An Arlington police lieutenant has been relieved of duty amid an investigation into controversial columns he wrote for a statewide law enforcement newsletter, in which he suggested police should “meet violence with violence.”
Lieutenant Richard Pedrini, a member of the force since 1996, was placed on paid administrative leave while the town and the Arlington Police Department investigate, local officials announced Tuesday.
“The sentiment raised by these comments is disturbing,” Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said in a statement. “The town is taking these comments very seriously, and we will thoroughly investigate this matter.”
At issue are three columns Pedrini wrote in the latest newsletter of the Massachusetts Police Association, a nonprofit that advocates for police officers across the state.
In the columns, Pedrini referenced the recent killings of police officers in Weymouth and Yarmouth and railed against immigrants, criminal justice reform, “social justice warriors,” and Democratic politicians, including US Senator Elizabeth Warren and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
“I am sick and tired of the social justice warriors telling us how to do our jobs. It’s time we forget about ‘restraint’, ‘measured responses’, ‘procedural justice’, ‘de-escalation’,’stigma-reduction’, and other feel-good [expletive] that is getting our officers killed,” he wrote.
“Let’s stop lip-synching, please! Let’s meet violence with violence and get the job done.”
In a statement posted on its website, the group said it has retracted the columns, which were published in The Sentinel newsletter, and suspended Pedrini from its executive board.
The columns “do not meet the criteria that we set for The Sentinel or the MPA as an organization,” Alan Andrews, the association’s president, said in the statement.
Pedrini could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Andrews said the columns “were meant to be taken in a tongue-in-cheek, satirical fashion, were written for an audience of law enforcement officers and were not meant to be taken literally.”
“They were an evocative response to the raw emotion felt by all police officers around the state due to the recent senseless deaths of Weymouth Police Officer Michael Chesna and Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon,” Andrews said.
Andrews also said the group was committed to “doing a better job ensuring that any public-facing messaging upholds our standards and does not detract from our mission.”
“We are not an organization that seeks political division, and we apologize for any misunderstanding or dissension that may have been caused,” he said.
In one column, Pedrini referred to a Massachusetts criminal justice bill as “100 plus pages of blather and feel-good initiatives that will do nothing to put maggot criminals behind bars (With the exception of Fentanyl/Carfentanyl dealers. We’re finally cracking down on them.)”
In the same column, Pedrini commented on the country’s border enforcement.
“The federal government is sending troops to the border and the liberals complain,” he wrote. “Then we’re told, they have no enforcement authority. Meanwhile, a ‘caravan’ of illegals is traveling up through Mexico to demand all rights of US citizens when they get here.”
In another column, he said there is a “growing group” in the Legislature “who really believes we are the bad guys and the poor criminal class just needs to catch a break.”
He also said he was rooting for a Fourth of July protester who climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty to fall on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has become an activist icon for protesting police brutality and social injustice.
Pedrini also blasted Curtatone for his announcement that Somerville would celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day and characterized Black Lives Matter as anti-American.
“What a farce!” he wrote. “Some folks will say anything to please the Antifa, BLM, America-hater crowd.”
Curtatone responded in an interview.
“I think those types of words pierce that veil of trust and credibility with everyone,” he said by phone late Tuesday afternoon. “It’s unfortunate that’s what was said.”
Pedrini also took exception to Warren’s comment that the criminal justice system is “racist . . . front to back” and ripped Suffolk district attorney candidate Rachael Rollins for her plan to forgo the prosecution of 15 offenses.
“Give her six months,” he said of Rollins. “Suffolk County will become a lot more like Baltimore than the nationally recognized ‘Boston Miracle.’ ”
Messages left with Rollins and Warren were not immediately returned Tuesday evening.
Danny McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.