Gross and Barr, smiling — in other words, one fraught photo op

US Attorney General William Barr, left, and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross appeared in a photo tweeted by the Justice Department.
US Attorney General William Barr, left, and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross appeared in a photo tweeted by the Justice Department.Justice Department

Nobody should be surprised to see Boston police commissioner stepping up

Boston Police Commissioner William G. Gross is unafraid (”Walsh advised Gross against Barr meeting,” Page A1, June 20). He put politics aside and chose what is best for the community by meeting with US Attorney General William Barr, notwithstanding the “swift and ferocious” criticism that would follow. Nobody should really be surprised.

Gross is the people’s police officer. The neighborhood is his office. He has long emphasized advanced community police training, and his tenure has emphasized de-escalation tactics.

During the meeting with the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Gross undoubtedly expressed his views and concerns as Boston’s first Black police commissioner, and maybe Attorney General Barr was a good listener.


Joseph E. Coffey


Gross let himself be used by this Justice Dept.

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross’s after-the-fact rationalization of his recent meeting with US Attorney General William Barr is not persuasive (“Gross says he gave Barr ‘an earful’ about Floyd’s killing,” Metro, June 21). His appearance grinning alongside Barr gives the appearance of aligning with him. At the very least, Gross let himself be used as a tool of the Trump administration’s Justice Department.

Gross exercised poor judgment and should recognize that the criticism he is receiving is deserved. Instead, he has engaged in thin-skinned justifications of his actions.

Kevin Kennedy


Politicians’ criticism of city’s top cop is outrageous

Boston politicians should be sanctioned for their criticism of Commissioner William Gross for his meeting with Attorney General William Barr, the top law enforcement official in the United States. In my day, it would have been considered simple protocol.

Phillip Vitti


The writer is retired command staff member of the Boston Police Department.

For context, let’s look at just one recent move by AG Barr

Based on the quote attributed to him (“Walsh advised Gross against Barr meeting”), US Attorney Andrew Lelling seems confused about tolerance, public dismay over Police Commissioner William Gross’s meeting with US Attorney General William Barr, and what free societies need to endure.


Lelling’s right: There is indeed a “terrifying, rising tide of intolerance for even listening to people with differing views,” and an “open exchange of ideas . . . is the bedrock of a free society.” However, the tide of intolerance and threat to free exchange come less from Gross’s critics airing their opinions than from a nation’s top law enforcement officer who would order a chemical and military-style attack on peaceful protesters to facilitate a president’s campaign stunt.

Kenneth Ormes


The writer is a lawyer.

These are the kinds of conversations we want to see

Friday’s front-page article “Sharply criticized, Gross defends meeting with Barr” shows how polarized and divided we’ve become. While we’ve been hearing much about having a conversation about race and policing, and about keeping the conversation going, Commissioner William Gross had such a conversation and is lambasted for consorting with the enemy. Who better for Attorney General Barr to speak with about policing and race than a Black police commissioner of a major city?

No matter what you think of Barr, I hope he meets with as many Black law enforcement officials as possible. These are the kinds of conversations we want to have.

Calling Gross’s meeting “a disgrace to our city and a breach of trust to our communities,” with no regard for what Gross told Barr (which sounded like all the right things), just perpetuates the notion of us vs. them and never the twain should speak.

Diane Sutty



An ‘uncomfortable’ exchange — that’s progress

There has been widespread condemnation of Police Commissioner William Gross’s conversation with Attorney General William Barr. Yet on Friday I opened the Globe and read a full-page ad (Page A9, June 19) asking us to take the “Black Safety Pledge,” one element of which is “to have uncomfortable conversations in solidarity with the Black community.”

It looks to me as if Gross and Barr may be more in line with the pledge than most.

David Mahoney


One key thing missing from the picture

I commend Commissioner Gross for meeting with Attorney General Barr. We must create a dialogue to address our differences. But I wish the commissioner had made a statement, in this time of the coronavirus, by wearing a mask.

Mike Cunningham