Not very candid camera talk from police union

If the topic weren’t so serious, the situation would be laughable.

In the wake of rising national concern over police conduct, in particular in dealings in the black community, law enforcement departments across the country are adopting the use of body-worn cameras by officers as part of drive for greater transparency. Adding the small lapel-mounted cameras to officers’ standard gear will bring needed accountability for police behavior, say advocates. But cameras are also seen as helpful back-up that can protect officers when their version of a tense encounter is challenged.

After months of back and forth, the city’s main police union finally agreed in July to allow for a six-month pilot study of body cameras among 100 members of the force who volunteer to take part in exchange for a $500 stipend.

It seemed like the logjam had been broken, but there turned out to be one small hitch in the plan: Not a single officer stepped forward to take part.

At this point in the comical camera saga, Police Commissioner William Evans and Mayor Marty Walsh look like Charlie Brown, and the patrolman’s union, playing the part of Lucy, pulled the football away just as they rushed forward to kick it.

Evans, under pressure from leaders in the black community to get the effort underway, didn’t appear to appreciate the gag.

He said that without any volunteers for the program, he would assign 100 officers to wear cameras. The union, saying it only agreed to a program involving volunteer officers, has gone to court seeking an injunction to block the initiative, saying it never agreed to allow officers to be assigned to wear cameras without their consent. A hearing was scheduled for today, but has now been pushed ahead to next week.

The union’s posture would appear to suggest a certain lack of good faith interest in getting the program going. But John Becker, the lawyer representing the union, says that’s not the case. “The union has been on board with this issue since day one,” he said of the overall camera effort. “There’s only a question of details.”

Those details apparently include the minor matter of whether any officers will actually offer to take part in the pilot study.

“This program is to see if these tools actually work and how effective it is in our communities,” Segun Idowu, of the community group Boston Police Camera Action Team, told WBUR. “If they don’t even want that to happen, I can’t even keep myself from laughing because of how ridiculous this is. It’s really just an embarrassing ploy on the part of the union leadership to do everything they can to stop this program that is supposed to keep everybody safe and create the accountability that their own officers want.”

–MICHAEL JONAS

BEACON HILL

Attorney General Maura Healey has opened up a second front in her battle with the gun industry, as she is in court fighting with two gun manufacturers who are resisting her call to turn over documents on possible defects in their weapons that may make them prone to accidental discharge. (Boston Globe)

House Speaker Robert DeLeo in March paid Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo $100,000 out of his campaign account for legal fees, apparently in connection with the Probation Department corruption trial that ended in July 2014. (CommonWealth)

Another black eye for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which had its two top officials suspended for a week without pay after using state resources in hosting a private party. (CommonWealth) Gov. Charlie Baker says he was irked by the antics but knew nothing about it. (Boston Herald)

Emails obtained by the Herald show that the Baker administration did all it could to help the Walsh administration pull off the IndyCar race that nonetheless crashed and burned.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Most members of the Boston city council are former clients of a political consulting firm whose former president now heads a firm that promoted a medical marijuana company whose license application was approved by the council last week. (Boston Globe)

Twelve eye-catching murals are being painted in Worcester as part of Pow! Wow! Worcester, but Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson notes the artists themselves are not being paid for their work. They are only being reimbursed for transportation, room, and board.

Members of Framingham’s Fair Housing Committee have formed a panel to look into discrimination in the town’s public housing. (MetroWest Daily News)

Come for the coffee, stay for the budget hearing. The Brockton Cultural Council holds its public meetings on Saturday mornings in a room at a local Dunkin’ Donuts. (The Enterprise)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The National Labor Relations Board, in decisions dealing with issues in New York and Pennsylvania, rules that charter schools are private corporations and not public schools. (Governing)

An analysis by the New York Times finds that when Wikileaks publishes secrets from the United States, Russia is often the beneficiary.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he won’t resign after having appeared to suggest he was considering stepping down. But he says he will never again talk to the press, ever. (Boston Globe)

