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City councilors want internal police report on Boston officer possibly involved in D.C. insurrection made public

Rioters loyal to President Trump stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6.John Minchillo/Associated Press

Two city councilors want the Boston Police Department to produce a public report of its probe into whether one of its officers participated in last month’s insurrection in Washington, D.C., and say that any city employee who was part of the attack on the Capitol should be fired.

Last month, Boston police said they were investigating whether one of their officers took part in the demonstration and ensuing violence that rocked the nation’s capital. The department also said it was examining social media on which the unnamed officer allegedly threatened Mike Pence, the vice president at the time.

On Wednesday, Councilors Andrea Campbell and Julia Mejia disclosed they had sent a letter to the new police commissioner, Dennis White, demanding information about what the department found.

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With trust in government at a historic low, it’s not enough to conduct a thorough investigation into any officers who may have participated in the D.C. event; “it is imperative that a report of this investigation and its findings be made public,” said the Feb. 1 letter.

Any city employee who participated in the insurrection should be fired, Campbell and Mejia wrote.

“Boston Police officers, who are sworn to protect and serve all Bostonians, who participated in that event have no place in our police department,” they said in the letter.

A department spokesman declined to comment Wednesday, saying the investigation had not been completed.

The two councilors also seek swift implementation of changes the council passed last year, when the city created an independent watchdog known as the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, following months of calls for the dismantling of systems that perpetuate systemic racism. The office, once it’s set up, will have the power to investigate police misconduct.

Campbell, a mayoral candidate and consistent advocate of police reform, said in a statement and at Wednesday’s City Council meeting that it’s not enough for the Police Department to conduct a thorough internal investigation of the officer who ws allegedly at the US Capitol.

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“We want to make sure it is public, and that the findings of that investigation” are available, Campbell said during Wednesday virtual meeting.

The City Council also discussed holding a hearing on the progress being made on recommendations from a task force on police reforms, as well as on changes the state made.

“There are very real systems that need to adjust to these new laws, and there are new systems that need to be created, as well,” said Mejia, one of the council’s progressive stalwarts. “We have a responsibility as a body to make sure that the reforms we passed into law are fully implemented. That’s why this hearing is so important.”

The matter was referred to the council’s Committee on Public Ssafety and Ccriminal Justice.

The meeting came days after White became the second Black man to lead the nation’s oldest police force, succeeding William Gross, who made history as the city’s first Black police commissioner. Gross announced his retirement last week, saying he had always planned to leave once Mayor Martin J. Walsh departed from City Hall. Walsh is expected to step down once the US Senate confirms his nomination for labor secretary in coming weeks.

White, who had been Gross’s chief of staff, was a member of a police reform task force, created last year by Walsh. It recommended holding officers more accountable for using excessive force and creating an independent review board with subpoena powers, among other proposals.

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At his swearing-in ceremony, White pledged “to see that all the recommendations under my direction are implemented.”

“To the residents of Boston, many relationships between the police and the communities they serve have been strained due to the COVID pandemic and the national reckoning on racial justice,” White said. While he is commissioner, “the Boston Police Department will continue to prioritize community engagement to build trust and relationships with our citizens and community. "

Milton J. Valencia and John R. Ellement of the Globe staff and correspondent Charlie McKenna contributed to this report.


Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him @Danny__McDonald.