Joseph Lynch, a 16-year veteran with the Boston Police Department, has been placed on administrative leave following the department’s internal affairs’ investigation into allegations he directed racial slurs toward Black and Latino students from Roxbury Prep High School at a local McDonald’s.
According to the New York Post, Lynch’s assignment to District E-18 in Hyde Park came to an end on Sept. 13 after a misconduct report was filed, according to Sgt. John Boyle, the police department’s spokesman. The reported incident occurred after a manager at the McDonald’s called police and stated that the group of students were being rowdy and refused to leave the premises.
Officer Lynch arrived at the scene and allegedly removed the crew of freshmen and sophomores by force while referring to them as “monkeys” and “n-words,” according to Rafaela Martínez- mother of one of the boys at Roxbury Prep High School.
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“The police officer was asking them to leave, but then he changed his attitude and started pushing the kids and using bad language toward them,” she explained.
Martínez also stated she understands the children’s hostility toward Officer Lynch due to people of color’s distrust of law enforcement agents. However, she maintained that the officer’s treatment of the teens was egregious because “they are still children.”
“For me as a mom, I’m seeing both sides,” she said. “The kids were really loud, up in his face trying to record him. The police officer is still a human being. Sometimes we just have a bad day.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins weighed in on the incident and pending investigation after visiting the school to speak with students and to apologize for the officer’s actions.
Rollins said students at the school told her that they felt ” attacked, racialized and dehumanized. They also expressed how the incident “fueled further distrust of law enforcement.”
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross offered an apology on behalf of the department.
“My apology was that they had a negative interaction, and that could have caused them Shto not trust the police,” Gross said.
Roxbury Prep High School is a charter school in the Boston-area with five campuses total and two high school campuses- a ninth and 10th graders campus in Hyde Park and a campus in Roxbury for juniors and seniors. The student population is 57% Black, roughly 40% Hispanic, 1% white, and 2% other.
Although the city of Boston’s minority population has increased, the Boston Police Department does not reflect that change in its police force. Minority recruits have declined in the last few years. The site for the department appears to be diverse, but according to www.governing.com, white police officers make up almost 70% of the police force in Boston.
Minority communities’ police departments must represent the population of the people they are policing. Unfortunately, the city of Boston is failing its residents.
It’s important to note that the Boston Police Department’s officer personnel files and record of past disciplinary actions are confidential.