Protesters at the Bromley-Heath housing development July 27 claimed the Boston Police Department (BPD) is using overly aggressive tactics, while BPD is saying it is targeting known troublemakers. Other residents support the increased BPD presence.
One Bromley-Heath resident questioned the police tactics in a recent phone interview with the Gazette.
“Violence is everywhere, but we don’t need to feel like we’re in a police station,” said Celeste Walker, a 25-year resident of Bromley-Heath.
She added, “They’re like cockroaches. They’re everywhere.”
Walker said the police are enforcing a policy that requires guests at Bromley-Heath to be with a resident at all times and are arresting those who aren’t for trespassing.
Jacque Furtado, the former program director for Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation, which ran the housing development for 40 years before the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) took over in the spring, said in an email to the Gazette she disagreed that residents were upset about overly aggressive police tactics.
“Personally, I find that statement false,” she said.
BPD Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey said the police are targeting historically problematic people who have prior arrests for drugs and guns. He said those people don’t belong in the housing development.
“We have had 15 arrests there since [June 25], so I don’t see overly aggressive arrests,” he said.
Linskey said the BPD is trying for a “balance of visibility and enforcement.”
Bromley-Heath was recently the site of violence, as six men were shot there between May 26 and July 2. All of the victims reportedly survived the shootings.
After the violence, there was a protest at Bromley-Heath July 3 where people decried the lack of response and asked for better security.
There was also talk of putting a police substation at Bromley-Heath. Linskey said those conversations are ongoing as the benefits and drawbacks of having a substation there are weighed.
“We have a commitment to having a strong community presence,” said Linskey. “We want to continue that commitment.”
Lydia Agro, spokesperson for the BHA, would not go on the record to discuss the assertion of overly aggressive police tactics at Bromley-Heath.