Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins Calls Out ‘Bad’ Cops and Prosecutors after Death of Floyd

Rachael Rollins

By Armando Alonzo

BOSTON – Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins addressed Boston protestors and the press in front of the Massachusetts State House in Suffolk County, calling out both police and prosecutors for failing to make bad cops accountable for brutality and murders.

She also noted that it was important to hold those who looted and destroyed small businesses accountable. However, she pivoted strongly to the fact that, unlike the lost property, the Black lives lost can never be replaced.

She began by thanking her allies in the legislature, the people present, and “most importantly… the overwhelming majority of members of law enforcement that go to work every day and do a job that none of us would sign up for.” Rollins praised their bravery, but noted that they “put themselves at risk every day (where) situations change in an instant. They have to make life and death decisions,” she said.

Despite her praise for law enforcers, she charged, “We aren’t here because of the good and honorable and culturally competent and de-escalation of able officers.”

Instead, she indicated that people listening and on the streets are there for the “other ones.” She compared it to how there’s people in every job that “just show up” to get a paycheck and “don’t care what they are doing.”

She said she finds a problem with “the officer that murdered George Floyd.” She highlighted the fact that he had 19 infractions on his record, which also included multiple other officer-involved shootings.

Rollins also stressed the fact that law enforcement is the only tax-paid-for branch of our government that has the right to lethal force, or even to kill without any oversight. “They don’t have to call a hotline,” she emphasized, “they don’t have to do anything and then it’s the DAs that come afterwards. The ones that, at least, have a spine and see whether that shooting was justified or reasonable.”

She then indicated that she was not only going to allow for people to yell at law enforcement, but also at the district attorneys and their prosecutors. She admits that her job is “equally as important,” and that people have seen an epic failure of prosecutors across the country,

Rollins also said in her speech that people need to continue seeing strong leadership as in the form of the mayor who fired the four cops involved in Floyd’s murder. Or the mayor in Louisville who fired the police chief over the mishandling of a fatal shooting during a protest, in which David McAtee was killed (CNN, 2020).

Rollins cried out that none of the body cameras of the policeman were on. The body cameras that were made and implemented for this very reason—transparency. Because none of the officers had their body cameras on, they have been terminated.

Rollins wanted to remind listeners that she supports the unions, “but when people could lose their life, the stakes are simply too high.” Rolling recalled the platform she ran on when becoming the district attorney, where her goal was to make sure that people are not being arrested and prosecuted in their first instance for low-level crimes, because low level crimes typically create more interactions with law enforcement. And, according to Rollins, these interactions can change in an instant. They are not often deescalated.

“When we look at George Floyd—a $20 bill,” she said. “Is his life worth more than $20? Those three other officers that stood there and watched as that man squeezed the life out of him did nothing.” Within this context Rollins, vowed to not be “bystanders” any longer.

She then expressed faith that the individuals within our law enforcement can be better because she works with them every single day, including, as she mentioned, the Boston Police detectives and Massachusetts state troopers. However, she says that all these “exceptional men and women must stand up when those of them that aren’t (exceptional) fail us because we (Black people) are dying in the streets.”

Rollins shared how she is exhausted from talking and explaining to people race issues.

She repeated a story that occurred that Wednesday morning. She had been on a radio show that morning, where the host asked her, “’Well, what are you blaming me for slavery for? I didn’t have any slaves.’” She said that she is not blaming them, but what she does want is for Black people to be included, for other folk to “stop talking about us, and allow us to speak for ourselves.”

Rollins diverged to make a point that those who looted and destroyed small businesses will be prosecuted by her office. She admitted that she does not know whether those actions were made out of pain or whether those individuals were simply “interlopers that came here to destroy.” But she will make sure that they are held accountable.

Broken property in mind, Rollins acknowledged that insurance can fix the broken glass, and insurance can replace the lost clothes. She challenged, “I want you to look at George Floyd’s mother and tell her: when does he get to come back? Or Ahmaud Arbrey, or Tony McAtee?”

She continued, “We don’t get those people back.” Ahmaud Arbrey was a 25-year-old man who was shot to death by white men after they saw him passing by and thought he looked suspicious. The aforementioned Tony McAtee was a local business owner who was killed during protests that have centered around George Floyd as well as Breonna Taylor.

Despite this, with a hopeful tone, Rollins noted that the “most amazing chances and improvements” come out of “the most horrific situations,” noting she is “ever optimistic that we are going to get through this and be even better.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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