DA gives funds to JP group

April 11, 2014
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Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley last month delivered thousands of dollars seized from drug traffickers to a Jamaica Plain organization dedicated to reducing gun violence in Boston.

As part of his annual Asset Forfeiture Community Reinvestment Program, Conley visited Citizens for Safety to present staff members with a check for $5,000 earmarked for the program known as Operation LIPSTICK—Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing—which educates girls and young women about the dangers of carrying or holding illegal firearms for boyfriends or family members.

“Reducing offenders’ access to firearms takes more than a cosmetic approach,” Conley said in a press release. “This program takes the message straight to girls, teens and women that holding or buying a gun for a man doesn’t just put lives at risk in their homes and communities—it carries serious criminal penalties.”

During his visit, Conley met with CFS Field Directors Ruth Rollins and Kim Odom, each of whom lost a son to gun violence in 2007.

Odom’s son Steven was shot and killed near his home by a young man who mistook Steven for a rival. That individual was himself shot to death 10 days later, but another man is currently serving a prison term for providing the illegal handgun that he used to take Steven’s life. The investigation into the shooting death of Rollins’ son, Warren “Danny” Hairston, remains open.

“These two women know the cost of gun violence in a way no mother should have to,” Conley said. “They know most of Boston’s violence is driven by young men, but they also know those offenders recruit young women to buy, carry and store their illegal firearms. And this is where LIPSTICK comes in—by educating these women and empowering them to say, ‘No, I am not going to risk my family’s safety or my future by storing your weapon in my home. I am not going bring another gun into my neighborhood. And I am not going to do the time for your crime.’”

Last month, a 24-year-old woman was held on $10,000 cash bail after Boston Police found a loaded handgun in the diaper bag she was carrying when they went to arrest her boyfriend for an earlier shooting. She’s just one of several women arrested in recent months for possessing firearms that authorities believed were being stored for their boyfriends or family members.

In response, Conley recently joined Odom, Rollins and law enforcement partners at Ruggles T Station to promote an advertising campaign urging young women not to purchase or hold firearms for men who can’t legally do so themselves. The campaign was created by Citizens for Safety and is hosted free of charge by the MBTA.

Groups across Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop will split about $50,000 in cash awards this year at no cost to taxpayers. Every cent comes from assets seized during drug trafficking prosecutions. State auditors last year reviewed the process in Suffolk County and gave it high marks for turning “the profits of crime into something positive for the community” while carefully documenting all forfeiture-related income and expenditures.

The annual grant process begins in the summer, with application forms available on the Suffolk DA’s website: http://www.suffolkdistrictattorney.com/partnerships-and-prevention/asset-forfeiture-reinvestment-program/. Awards are typically distributed in the winter.

From press materials.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley (center) delivers a $5,000 check to Rev. Kim Odom (left) and Ruth Rollins (right), field directors of JP’s Operation LIPSTICK, last month. (Courtesy Photo)

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley (center) delivers a $5,000 check to Rev. Kim Odom (left) and Ruth Rollins (right), field directors of JP’s Operation LIPSTICK, last month. (Courtesy Photo)