ELECTIONS

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump sends mixed signals on immigration in Mexico City and Phoenix. (New York Times) With his stunt yesterday in Mexico City, Trump suddenly morphed from a pit bull into a Chihuahua, says Peter Gelzinis. The family of a Milford man, who was killed by a drunken driver illegally in the country, were guests at Trump’s Arizona rally, saying if the billionaire was president, Matthew Denice “would be alive today.” (WCVB)

Apparently, there is something to this voter fraud stuff. Florida officials are investigating whether Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon was illegally registered to vote in the Sunshine State. (U.S. News & World Report)

The opioid crisis and New Hampshire’s response to it became a central focal point of a debate between the Republican candidates for governor. (Governing)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Ocean Spray Cranberries has sold its worldwide headquarters in Lakeville for a reported $40 million. The money will be used for investment capital but the company will stay on as a tenant. (Standard-Times)

EDUCATION

The troubled New Heights Charter School in Brockton has asked the state to allow it to start the school year in Norwood — 22 miles from the area it is slated to serve — after Brockton officials shut down renovations at the planned school site because school administrators lacked proper permits. (The Enterprise)

The Department of Justice has extended a grant that will allow Fall River to keep police in schools as resource officers. (Herald News)

In an effort to atone for selling 272 slaves in 1838 to keep the school running, Georgetown University will give preferential treatment to slave descendants in admissions. (New York Times)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Those surgical caps that leave a bit of hair showing around doctors’ ears may be endangering patients because of the risk of infection. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

The Longfellow Bridge connecting Boston and Cambridge will reopen in June 2018, state officials said, slightly earlier than the most recent estimate. (Boston Globe)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Carl Gustin says Gov. Charlie Baker is right, the state needs a new natural gas pipeline. (CommonWealth)

Despite the drought, the Quabbin Reservoir, the chief source of water for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, is lower but remains stable. (State House News)

Hiltz Waste Disposal abruptly cancels trash pickup services to a number of North Shore towns, including Gloucester and Manchester. (Salem News)

Acushnet voters, many opposed to proposed LNG storage tanks in town, approved two measures at Town Meeting that would require a permit from the town to operate an LNG facility and mandate safety studies.(Standard-Times)

Scientists say human-caused deaths and a decline in births has the right whale population moving in the wrong direction after years of recovery. (Cape Cod Times)

CASINOS

About 1,000 people turned out for the final day of racing at Rockingham Park in Salem, NH, yet another horse track to go under. Several attempts to rescue the track by locating a casino there failed when the New Hampshire legislature failed to approve casino gambling. (Eagle-Tribune)

Revere mayor Brian Arrigo says he’s against a local effort to ask Revere voters ahead of the November election whether they want a casino parlor in their city. A November ballot question will ask state voters to approve an additional slots facility, but Arrigo says holding a local referendum before then would be “putting the cart before the horse.” (Boston Globe)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Kristen LaBrie pleads guilty to attempted murder for withholding cancer medications from her son. Under an agreement with prosecutors, the guilty plea means she won’t have to go through a second trial and she will be released for time served — the five years she spent in jail until her prior conviction was overturned on a technicality. (Salem News)

An audit of criminal evidence held by Braintree police could affect hundreds of cases going as far back as 2013, though officials have yet to reveal what they are investigating and what triggered the probe. (Patriot Ledger)

Two men from Ecuador charged with rape in Haverhill came into contact with federal immigration agents within the last two years near the Texas-Mexico border. One of the men had previously been deported. (Eagle-Tribune)

An 11-year-old Abington boy was shot in the face by a handgun in what officials say was an accident. (Boston Globe)

The upcoming trials dealing with the death of Bella Bond are likely to be a blame game as Bella’s parents, who are being tried separately, blame each other for the death of their daughter, who was found wrapped in a garbage bag washed up on Deer Island in Winthrop. (Masslive)

MEDIA

Dan Kennedy’ says he is going to do what a number of other media outlets are doing, letting commenters post on Facebook rather than on Media Nation itself. Kennedy also has a follow on the Boston Business Journal story about GateHouse cutting 40 jobs, producing a memo indicating the company will reorganize its online presence and will no longer call reporters reporters. (Media Nation)