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editorial

Boston police commissioner’s son benefits from special treatment

A young man gets into a pickup truck and starts driving out of a parking garage near TD Garden. A passerby tells a police officer the driver might be under the influence of alcohol, so the officer stops him.

After talking to the driver, the officer determines the driver had been drinking, but isn’t sure if he’s impaired. Then, the driver identifies himself as Philip Davis, the 22-year-old son of Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.

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The young man isn’t arrested. Instead, he and his girlfriend are driven home.

It’s a happy ending any parent and child would appreciate. Supposedly, police give rides home in such circumstances more often than people realize. However, in this instance, it happened only after Davis identified himself as the son of the police commissioner.

The commissioner, who has declined comment about the matter, asked his second in command, Superintendent in Chief Daniel Linskey, to investigate the incident. Linskey’s report has been forwarded to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley. The DA’s investigation is “ongoing,” according to a spokeswoman, who said she could provide no further details.

The outcome so far has the air of special treatment. Philip Davis reportedly told the police officer that he didn’t want to upset the officer or his father, and suggested, “If you’re concerned I can just park the car and get home another way.” The officer, who had just finished his shift, instead offered to drive him home.

Such generosity, which clearly is not available to every young man and woman who has a little too much to drink and gets behind the wheel, sends the message that people with the right connections can talk their way out of legal trouble. Both Linskey and Commissioner Davis should make it clear to everyone in the department that there is no special treatment for friends and family of bosses, fellow officers, politicians, or anyone else who might have a claim on police loyalties.

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