ARLINGTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Arlington's town manager has pledged to do "whatever it takes" to restore public trust after claims of racist remarks made by an Arlington Police lieutenant.
More than 1,000 residents in Arlington have signed a petition requesting more transparency from the town over it's handling of a police official accused of writing racist remarks in a Massachusetts Police Association newsletter, The Sentinel.
Lt. Rick Pedrini wrote to fellow officers in the newsletter that, after the deaths of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon and Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna, it was time to "forget about 'restraint,' 'measured responses,' 'procedural justice,' 'de-escalation,' 'stigma-reduction,' & other feel-good BS."
"Let's meet violence with violence and get the job done," Pedrini wrote.
Pedrini, who had been slated to become the Massachusetts Police Association's new executive director in January 2019, was placed on leave in October 2018 after the column's publication.
The petition was presented by a group called Arlington Fights Racism at an Arlington Select Board meeting Monday.
Petition organizers say they feel there's been a lack of transparency, as well as a failure to reach out to people who have been harmed by Lt. Pedrini's words.
Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdalaine spoke with WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe about the petition, and said the organizers are rightfully upset.
"We acknowledge trust is built over years, and lost in a day—we know we have a lot of work in that regard," Chapdalaine said. "This has been a very challenging chapter for all of us. There's clearly disagreement about the way we handled it, and likely disagreement about the path forward. But I am taking it, and have been taking it, very seriously."
Chapdalaine said he's already agreed to four of the five recommendations contained in the petition, including hiring an outside organization to review the department for bias, developing anti-racism training for police, and keeping Lt. Pedrini on desk duty for the time being.
"Some of it's already underway, or at least we're trying to put the pieces in place to get it underway. It's the fifth one—the establishment of a civilian review board—that, I've told petitioners, I'm not opposed to, but I didn't feel it was appropriate for me to take the initiative to create."
He said he felt it was more appropriate for that to be created by citizens through the town's initiative process at Town Meeting.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports