and accountability in the office. Being intentional about addressing racial disparities as well as taking a harm-reduction approach for folks who are struggling with substance abuse disorder, and engaging the community more."
Prior to running for the Democratic nomination for Plymouth D.A., Hall was an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County for eight years. He later served as the deputy director for Lawyers for Civil Rights in Boston. Afterwards, he joined the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU, where he served as director of its racial justice program.
During his time at the ACLU, he handled cases related to police misconduct, public accommodations, and voting rights. He also spearheaded the nationally recognized "What A Difference a DA Makes" campaign in 2017 to educate residents of the Commonwealth about the very powerful but relatively little-known elected office of District Attorney.
The program was seen as a major success, with 81 percent of voters saying that they will pay closer attention to their District Attorney after learning more about the office, and the Commonwealth saw a substantial increase in voter participation for the five contested D.A. elections in 2018.
Hall has firsthand experience of the difference a D.A. can make, having worked as a prosecutor at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. He started out like most A.D.A.s handling low-level offenses at the district court level before being promoted to a unit called the Safe Neighborhood Initiative. In that unit, Hall prosecuted gang-related cases that came out of Dorchester. Hall then moved to the D.A.'s senior trial unit, where he prosecuted and secured convictions in trials for life-felony offenses such as homicides.
Hall also shared his experience working closely with law enforcement at the Suffolk D.A.'s office to dispel the notion that he is "anti-cop" or that he doesn't have an appreciation for the work law enforcement does.
"I've been on the ride alongs," Hall said. "I've worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement. I've sat with the family members who have lost loves one to homicide. I've been in the community meetings where people have raised concern. I do not want an unsafe community to live in."
"I have a family," Hall added. "I am concerned about the safety. I have a different approach to addressing those concerns around safety which gets to some of the root causes which leads to disruption and crime and our communities."
When a caller questioned the efficacy of progressive prosecution policies and cited major metropolitan cities that have seen an increase in crime, Hall rebuffed the notion that there is any evidence that shows a correlation between an increase in the crime rate and progressive prosecutors. He added that his office will be guided by the data, and said that detractors of these policies in Commonwealth are ignoring the success of progressive prosecution in a major metropolitan city much closer to them than the ones that they constantly mention.
"Everybody likes to point to San Francisco, L.A., Chicago, but nobody wants to look in our own backyard here in Boston where Rachel Rollins was elected in 2018 on a progressive platform of not seeking cash bail for certain offenses, not prosecuting offenses in the first instance, and crime went down," Hall said. "We'd rather go to the fear-mongering tactic and technique of pointing to all of these others places and saying 'It's dangerous out there.' It's disingenuous and it's just not accurate,"
Listen to Plymouth D.A. candidate Rahsaan Hall's full interview with Marcus on SouthCoast Tonight.