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Attorney general clears Rachael Rollins in alleged road rage incident

Video footage was inconclusive, AG’s office says

Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Attorney General Maura Healey has concluded that Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins committed no civil rights violations or crimes in a Christmas Eve incident in which she allegedly threatened another driver.

Healey referred the matter to the state ethics commission, which investigates possible violations of the state’s conflict of interest and ethics laws.

First Assistant Attorney General Mary Strother acknowledged, in her letter closing the investigation, that video footage that might have captured the incident was not available: “The cameras focused on the area where this incident occurred were either poor quality, far away, or were not functioning.”

Rollins, who is a leading contender to become US Attorney for Massachusetts, responded to the decision through her lawyer, Ronald S. Sullivan Jr.


“We are glad that the Attorney General’s office took this seriously and conducted a thorough and independent investigation,” said Sullivan in a written statement. “Their findings confirm what District Attorney Rollins has said from the beginning: she had the right-of-way and took necessary actions to avoid an accident.”

Katie Lawson, who filed the complaint with the Boston Police and then the attorney general’s office in late December, said she was disappointed by Healey’s decision, and angry that Rollins all but called her a liar on Howie Carr’s radio show and elsewhere.

“I am willing to take a lie detector test,” she said.

Lawson has sent a document to the ethics commission detailing the ways in which she believes Rollins violated ethics rules for lawyers and elected officials. Lawson said she has also spoken to staffers in the offices of Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren, who have backed Rollins’s bid to become the next US Attorney for Massachusetts.

“I’m not going away,” she said.

Sullivan, Rollins’s attorney, said he welcomes the “routine” referral of the matter to the ethics commission and “fully expects a quick resolution by the Ethics Commission as well.”


Rollins has previously denied that she acted inappropriately and blamed Lawson for the encounter.

In her complaint, Lawson alleged that Rollins threatened her, and inappropriately flashed her blue lights, as they were both trying to exit the South Bay shopping center on the afternoon of Dec. 24, the two people said.

“I had an encounter with the Suffolk County DA Rollins, one I would say was very disturbing,” wrote Lawson in her complaint. “During this encounter I asked DA Rollins to ‘just go’ several times and she did not. Apparently when she felt like she had done enough or said what she felt like, she then went right back to her (cellphone) call.”

Rollins then moved her car a few inches away from Lawson’s vehicle, she said.

“You want me to give you ticket? I will give you a ticket,” Rollins said, according to Lawson. She then activated her blue lights and siren, Lawson said.

According to Lawson, Rollins then left the parking lot, blowing through a red light.

Rollins has denied threatening the woman, activating her lights, or running a red light. She said Lawson was driving the wrong way and she thought she would hit her.

Later, when a Boston 25 news crew showed up at Rollins’s house to ask her about the incident, she berated them, throwing in some expletives and threatening to file a police report against the producer.


“Who do you think . . . get out of here. You know what I’ll do? I’ll call the police on you and make an allegation — rantings of a white woman,” Rollins said on videotape. “I swear to God — I’m dead serious. I will find your name. I will have you arrested, I swear to God. My children!”

According to people briefed on the matter, Rollins is one of three finalists for US Attorney. The others are Jennifer Serafyn, the chief of the civil rights unit in Boston, where she works on civil matters, and Deepika Bains Shukla, who heads the US Attorney’s office in Springfield.

Andrea Estes can be reached at