US Attorney establishes Civil Rights Task Force in Massachusetts

BOSTON (WHDH) - United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling on Friday announced the creation of a Civil Rights Task Force, which will work with and support law enforcement agencies in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting civil rights violations across Massachusetts.

The Task Force will enhance collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement to better identify and deter threats, work to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and community members, and provide training and support to local police departments confronting civil rights issues, according to Lelling.

“The current intensity of public concern with issues of racial equity, persecution of minorities, and relations between minority communities and law enforcement, demands a coordinated law enforcement response,” Lelling said. “We need to do something and in the interest of bolstering the public’s trust, the public needs to see that we take these issues seriously and will be accountable for our success or failure.”

Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross has been named to the Task Force’s leadership team, which is charged with choosing representatives for the Task Force’s primary working group and will set priorities for the group.

“At these times of civil unrest and anti-police sentiment, we need to work together to find a common ground where there can be mutual respect for law enforcement and the folks that we serve,” Gross said.

Terry Reidy, undersecretary of the Department of Public Safety, noted that a civil rights officer will be assigned to every community across the Commonwealth.

“It’s going to really help with this Task Force in being able to coordinate responses throughout the state,” Reidy explained.

Lelling added that he feels it will be important for the public to see that state is taking action against civil inequalities.

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