Local police departments adopting 8 Can’t Wait

Around the country, and now in Massachusetts, police departments are adopting a set of policies that could potentially decrease violence inflicted by law enforcement.

The “8 Can’t Wait” project seeks to have law enforcement adopt quick and definitive changes to their policies on use of force, which have been questioned in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

The eight policy changes are: banning chokeholds, requiring de-escalation, requiring a verbal warning before shooting at someone, exhausting all non-force and non-lethal alternatives, requiring other officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers, banning shooting at moving vehicles, restricting extreme use of force to extreme situations, and requiring officers to report when they use or threaten force against a civilian (including pointing a firearm at someone).

The campaign was created following the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, and has been promoted by former President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

In Boston, the police department announced Thursday it was integrating the campaign into its policies. “Our current rules and procedures include most of the suggestions in the 8 Can’t Wait campaign,” Sergeant Detective John Boyle told the Boston Globe. “Upon review of our policies, the department has clarified its rules and implemented several reforms as a result of this review.”

It’s unclear if the department will adjust its use-of-deadly-force policies, which include some of the actions banned by the 8 Can’t Wait campaign. Those policies hasn’t been changed since 2008.

On Monday, the Cambridge Police Department issued an order requiring officers to intervene when a fellow member uses excessive force or does something unethical, one of the eight policy changes recommended as part of the 8 Can’t Wait project.

Police Commissioner Branville Bard Jr. said the intervention can be physical or verbal, and that failure to intervene could subject the officer to criminal prosecution, civil liability, or disciplinary action.

On Thursday, Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty announced a similar move, explicitly updating her department’s use of force policies to reflect 8 Can’t Wait. She said the department has had zero complaints about use of force so far in 2020.

The moves by local police departments come as many groups are moving to cut police funding and state lawmakers are considering legislation certification of law enforcement personnel and decertification if they fail to live up to the standards.

DeRay Mckesson, cofounder of Campaign Zero, the group that created the 8 Can’t Wait campaign, checked out Boston Police Department policies and said the department now meets seven of the policy recommendations, up from four.

“They did not update the policies to require comprehensive reporting, notably when an officer points a gun at someone or threatens to point a gun at someone,” he told the Globe. “The current policy only requires reporting when an officer discharges a weapon.”

City Councilor Andrea Campbell, who has wanted changes to the department’s use-of-force policy, lauded the move, and tweeted that now the city needs to go further by “reallocating money from our police budget,” implementing a “real civilian review board,” banning the use of military weapons, and getting law enforcement out of schools. At-large Council member Michelle Wu said online that the 8 Can’t Wait policies don’t address “root causes of police brutality and systemic racism.”

Vox points out that the campaign is well-structured for speedy implementation. If all of the reforms are implemented, according to a correlation study, there could be a decrease in police violence of 72 percent, a claim that may get a chance to be tested.

SARAH BETANCOURT


BEACON HILL

Who needs a dime store thriller when you have the morning news? The Globe has an eye-popping account of the state-led global effort to acquire PPE, a madcap tale of hucksters and shady operators cashing in on a life-or-death emergency to sell faulty goods to a desperate customer. (Boston Globe) It looks like it was a race to tell the story of the race to acquire PPE, as WBUR also rolls out an in-depth look at the state effort.

Former governor Deval Patrick discusses the curse of being black, and recounts how he was called the n-word when he was a student at Milton Academy and as governor when he and his driver (a black state trooper) were pulled over by a police officer. He says he gave up going to baseball and football games because he was tired of the racial slurs hurled at players. (NBC10)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Fireworks complaints to Brockton police increase by 2,837 percent. (The Enterprise)

South Shore officials say cuts and reallocations of police budgets aren’t the answer to protests about police killings. (Patriot Ledger)

City Councilor Lydia Edwards wants the Boston Planning and Development Agency to show that it is prioritizing racial and economic equity in development approvals. (Boston Globe)

A new $5 million state grant program will help municipalities improve outdoor spaces, such as those used for outdoor dining. (Eagle-Tribune)

CrossFit gym in Worcester will drop its affiliation with CrossFit after the CEO of the national company made racially insensitive remarks about the killing of George Floyd. (Telegram & Gazette)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Berkshire County sees its first day in a long time with no COVID-19 hospitalizations. (Berkshire Eagle)

Sweet Brook of Williamstown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, unable to find a buyer, will shut down in August under the terms of a disciplinary agreement with federal regulators. (Berkshire Eagle)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says accompanying President Trump to a church photo-op was a mistake that created the perception of military interference in domestic politics. (NPR)

While polls show a big shift in Americans’ views on race, President Trump is digging in and defending Confederate symbols in a bid to rally his mostly white base of supporters. (Washington Post)

Joe Biden faces increasing pressure to pick a black woman as his running mate. (NPR)

ELECTIONS

Nine Democrats look for a way to break through in the race for the open Fourth Congressional District seat. (Boston Globe) One of them, Jake Auchincloss, was a registered Republican in 2014 and worked on Charlie Baker’s campaign for governor. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The state’s three casinos hope to reopen June 29. (MassLive)

Shirley Leung gets local bigwigs to go on the record scolding the Four Seasons Hotel for the way it dismissed long-time staff as they vow to take their power lunches elsewhere if the hotel doesn’t do better by the workers. (Boston Globe)

Shoppers wait for hours to shop at the reopened TJ Maxx store in Framingham. (MetroWest Daily News)

EDUCATION

Howie Carr pans the “potty politics” that led Berklee College of Music to apologize for letting Boston police come in a building to use the bathroom while they were positioned outside during the protests on May 31. A Herald editorial also slams the school.

Like many school districts across the state, Pittsfield is preparing for big layoffs on the assumption that state aid to schools will fall. (Berkshire Eagle)

ARTS AND CULTURE

Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown denies racism but says it is reviewing its policies and procedures after it received a letter from former and past employees and interns about the issue. (Cape Cod Times) 

TRANSPORTATION

The T again gives Lynn residents the option of taking the commuter rail into town at subway rates. (Daily Item)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

More problems are emerging with the breathalyzer tests used by all Massachusetts police officers. (The Salem News)

Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi worries about public safety and the safety of vulnerable inmates as more inmates are being released pretrial due to COVID-19. (MassLive)

Lawyers for suspended Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph argue that federal prosecutors lack constitutional authority to prosecute her. (Boston Herald)