It’s commendable that Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis has demoted the police detective responsible for last year’s investigative blunder that may have allowed Edwin Alemany — a “person of interest’’ in the recent murder of Amy Lord — to remain on the street. But a good disciplinary and public relations strategy can’t begin to erase the harm that has been done in this case.
Davis indicated that the detective failed to follow up on a case in which an architectural student was assaulted on a Mission Hill street and choked into a state of unconsciousness. The young woman remembers grabbing at her attacker’s pocket and woke to find herself clutching Alemany’s wallet. Despite such evidence, the detective made only a perfunctory effort to pursue the case, citing a lack of probable cause to make an arrest. Alemany, who prosecutors say has a long history of violence, resurfaced last week as a suspect in the street assaults on two other women in South Boston during a 19-hour period.