Monthly Archives: October 2010

2 Very Different Rallies In The 10th

Published October 31, 2010

Candidates for the closely watched 10th Congressional District are moving at full speed this weekend. I attended rallies for both Democrat Bill Keating and Republican Jeff Perry on Saturday and came away with two very different impressions.

At the Elks Lodge in Quincy, a roster of Democratic royalty practically begged supporters to help keep the party in power. Vicki Kennedy, Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Ed Markey and retiring Rep. Bill Delahunt all said the House can’t fall into Republican hands on Tuesday.

“This election is as serious as a heart attack, man, this is real, this election is more important than the last election,” said Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke off the cuff for about 15 minutes too long.

[pullquote author=”Vice President Joe Biden” align=”right”]“Reports of the death of the Democratic party are premature.”[/pullquote]

The star speaker paraphrased Mark Twain: “Reports of the death of the Democratic party are premature.”

I was sent to photograph the event, so I observed the latter half of Biden’s speech from the press riser. As Biden wrapped up and rallied the troops to get out the vote, I waited for the moment of euphoria to get the perfect crowd shot. It never really came.

My colleague Lisa Tobin and I drove a few miles to the next town over, Weymouth, and found Jeff Perry and his red-shirted supporters throwing a party on the sidewalk. They waved American flags and Perry signs. They mercilessly made of fun of liberals. Some showed up in Halloween costumes. Supportive car horns blared.

In Quincy, I witnessed the old guard of Massachusetts politics, seemingly desperate to hold on to something that started to slip away when Scott Brown rose to power 10 months ago. In Weymouth, I saw a merry band of insurgents, jubilant about something that feels just within reach.

Afterward, I tweeted my impressions:

If the election were decided on the energy of rallies alone, it’ll be Perry over Keating by a long shot.

Twitterer @professorU replied: “Energy at rallies can lead to energy at GOTV.”

Polls show Keating and Perry in a dead heat. The race may be decided by the side that gets people more excited to go to the polls.

Photo Of The Day: Happy Jack, Sad Jack

Published October 31, 2010

Photographer Jeremy Brooks submitted this picture of his jack-o-lanterns in the Back Bay to the WBUR Flickr group.

Happy Face Sad Face (Jeremy Brooks/Flickr)

Happy Face Sad Face (Jeremy Brooks/Flickr)

Happy Halloween, everyone! (I’m going as a reporter working all weekend. What about you?)

Desk Duty For Boston Cop Seen Punching Teen On YouTube

Published October 29, 2010

Boston Patrol Officer Michael T. McManus, in plain clothes, appears to punch and kick the teenager.

Boston Patrol Officer Michael T. McManus, in plain clothes, appears to punch and kick the teenager.

The Boston cop seen punching and kneeing a 16-year-old suspect at Roxbury Community College is on administrative duty while a Suffolk County prosecutor reviews the case.

The officer is identified as Michael T. McManus.

The arrest was recorded on video and posted to YouTube on Tuesday, prompting some groups and elected officials to condemn the BPD for “police brutality.” Many others have expressed support for the police.

“This personnel decision is in the best interest of the ongoing internal investigation,” Davis said in a statement today. “I would like to reiterate my commitment to ensuring an open and transparent investigation.”

Chuck Turner Is Found Guilty On All 4 Counts

Published October 29, 2010

A federal jury on Friday convicted Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner of accepting a $1,000 bribe and lying to the authorities.

  • 1 count of attempted extortion under the color of official act: Guilty
  • 3 counts of making false statements to the FBI: Guilty

The jury delivered the verdicts on Day 2 of deliberations. Turner’s lawyer said he will appeal.

Prosecutors said Turner accepted a wad of cash from informant Ron Wilburn in August 2007 and then lied to FBI agents about having met Wilburn.

A secret video of the alleged bribe — the government’s key piece of evidence — showed something changing hands between Turner and the informant.

WBUR’s David Boeri, reporting from federal court, says Turner nodded his head slightly as the verdicts were delivered. Turner’s lawyer, Barry Wilson, put his forehead on the desk.

During his trial, Turner took the witness stand to defend himself, insisting that he did not take the bribe from Wilburn, who was seeking help in getting a liquor license from the city and was cooperating with the FBI.

Turner faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for extortion and an additional five years for each perjury count. He remains free until sentencing Jan. 25, 2011.

Turner has represented the 7th District, which covers Roxbury, Fenway and the South End, for six terms.

“Today is a very sad and unfortunate day for the city of Boston,” said Mayor Thomas Menino in a statement. “I remain shocked at the actions Councilor Turner has been found guilty of today and will continue to work hard promoting a spirit of public trust and confidence in our elected officials and government agencies.”

Radio Boston Rundown: Cahill, DJ Henry, Mystery Meet

Published October 29, 2010

Friday at 3 p.m. on Radio Boston:

Tim Cahill. We finish our series of conversations with the candidates for governor with the independent candidate. Cahill is down in the polls and making his last appeal for votes. He takes your calls and questions.

The week in review. Boston Globe columnist Renee Loth and independent journalist Ken Cooper join us to talk about the final days of the 2010 campaign season.  And we discuss a recent arrest at Roxbury Community College, which has some people accusing Boston police of using excessive force.

DJ Henry memorial. The Pace University student from Easton is remembered today in a ceremony at the Boston convention center.  WBUR’s Monica Brady Myerov is there and brings us the latest in the investigation into his shooting death by police in New York state on Oct. 17.

Mystery meet. A unique supper club in Boston has diners eating in the dark. Blindfolds keep them from seeing any of the food they consume.

