BOSTON (AP) — Supporters of eight Massachusetts families whose loved ones have died at the hands of police demonstrated in front of the Statehouse on Wednesday to press the governor to reopen past cases of what they call police brutality.
The families along with the organization Mass Action Against Police Brutality want Gov. Charlie Baker to assign a special prosecutor to look at the cases.
The protest is being held in solidarity and support of the family of Jacob Blake, the Black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin shot in the back by a white officer last month. The shooting sparked days of sometimes violent protests.
Protesters sitting on the Statehouse steps held signs that read “Dismantle White Supremacy” and “We Believe in Hope.”
“Many had given up on justice, but this movement has renewed people’s hopes that they can maybe now get some justice,” Brock Satter, an organizer for Mass Action Against Police Brutality, said at the rally.
“We just need to keep the pressure on. We just need to keep supporting these families and giving them a platform to tell their stories so that more people’s eyes can be opened to what’s really going on in this country,” he added.
The families of DJ Henry, Eurie Stamps, Malcolm Gracia, Burell Ramsey-White, Ross Batista, Usaamah Rahim, Terrence Coleman, and Juston Root are all currently involved in efforts to have their cases reopened.
Baker — asked about the concerns of the families at an afternoon press conference held before the protest — said he wasn’t sure if he had the legal authority to reopen a case.
“It’s always been my impression that the state official who has the most latitude with respect to reopening cases is the attorney general,” Baker said.
“I do know that the attorney general can choose to take cases that DA’s either don’t take or aren’t interested in,” he added. “I don’t know if the attorney general has the authority under existing law to reopen a case that’s been closed and as I stand here I don’t know if I do either.”
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