The general election candidates for Boston City Council and Mayor yesterday received a questionnaire asking them to describe their views on a range of policing issues. The questionnaire was prepared by the ACLU of Massachusetts, Muslim Justice League, Families for Justice as Healing, Digital Fourth, Council on American-Islamic Relations - Massachusetts, Jewish Voice for Peace - Boston, Young Abolitionists, Boston Police Camera Action Team, and Boston Coalition for Police Accountability.
The questionnaire asks candidates to provide their positions on policing issues related to immigration, information sharing with the federal government, surveillance, racial profiling, drug arrests, police militarization, use of force, plain clothes policing, overtime spending, and transparency and public accountability.
“In November 2016, the country and the world got a shocking reminder that elections matter,” said Carol Rose, executive director of ACLU of Massachusetts. “Municipal elections often don’t get enough attention, but our local elected officials have immense power to shape and implement policies that impact all of us. We are eager to read the candidates’ responses to our questionnaire, and to inform the people of Boston about where the candidates stand on these vital matters. An informed electorate is an empowered electorate.”
“At a time when all marginalized communities are under increased attacks from the current federal administration, it is critical that we understand how our local policing practices exacerbate these issues and what our elected officials will do to ensure the safety of communities of color, including immigrants and Muslims,” said Fatema Ahmad, deputy director of Muslim Justice League.
“Stark racial disparities in policing practices are a cornerstone of systemic racism in Boston, and policing policy affects every aspect of life in our city,” said Mallory Hanora of Families for Justice as Healing. “These issues must be addressed by our elected officials. We've heard rhetoric that we can't 'arrest our way out' of social problems, but we want to know candidates' action plans for meeting the needs of all Bostonians.”
“Municipal elections are a great reminder of the power our Democratic process holds,” said Nazia Ashraful, Government Affairs Director of CAIR-MA. “Mayors and City Councilors are the foundation of Boston, and it is up to us as voters to hold them accountable to their political platforms. The Muslim community needs to know where their elected officials stand on the relevant and critical issue of their unwarranted surveillance, as brought up in this questionnaire. We are looking forward to the candidate responses so that we can make well informed electoral decisions this November.”
The candidates have been asked to respond to the questionnaire by October 11, so the advocacy groups have time to collate and publish their responses for the public before the general election in November.