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Boston civil rights group reports death threats for speaking out against racism

People held up placards during a "Black Lives Matter" rally in Boston.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

A civil rights group in Boston said Thursday that it had received death threats in recent days for speaking out against racism and had its Twitter account suspended.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, commented in a statement on the threats leveled against his group.

“Over the past few days, Lawyers for Civil Rights has received death threats targeting our staff for standing against racism,” Espinoza-Madrigal said. “Now, our twitter account (@LCRBOSTON) has been suspended after concerted targeting by those trying to divide and silence us.”

The suspension had been lifted as of about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Espinoza-Madrigal said the group had most recently issued a statement signed by more than 30 racial justice organizations, lawmakers, community leaders, and clergy in support of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s “firm stance against police brutality and racism.”


Rollins earlier this week clashed with the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, which wrote a letter criticizing comments she made amid protests over the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis when a white police officer pinned his knee on his neck while he was handcuffed, despite Floyd’s plea that he couldn’t breathe.

Lawyers for Civil Rights on Wednesday evening released a statement backing Rollins and calling on the union “to immediately retract their letter” and apologize to her and Boston’s communities of color.

“We all have a duty to protect Black lives,” Espinoza-Madrigal said in Thursday’s statement, “This national crisis hits particularly close to home in Boston, where we represent Hope Coleman, the mother of Terrence Coleman, a young Black man who was killed by Boston police officers when the family requested medical assistance. We will continue to fight for justice for George Floyd, Terrence Coleman and countless others. We will not be bullied, intimidated or silenced.”


Coleman, 31, was fatally shot by Boston police in 2016 after his mother had called 911 seeking help for her son, who battled mental illness. Police said Coleman had turned on officers and EMTs with a knife, but his family and a neighbor disputed that account.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.