Law and Order

DA Rachael Rollins Charges Private Citizen With Witness Intimidation For Heckling Her During TV Interview


Last week we published a blog about Boston activist Joao DePina after he disrupted and heckled District Attorney Rachael Rollins on live television during a press conference about three BPD officers being shot in the most hilarious way possible.

I interviewed DePina about his reasoning on the Live Show last week (1:03:30 mark).

Rollins claimed at the scene, without evidence, that DePina was emotionally disturbed and in need of mental health treatment, presumably because you have would have to be a mental patient to oppose her and form of governance. DePina is a former campaign organizer for Rollins who believes that she is no longer looking out for the best interests of the community, and he is free to express those opinions publicly, even when the cameras are rolling.

But Rollins apparently had her feelings hurt by this public criticism and humiliation, and has decided to use her power as DA to charge DePina with witness intimidation for the incident.

The woman who got elected on a criminal justice reform platform that vowed not to prosecute 15 “non violent” offenses (9 of which family members of hers were charged with), is using her power to prosecute a former supporter for a non-violent offense because he had the audacity to publicly criticize her.

In Suffolk County you can shoplift, resist arrest, deal drugs, commit larceny, destroy property, threaten people, break into other people’s homes, and receive stolen property, but you cannot publicly criticize the District Attorney. Notice that she didn’t charge him with the only crime you could argue he committed – disturbing the peace – because it’s one of the 15 charges she vowed not to pursue on citizens. Instead she doctored up a “witness intimidation” charge and believes this won’t make her look like a hypocrite.

This is yet another example of Rollins abusing her powers to punish private citizens who challenge her. She does it because she knows she is the most powerful law enforcement official in Suffolk County, and she knows she will be protected by the more powerful people above her in Boston and in Washington DC. She is currently awaiting Senate confirmation to become United States Attorney for Massachusetts. Her previous abuses of power include:

  • Interfering with the investigation into Mikayla Miller’s suicide in Hopkinton by undermining Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan and encouraging Miller’s mother to pursue the false angle that Miller was lynched by 5 white teenagers.
  • Threatening a woman during a road rage incident on Christmas Eve outside the South Bay Mall, then illegally using her blue lights to evade traffic and go through a red light.
  • Threatening to file a false police report on a Boston 25 News reporter on live television because the reporter was asking her questions about the road rage incident, and calling her victim’s allegations the “rantings and ravings of a white woman.”
  • Going on the Howie Carr Show to smear her victim and deter any other victims of her behavior from coming forward in the future.
  • Using the power of the DA’s office to subpoena Facebook and Google for the private information of a pregnant abuse victim in order to harass her because the victim was critical of Rollins’ friend State Rep Liz Miranda.
  • Frequently using her Twitter account to complain about being a victim and tell private citizens to “listen to our Mayor and be quiet.”

This is what she is doing with her limited time instead of investigating the dozens of unsolved murders in Suffolk County.

You might not like the things that Joao DePina said, or his approach. But he was well within his First Amendment rights to say everything that he said. Rollins is sending all citizens a message by charing him that public officials cannot be heckled in public. If you do so the full power of the state will be weaponized against you, so you should probably just shut up and give your feelings to yourself. Ironically DePina accused her of doing just that during the 10 minute episode.

“You should not be confirmed because of abuse of power.”

And she immediately went and abused her power to prove him right.

It’s important to remember that Rollins also chose not to charge or arrest DePina last year when he was heckling Police Chief William Gross on live television. Instead she gave DePina her badge and phone in order to placate him because she didn’t want a black man to be arrested by white police officers.

It’s permissable for DePina to heckle police officers, the police chief, and pretty much anyone else in Boston. But the moment he embarrasses her she charges him with a crime. This is a gross, disgusting abuse of power and yet another example of why it’s dangerous for this lunatic to be confirmed as a United States Attorney.


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