The Globe has it precisely right when it editorializes that Boston police “have no business investigating ideas and speech absent reasonable suspicion that an individual is involved in criminal conduct or activity” (“Go and Zinn no more,” Oct. 24). But we need more than Police Commissioner Edward Davis’s word that the department and its “fusion” surveillance center are no longer monitoring protected speech. This is especially true given that one officer involved in writing the “intelligence reports” uncovered by the lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Massachusetts and National Lawyers Guild was present at an antiwar demonstration earlier this month.
For there to be the accountability that the Globe calls for, the Boston Police Department should create an independent and public auditing system. We need transparency to be certain that the force is not violating civil liberties in its intelligence operations.
To ensure that the constitutional rights of all Massachusetts residents are protected, the state Legislature should enact a law prohibiting law enforcement and the Commonwealth Fusion Center in Maynard from collecting, sharing, and storing information about peaceful protest that has no link to criminal activity.
There is no room in a democracy for the policing of dissent.