Hodgson also tangling with Chang-Diaz

She calls for prosecution; he calls her most ‘pro-illegal rep”

BRISTOL COUNTY Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, already in a war of words with Attorney General Maura Healey, is now in a fight with a state senator.

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain showed up at the Bristol County Jail on May 2, the day after a melee involving immigration detainees, and was not allowed in. Under state law, lawmakers are entitled to enter any prison facility, so the Senate Post Audit and Oversight Committee launched an investigation.

At a press conference at the jail on Wednesday, Hodgson slammed Chang-Diaz for grandstanding on immigration – showing up during a lockdown with no identification to prove she was a state senator and then never calling him later or returning for a visit.

“She went back, complained to the Senate president, who’s no fan of mine, I don’t really know the lady. The next thing I know, I get a letter from the post audit committee,” Hodgson said.

“Where is she? What was so important? Other than she was probably hoping to get herself in front of a camera to try to advance her pro-illegals position. We’re not stupid here,” he said. “She’s probably the most pro-illegal representative in the Senate in Boston.”

Healey issued a report on Tuesday concluding that the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office violated the civil rights of immigrant detainees on May 1 when it engaged in an “unnecessary use of force” that left three of the detainees hospitalized and several others in solitary confinement when they should have received medical treatment.

Chang-Diaz, in an email, said the report was disturbing. “This isn’t about my agenda or Sheriff Hodgson’s. People in politics disagree with one another all the time—that’s healthy democracy,” Chang-Diaz wrote. “But the sheriff’s contempt for the rule of law, for legitimate and necessary legislative oversight, and, most importantly, for the lives of the people in his custody is sickening …. The behavior documented in the Attorney General’s report is criminal, and he should face charges.”

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Sarah Betancourt

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

About Sarah Betancourt

Sarah Betancourt is a long-time Latina reporter in Massachusetts. Prior to joining Commonwealth, Sarah was a breaking news reporter for The Associated Press in Boston, and a correspondent with The Boston Globe and The Guardian. She has written about immigration, incarceration, and health policy for outlets like NBC, The Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, and the New York Law Journal. Sarah has reported stories such as a national look at teacher shortages, how databases are used by police departments to procure information on immigrants, and uncovered the spread of an infectious disease in children at a family detention center. She has covered the State House, local and national politics, crime and general assignment.

Sarah received a 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for her role in the ProPublica/NPR story, “They Got Hurt at Work and Then They Got Deported,” which explored how Florida employers and insurance companies were getting out of paying workers compensation benefits by using a state law to ensure injured undocumented workers were arrested or deported. Sarah attended Emerson College for a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Communication, and Columbia University for a fellowship and Master’s degree with the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism.

Healey’s office included 17 recommendations in its report and urged Hodgson to follow through on them. The attorney general suggested litigation of some sort might be possible if the sheriff doesn’t comply with the report’s recommendations.

It is doubtful he will, judging by what he said on Wednesday. “It’s about halfway down the sewer pipe,” Hodgson said of the attorney general’s report.