The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association on Tuesday took aim on social media at a counterprotester who waved a toy pig in the face of police at a Copley Square demonstration over the weekend and asked members to think twice before patronizing a restaurant where she was photographed working behind the bar.
But the union’s attempt to draw attention to the counterprotester by posting a picture of her working at Yellow Door Taqueria had a major flaw: She hasn’t been an employee at the business, partly owned by Dropkick Murphys lead singer Ken Casey, in two years.
“Our apologies to the fine folks and management at @yellowdoortaco,” the union wrote on Twitter several hours after first post about the counterprotester, Caitríona O’Grady. “Since our original post, we’ve learned the individual who disparaged, disrespected and denigrated our officers on Sunday is no longer employed by the establishment and hasn’t been for some time. Our apologies.”
Our apologies to the fine folks and management at @yellowdoortaco. Since our original post, we’ve learned the individual who disparaged, disrespected and denigrated our officers on Sunday is no longer employed by the establishment and hasn’t been for some time. Our apologies. pic.twitter.com/3OyHCwWfqa— Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) (@BostonPatrolmen) October 20, 2020
In the first tweet about O’Grady, the union published a photograph of her holding a toy pig up to the face of a Boston police officer next to the photograph of her in the restaurant. The photograph of O’Grady and the officer appeared to be a screenshot from her own Instagram account.
“To be clear, we’re not looking to bully or boycott anybody," the first tweet from the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association Twitter account said. "But, @yellowdoortaco should know that we like our martinis served with dignity and respect. As such, we’ll be encouraging our members to think twice before spending any of their money on any of Ms. O’Grady’s concoctions.”
Through a spokeswoman, association president Larry Calderone declined to comment further, saying the tweets speak for themselves.
A spokesman for the restaurant didn’t identify O’Grady by name but said she hadn’t worked for Yellow Door Taqueria since 2018. He declined to comment further.
To be clear, we’re not looking to bully or boycott anybody. But, @yellowdoortaco should know that we like our martinis served with dignity and respect. As such, we’ll be encouraging our members to think twice before spending any of their money on any of Ms. O’Grady’s concoctions. pic.twitter.com/Ad5ReMpIZd— Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) (@BostonPatrolmen) October 20, 2020
The police union tweet came on the same day that the local blog Turtleboy Sports posted about O’Grady, including photographs of her at Sunday’s event. The blog referred to her as a “poster child for elitist privilege.”
On Instagram, O’Grady described her encounter with officers while demonstrating Sunday against a rally organized by Super Happy Fun America, the right-wing group that put on last year’s Straight Pride Parade.
“My eyes are burning from the pepper spray on my clothes, my body is recovering from the batons I took to the shoulder and neck,” she wrote on Instagram.
She also wrote she experienced “moments of levity" while “tormenting racist cops with my rubber piggy” and “taking the steps” at the Boston Public Library where Super Happy Fun America supporters had gathered.
In response to questions from the Globe, O’Grady said early Wednesday that she was not directly pepper sprayed, but the substance’s residue clung to her clothing. She also said officers held batons horizontally “to push us to the ground.”
“The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association’s tweet will not stop me from exercising my First Amendment right to protest,” O’Grady wrote.
A Boston police spokesman said he couldn’t comment on whether she had filed a complaint with internal affairs.
The office of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins also didn’t respond Tuesday to an inquiry.
Boston police have said they arrested two city residents at the event, Gregory Abrams, 31, and Niam Ball, 25, but their names were redacted from arrest reports released Tuesday by the department.
The redacted reports said some counterprotesters broke through steel barriers in Copley Square that were put in place to keep distance between the Super Happy Fun America rally and counterprotesters.
In the reports, one officer said he released pepper spray after being punched by a man, and a detective wrote he was treated at a hospital after being hit in the face and struck by pepper spray.
Video from the event published on social media show officers using long batons to push back a crowd. Counterprotesters also burned an effigy of President Trump.
Matty Owens, 22, an Allston resident who videotaped the event, said he was struck with pepper spray and saw officers hit demonstrators with batons.
The officers intervened, he said, when counterprotesters moved some of the steel barriers.
“When people didn’t move from the barricades, [the police] started hitting them,” he said. “I saw batons being swung, and they were hitting everyone nearby.”
He said one person swung back at the police and was then tackled to the ground.
“They whacked the guy in the [expletive] head when he was on the ground ... two cops jumped on top of him,” he said. “Then out of nowhere, a police officer ran up and said ‘get back, get back’ and then pepper sprays. I saw it, I lost vision.”
Owens said he videotaped O’Grady confronting officers with the toy pig at a recent demonstration in West Roxbury.
“You are not supposed to get mad when someone puts a squeaky toy in your face as a police officer,” Owens said. “She is great and doesn’t do much more than just gallop around at protests and squeak in officers' faces.”
This story was updated on Wednesday to include comments from O’Grady.