NEW BEDFORD — Protesters were busy at work in New Bedford’s north end Sunday as crowds lined the streets for the annual Feast of the Blessed Sacrament Parade.

The group lined the Acushnet Avenue parade route to rally against Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, holding signs and shouting at the Sheriff as he walked by.

The protest was mostly centered around the group’s perception of the treatment of inmates under Hodgson’s watch at the Bristol County House of Correction, Hodgson’s stance on illegal immigration, and the Immigration and Detention Center located at the Dartmouth facility. The Detention Center currently houses detainees who are in proceeding with I.C.E. or who are scheduled for deportation.

Signs read “Shame on Sheriff Hodgson – Bristol County Prison – Highest Suicide Rate,” “Hodgson Is A Failure As A Jailer,” and “Actions Are Illegal, Not Humans.” Another sign held by one member of the group said, “Investigate Sheriff Hodgson NOW! Did you know…Hodgson Abuses Solitary Confinement.”

In a tweet, Sheriff Hodgson said the protestors were shouting the word “shame” at him as he walked by. In the same tweet, Hodgson went on to say he responded with “a wave, a smile and a thumbs up.”

“One of the many reasons why America is the best country in the world is our freedom to express ourselves,” Sheriff Hodgson tweeted.

“That's why when protesters show up along the parade route and boo and yell "shame" as I walk by, I give them a wave, a smile and a thumbs up. God Bless America.”

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson/Twitter.
Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson/Twitter.

Sunday’s protest was another in a series of similar actions against the Sheriff since last year, with the most recent occurring in late-June outside of the House of Correction in Dartmouth. That particular protest was centered around the Sheriff’s Department’s cooperation with ICE and the detention center located at the facility.

Other protests in 2018 focused on the living conditions of inmates inside the Bristol County House of Correction.


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