Mass. Governor’s ‘Race’ Is Now A Campy Video Game

Published October 29, 2010

Dodge pork, red tape and the opposing candidates in “Race for the Ballot,” a delightfully low-quality Flash game from three students at Becker College in Worcester.

Undergrads Adam DeZago, Shaun Dutton and Torrey Kimball created the game in their spare time to make the mid-terms more engaging. (The mid-term elections, that is.)

Turns out Becker is ranked by Princeton Review as No. 1 in New England for video-game design. (Who knew?)

Becker College students designed a video game for the Massachusetts governor's race.

Becker College students designed a video game for the Massachusetts governor's race.

My favorite candidate outfit is Jill Stein.

Friday Morning: GOTV Weekend; Halloween For Grown-Ups

Published October 29, 2010

What’s news on a chilly Friday morning in Boston:

On the home stretch, it’s GOTV weekend. “The candidates for governor will use the weekend to crisscross the state and rally likely voters.” (ElectionWire)

Patrick remains ahead by 7 points in a new poll.Polls can be wrong, late surges are possible (just ask US Senator Scott Brown) and the candidacies of independent Timothy Cahill and Green-Rainbow Party candidate Jill Stein remain wild cards. But the Suffolk University/7 News poll is the latest in a series of polls in recent weeks that have shown Patrick with an edge.” (Globe)

Sean Bielat is receiving a surge of out-of-state donations. The nation is watching the 4th congressional race. (Globe)

Chuck Turner invokes the Mark Twain defense in closing arguments. “If you tell the truth, it’s not a problem if you don’t remember.” (WBUR)

Halloween is like Christmas for artists. “A group of adult artists has a question: Why should kids have all the scary fun?” (WBUR)

Photo Of The Day: Cute Couple

Published October 28, 2010

A couple (Terence S. Jones/Flickr)

A couple (Terence S. Jones/Flickr)

Photographer Terence S. Jones shot the Hubbub Photo of the Day a couple of days ago in Somerville. (PS, Jones is on an ambitious project to shoot and upload a photo every day for 365 days. Check out his stuff.)

Join WBUR’s Flickr group and submit your best shots.

DA Assigns Senior Prosecutor To Review RCC Arrest

Published October 28, 2010

At the Boston Police Department’s request, the Suffolk County district attorney has assigned a senior prosecutor to review the arrest of a 16-year-old boy last week at Roxbury Community College, which was recorded on video and posted to YouTube on Tuesday.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

The video appears to show an officer pinning down and punching and kneeing the teenager.

Suffolk DA Daniel Conley said he is tapping Josh Wall, a prosecutor with more than 15 years experience who oversaw reforms in the use of eyewitness evidence by Boston police.

“It’s important for everyone involved that there be independent eyes reviewing what occurred here,” Conley said in a statement.

The boy — who is not identified because of his age — was arraigned Monday. The district attorney said he was previously charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and trespassing.

Comment threads around the Web show both support and condemnation of Boston police.

Hubbub commenter lee writes: “How do you coax this type of person into getting into handcuffs. Ask them nicely?” Commenter richard taylor adds:

Having been a bouncer in my college days in Kenmore Square and Cambridge, I have been in many situations where, to get control of a combative person, you needed a few bnouncers to use force to subdue and remove uthis type of drunk and combative patron. Even if someone is five feet five inches and weighs 120 pounds, they–including women– can be very strong; you must overwhelm with physical force and pain compliance tactics to cotrol their violent behavior before this person injures others or those trying to control him.

An anonymous commenter on Universal Hub concludes: “The moral is ‘Get cuffed up or get roughed up.'”

But YouTube commenter pat61778 writes: “TYPICAL police brutality against the minority community.” And At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley tweets: “I am shocked and deeply troubled by what I saw on this video.”

An ad-hoc group called the Boston Black Men’s Leadership Group held a news conference earlier to condemn what it calls “police brutality.” Earlier, I spoke with the group’s spokesman, Jamarhl Crawford.

“He had no weapon, he’s not an imposing figure, 16-year-old guy,” Crawford said. “They have plenty of tools at their disposal, I think, to handle that situation in another manner than it was handled.”

Crawford is calling for the establishment of a police oversight panel with subpoena power and a citizen review board. He is asking the mayor and BPD brass to hold a town-hall meeting in which “we go through all the tough stuff.”

BPD Commissioner Ed Davis said officers used force in the arrest, but the investigation will decide whether it was excessive or appropriate.

RCC Arrest Video: What Is Going On Here?

Published October 28, 2010

When the Globe first flagged it yesterday afternoon, some 350 people had viewed this YouTube video, which appears to show a plainclothes Boston police officer punching and kicking a young man on the ground at Roxbury Community College. Now the video has racked up more than 14,000 views.

Police Commissioner Ed Davis has seen the video, and he says it’s clear the police used force. The question is whether the force was excessive or appropriate. Davis said he reviewing the footage, as well as surveillance video from the school.

Here is context from today’s Globe story:

The teenager, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, was wanted on outstanding warrants and for escaping Department of Youth Services custody. He was seen Friday by Boston police and a DYS worker entering the college’s administration building. An officer told him to stop, and he did, according to police reports.

But according to the reports, the teenager resisted when an officer attempted to place handcuffs on him, and at one point grabbed the handcuffs from the officer. A struggle ensued, and the teenager was taken to the ground after flailing his arms and throwing punches, according to police reports.

Before you watch the video, keep in mind:

  • You weren’t there.
  • You can’t see the suspect most of the time.
  • You can’t see what did or did not happen before the video started.
  • Though the video does not appear to be edited, it might have been.
  • The video is uncomfortable to watch and contains explicit language.

Now, tell me, what do you think is going on here?

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