A minority law enforcement officers group is calling for the editor of a Boston police union newsletter to resign following an outcry over the paper’s content, which critics say is often hostile toward racial and religious minorities and which has prompted several businesses to pull their ads.
Boston police Sergeant Jose Lozano, vice president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, said Thursday that Officer James Carnell should resign as managing editor of Pax Centurion, the newsletter of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, because of statements he and others have made in the paper that have angered many union members.
“All you have to do is go to certain [online] forums . . . and you can tell that members of the BPPA, specifically the minority members, are highly upset,” Lozano said.
Neither Carnell nor union president Thomas J. Nee responded to messages seeking comment on Thursday.
Lozano’s remarks came after several advertisers — including Simmons College, LoJack, and Harpoon Brewery — said last week that they would stop advertising in Pax Centurion following criticism the newsletter received for remarks that appeared recently in its pages.
As an example, Lozano cited a vulgar reference that Officer Jay Moccia made about Middle Eastern women. In the latest issue, Moccia joked about reports of a proposal in the Egyptian Parliament to allow a man to have sex with his wife after she has died.
In a phone interview Thursday, Moccia said he meant no harm by the joke. “It’s all done in good fun and tongue-in-cheek,” he said. “I think the joke about the Egyptian government is an old recycled bit, an old joke I’ve heard before.”
He said the joke was based on a report that he read on the English-language website of Al Arabiya, a news organization based in Dubai, about a proposal in the Egyptian Parliament to make it legal for a husband to have relations with his wife within hours of her death.
“I just thought I’d make a little light of it, finding it rather humorous,” he said. “I stand behind everything I wrote.”
In a statement, Simmons College said it advertised in the newsletter to support the union’s scholarship fund. The school will continue to support the fund through a direct donation, the statement said.
A college spokeswoman, Kalimah Redd Knight, said in an e-mail that no single passage in the newsletter prompted the decision to pull the ads, but “rather the overall disrespectful tone and poor quality of the content.”
“Simmons has a long history of supporting women’s education and diversity and inclusion, so when we learned about the content, we felt it did not reflect our values as an institution and decided to no longer advertise with the newsletter,” Knight said.
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis blasted the paper last week on Twitter. “This juvenile conduct is wrong and not [representative] of today’s officer,” Davis wrote in response to queries about the newsletter. He could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
Lozano said Davis should do more to voice his displeasure with the newsletter. He also said the minority officers group hopes Nee will seek a leadership change at Pax Centurion.
“We would hope that Tommy Nee might have somewhat of a relationship,” he said. “It would be smart to ask [Carnell] to step down. It’s obvious that [Carnell] doesn’t represent the majority of good officers.”
In 2010, Pax Centurion came under fire for running a cartoon of President Obama dressed as a superhero dubbed “Obama Dog,” as well as a picture of the First Couple, their left hands over their hearts, instead of their right, as they saluted the flag under a headline questioning whether they were American.
A Globe review of past issues of Pax Centurion at the time showed the newspaper had printed many positive stories about minorities, along with photos of black and Latino officers holding awards.
“Our members do tend to be on the conservative end, and we allow editorial expression from our members,” Carnell told the Globe in 2010.