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Mass. lawmaker calls on ‘Patriots Day’ director to recognize Boston officer

Dennis Simmonds.
Dennis Simmonds.

One Massachusetts lawmaker is calling for the director of “Patriots Day” to recognize the sacrifice of a Boston police officer in the film.

In a Facebook post Sunday, state Representative Timothy Whelan, a Brewster Republican, said the film should recognize Dennis “DJ” Simmonds, who suffered a head injury from the blast of a homemade bomb thrown by one of the Tsarnaev brothers in Watertown during the chaotic night of April 19, 2013. He died almost a year later. Simmonds’ family applied for, and received, a line-of-duty death benefit from the state.

Whelan, a retired State Police sergeant, is now saying “Patriots Day” director Peter Berg “has an opportunity to right a wrong and honor the fifth victim of that tragic series of attacks in April 2013.”


In the Facebook post, Whelan praised Simmonds’ “brave and selfless sacrifice.” He said Simmonds’ injuries sustained in the shootout with the Tsarnaevs led directly to his death.

“DJ Simmonds, and his response in the face of danger which ultimately cost him his life, represents the words BOSTON STRONG we have come to adopt as a sign of our community pride and resilience,” he wrote.

In a prepared statement, a production spokesperson said the film’s two-hour length limits the number of individual stories that could be told.

She said the film is dedicated “to everyone involved” and included the text of a 32-word dedication that she said appears in the film.

In an e-mail, Whelan said a number of his friends in law enforcement who attended the film’s premiere last week informed him that Simmonds was not included in the “memorial loop” at the end of the movie that featured Boston Marathon victims Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, and MIT officer Sean Collier.


“While I want to credit the filmmaker for recognizing the heart-breaking losses suffered by the Richard, Lu, Campbell, and Collier families, there is a collective disappointment in many circles in our community that Officer Simmonds was not also acknowledged as that fifth victim,” he said in the e-mail.

Globe correspondent John Hilliard contributed to this report.