All Mayoral Candidates Except 1 Want To Reallocate Money From Police Budget

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — During a virtual forum on Tuesday night with five mayoral candidates, the conversation was dominated by the topic of police reform.

The forum was held on Zoom by the Ward 4 and Ward 5 Democratic committees and moderated by WGBH radio and TV host Callie Crossley.

Earlier that day, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts of murder and the investigation file of former Boston police officer Patrick Rose for allegedly sexually assaulting children was released.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who is also running for a full term, held a press conference at City Hall about Chauvin's verdict at the same time of this forum so she did not attend. Janey stated she is pushing for racial justice and police reform in the city of Boston.

City Councilor Michelle Wu, City Councilor Andrea Campbell, state Rep. Jon Santiago, and former city economic development chief John Barros had a consensus of wanting money within the Boston Police Department reallocated into proper training and finding the root of the problem.

However, City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George said at the forum that she doesn't think increased social programs should come at the expense of the police budget.

“I do not support defunding the police,” she said. “Chances are, if you’re ending up in our justice system, it’s so many of our other systems that have failed you along the way. And that’s why we need to really invest in those community programs.”

READ MORE: Activist Leader With King Boston Responds To Derek Chauvin Conviction

Last week, Janey presented a $3.75 billion city operation budget for the fiscal 2022 year. In the budget, approximately $21 million would be cut from the BPD overtime budget.

“We need to work to make sure that our Boston Police Department is fully staffed and functioning,” Essaibi George said.

Former city economic development chief John Barros spoke out about the internal files being released.

"We demand far greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement,” he said. “No one is above the law.”

State Representative Jon Santiago, also running for city's executive, said Rose's actions are "unforgivable."

"We must commit ourselves to delivering justice for the survivors and rebuilding the public trust,” Santiago said.

City Councilor Andrea Campbell said that the police department "looked the other way."

“This cover-up rose to the highest leadership levels of the Boston Police Department and protected and enabled him to target and abuse other children. There is no greater violation of trust and no failure of leadership more sickening,” Campbell said.

“Boston must meet this horrific breach of trust with the fullest commitment to transparency and change,” said Wu. “We need a fully independent investigation, and we need to completely overhaul a culture of secrecy that has been revealed again and again.”

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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