Massachusetts police chiefs are blasting U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the second time in a year over “reckless” comments about law enforcement in what they call “another slap in the face” that endangers cops — and now threatens to tarnish her ongoing presidential campaign.
The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association wrote to Warren Tuesday saying her Friday tweet that black teen Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., was “murdered by a white police officer” is “appalling.”
The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful — who is now polling in second and third place in the primary race — is putting officers’ lives in danger with her campaign-trail rhetoric, the chiefs say. Last summer, the group criticized her after she accused the entire justice system of being “racist … front to back.”
“This is about one issue: I don’t want to see another officer unnecessarily murdered. It’s that simple,” Yarmouth police Chief Frank G. Frederickson told the Herald. “This hurts, and every chief feels the same way.”
One of Frederickson’s officers, Sgt. Sean Gannon, 32, was killed in Barnstable in April 2018 while while trying to serve an arrest warrant on a career criminal. Three months later, Weymouth police officer Michael Chesna, 42, was killed in the line of duty while chasing down a suspect who also killed an elderly woman.
“This is not about politics. This is about standing up for our officers,” Frederickson said.
He challenged Warren to spend some time in a police department “to see what actually takes place.” Frederickson said he’s also willing to face the heat, again, over his criticism if it keeps officers safe.
Warren’s tweet came on the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting. The unarmed 18-year-old black man’s shooting by a police officer was ruled an act of “self-defense” by the U.S. Department of Justice. The shooting led to weeks of rioting and protest and eventually prompted then-President Barack Obama to address the nation about race.
Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens, president of the chiefs group, wrote in his letter to Warren that what she tweeted was “based on false information” and the DOJ ruled “Michael Brown was not murdered.” He urged her to read the report.
“Your reckless tweet will only serve to create hatred towards Police Officers and place them in danger of more assaults and perhaps death,” Stevens added in his letter. “Having had two Police Officers murdered in your own state, in the past 18 months, we expect our elected Officials to condemn the murder and assaults of Police Officers. Instead on multiple occasions, you choose to fan the fires of divide for you own political gains. Shame on you!”
Warren’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.