Once again, Marsha Graham serves as the inspiration for this post. One of her replies to a previous article reminded me of something that happened to me before I became a Citizen.
In 1982, several members of the Boston Police, gang raped and murdered a 16-year-old honor student at a private bar called The Silver Shield Athletic Association, in Roxbury, Ma.
The resulting investigation uncovered the largest Police corruption case in the city’s history, one of the three largest cases in the nation.
A common practice was for members of District D to pick up prostitutes on Haviland Street, Hemenway St. and Symphony Road in Boston’s seedy East-Fens area. They would offer the girls a choice. Go in for booking – or take a ride. Essentially, the girls had no choice, and saw all this as part of the cost of doing business. The cops saw it as an unwritten perquisite in their benefits package.
On the night the cops picked up Lucia Roberts, they thought she was a prostitute, and offered her the deal. She said she had no idea what they were talking about. The cops assumed she was trying to get over on them and made the decision for her. They took her to the Silver shield.
Somewhere along the line, as they took turns on her, they realized their mistake. When she threatened to bring them up on charges, they knew they had a problem.
The only people to not believe that report were the girl’s parents. They took the case all the way up the ladder, to the Federal Attorney. When all was said and done, allegations ran up the chain of command, all the way to the Commissioner. Although the Lucia Roberts incident was only the tip of the iceberg, it served as the trigger that caused their entire house of cards to fall. The cops were exposed selling drugs, laundering money and carrying out gangland executions.
The Boston Globe released a report, over a thousand pages, listing names, dates and contacts. Many of the names in that report, including that of Whitey Bulger, are now household words. Months after the investigation concluded, people were still being transferred, demoted and reprimanded. A handful of the conspirators were actually fired. No one, however, served any time.
About three years later, a friend and I were hanging out behind a local pizza shop, smoking a joint. A cruiser pulled up along side of us and the cop got out. We tried feebly to hide the pot, but the jig was obviously, up.
The standing game, in those days, was that the cops would search us, and confiscate any marijuana they might find. They’d make a big show of telling us that they we’re going to do us a favor and not run us in. They’d get free reefer, we’d get to stay on the streets – fair deal all around. These were the rules, and we all knew how the game was played.
“No. I want to be arrested, and tomorrow morning, at the arraignment, I’d better see exactly, that amount of pot,” my friend, defiantly piped up.
“Don’t worry about him, officer, he forgot to take his medication,” I squealed, feeling the noose already tightening around my neck. “I’ll take him home,”
Again, my friend protested, throwing in the usual blather about Rights and the Constitution. Again, I managed to keep the cop from blowing his lid.
All of a sudden, this Wunderkind blurted out, “I remember the Silver Shield.”
The cop took out his Tonfa baton, grabbed me, put the nightstick up against my throat, and told me, “I’ll take you out in the fucking woods and shoot you – and claim you were trying to escape.” I could see the rage in his eyes.
I learned a lot that day. I learned just how far the Constitution goes, out in our alley jury world. I learned that stupid friends could get you killed. I learned that Justice rarely lands on the truly deserving – but above all, I learned, don’t piss off cops.
- Quincy was the one local police department Whitey Bulger hated (enterprisenews.com)
- Feds quietly end probe of ‘America’s toughest sheriff’ Joe Arpaio; no charges (righttruth.typepad.com)
- Lawyer: Whitey Bulger Will Testify At His Trial (boston.cbslocal.com)
- A license to kill? Notorious gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger argues he has … – Boston.com (boston.com)