Police Chief: Boston Protesting "the Right Way" - NECN
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Police Chief: Boston Protesting "the Right Way"

Boston organizers say the protest is a call for justice against police violence in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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    Police Chief: Boston Protesting "the Right Way"

    Boston organizers say the protest is a call for justice against police violence in the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. (Published Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014)

    About 1,000 protesters twisted their way through Boston Saturday, starting first at the Massachusetts State House and Boston Common.

    While organizers say these rallies started with incidents in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, similar race relations issues exist in Massachusetts, as well.

    "I think that that's why so many people are responding," said organizer Brandi Artez. "They're angry because they're tired of the way that black and minority communities in Boston are policed."

    Protesters held a die-in in which people sat down to signify those killed through police brutalty in Leverett Circle, then continued to Government Center and the North End

    "I'm kind of tired of how the police been treating the black community," said Kenneth Joyner while marching. "I'm somewhat fed up. I've experienced racism in my life."

    "I think it's great that people of all ages, races, genders, are showing up and sticking with it," said Sarah Wunsch.

    Outside the Nashua Street Jail, several protesters clashed with police after trying to break through a barrier.

    State police confirm 23 people were arrested, all for disorderly conduct. Overall, however, Boston Police Chief William Gross says protesters peacefully used voices of logic.

    "You're not destroying your city," said Gross. "You know how to exercise your first amendment rights in the right way."

    Artez says while Boston Police work toward community policing, it's undercover officers, not uniformed officers, that minority communities find issues with the most.

    "You can't have that relationship if you come into out neighborhoods and treat us badly," she said. "It doesn't make us trust you, it doesn't make us want to talk to you about crimes or anything like that, it just makes us say that we don't see anything, we don't know anything."

    It's a sentiment Gross says his department is committed to improving. He says Boston Police are ahead of the curve in academy training when it comes to procedural justice and unconscious bias.

    Gross says, if fully vetted and carefully worked to ensure everyone's rights are protected, they are not opposed to body cameras, either.

    The rally is expected to wrap up back outside the State House.

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