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So, police take hard look at internal affairs? News to us

The article No-bid police adviser was focus of LA suit” (Metro, Nov. 25) was surprising, and not just because of the no-bid issue and the consultant’s background, which were the focus of the article.

It was news to advocates assisting people with complaints against Boston officers that the Police Department had hired a consultant, Michael Berkow, to review problems with the internal affairs division. Berkow has apparently concluded his work without talking to any of us.

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The experience of those affected by problems with internal affairs should be useful to someone reviewing the process. Yet the consultant never contacted groups such as the ACLU of Massachusetts, the National Police Accountability Project, the Boston NAACP, or the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, or well-known, individual civil-rights lawyers such as Howard Friedman.

We look forward to finding out more about the results of Berkow’s work, and hope that effective changes will be made. Still, there is skepticism because recommendations have been made (and not implemented) before, such as in the St. Clair Commission report dating back to 1992.

As it stands, many people don’t bother filing or pursuing complaints about Boston police officers because of intolerably long delays and inadequate investigations that invariably exonerate the officers.

Sarah Wunsch

Staff attorney

ACLU Foundation

of Massachusetts


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