BOSTON (CBS) – Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the looting and violence associated with recent protests sparked by the death of George Floyd are “unacceptable.” However, she said, she supports the largely peaceful protests that Boston has seen over the past week.
Rollins spoke with WBZ-TV’s Liam Martin on Wednesday about the protests in Boston and recent criticisms of her by a Boston Police union.
Last year, Rollins dropped some charges against protesters at a different rally. She said in the case of recent protests, which resulted in more than 50 arrests, no dismissals will be allowed without the approval of her first assistant and that most cases will be prosecuted.
“This is not, you know, a handful of elderly protesters outside of the sheriff’s office upset about ICE detainees. We are seeing people looting and breaking into buildings and burning our city. That’s not what we stand for. That’s not what these community activists who actually are building up the community, that’s not what they are about. We have been looking at every single one of these cases and have moved forward on the overwhelming majority of those.”
Rollins said she feels it’s time to have a real conversation about policing. “I respect the majority of police officers are honorable and decent and kind and culturally competent people. Our outrage is not aimed at them. It is aimed at the rogue criminal officers, like the ones we saw, who came into contact with George Floyd.”
Rollins, who participated in a rally of minority leaders calling for changes to state law on Tuesday, said, “George Floyd lost his life over a $20 counterfeit bill. Even if all of that is true, even if he counterfeited that bill and walked in and tried to buy cigarettes, is his life worth more than $20?”
The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, condemned a recent tweet from Rollins which included the phrase “no more words.” In a statement, the union said, “we write to condemn your reckless statements labeling all police officers ‘murderers’ and the corresponding tweets that undoubtedly incited violence against the proud men and women of the Boston Police Department.”
Rollins responded: “I’m still waiting with bated breath to read their statement denouncing the murder of George Floyd and their peers who engaged in that criminal, homicidal behavior. So, once I get that, I’d love to comment.”
The DA said she still respects “upstanding members of law enforcement.”
“If you don’t have numerous excessive force complaints and, you know, violations in your record like the officer that killed George Floyd did, we will get along quite well and I will be your strongest ally and advocate,” Rollins said. “But if you are any of those things that I previously said, no, we aren’t going to get along.”
Rollins said that she will not turn away from injustice. “What I’m talking about is more than words. I’m talking about murder. I’m talking about police brutality and targeting and racial profiling,” she said.