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Letter To Mass Public Safety

VIEWS: 51 PAGES: 3

									Eddie Garcia
Post Office Box 120235
Nashville, TN 37212
eddievsongs@gmail.com

SENT VIA TELECOPIER (617) 727-4764 & US Mail

February 9, 2012

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan
One Ashburton Place, Suite 2133
Boston, MA 02108

Dear Secretary Heffernan:

I write in disgust of Lawrence mayor William Lantigua and his chief of staff Patrick Blanchette, who
previously was fined by the Massachusetts Commission on Campaign & Finance1 for what appears, to a
reasonable mind, the deliberate and blatant interference of a police officer(s) performing their legal and
fiduciary jobs as law enforcement officers.

In news articles and actual police reports, these two have demonstrated a total disregard for law
enforcement and the trust, respect and reliance we, as members of a society have for police officers.

In another demonstration of blatant disregard to law and the Lawrence City Charter, mayor Lantigua,
without any notice, failed to follow section 4.72,3 of the city charter requiring the mayor to personally
present the city council with the state of the city address on February 7, 2012 by not showing up.

The Lawrence city charter may give the mayor certain authority and rights relative to employees and their
tenure, but no where in the charter or state law does it give the mayor or his chief of staff or any other city
employee the right to lie or mislead, to interfere or to overrule a lawful act or decision by a certified law
enforcement officer. If we resort to that behavior, police officers will live in fear exercising their jobs and
therefore jeopardize the safety, well-being and prosperity of the city.

As evidenced in these foregoing two articles, of which there are many more, officers are also apprehensive
to speak with the chain of command or file a report for fear of retribution, loss of pay, demotions or firing.

In the case of Lawrence, the mayor, as soon as elected, demoted a very qualified and highly educated and
decorated deputy police chief and elevated an unqualified sergeant, with no pertinent or germane higher

1http://www.eagletribune.com/breakingnews/x180463617/Blanchette-agrees-to-pay-the-state-20k-for-
campaign-fund-issues
2

http://library.municode.com/HTML/14860/level1/THCH.html#THCH_S9FRPEINRERE%23THCH_S9FRPEIN
RERE
3 4.7 Communications to City Council.
The mayor, yearly, by a personal appearance for the purpose of a state of the city address to be given at the
first city council meeting in February of each year, shall keep the city council informed as to the condition and
needs of the city, and from time to time as in his judgment the needs of the city require, recommend to the city
council for action by it such measures as may be necessary or desirable.
education/degree or command management experience in law enforcement to deputy police chief. This
sergeant was the mayor’s chief campaign advisor and longtime friend, Melix Bonilla.

That alone continued to erode the trust and morale of an already challenged police department and its
relation with city hall and complicated any goodwill or trust with the citizenry. Moreover, since the chain
of command consists of Mr. Bonilla, the right-hand confidante of the mayor, it is even more detrimental
with serious adverse effects for an officer reporting to the chain of command such unauthorized interfering
actions by the mayor, his chief of staff/aide or minion.

Certainly, if an unlawful action is taken against an officer making a report of their job performance or role
being interfered by people who have no authority to do so, they may file official grievances or a lawsuit.
But the reality is that many officers have families, children, bills, housing expenses and other financial
obligations that unfortunately outweigh taking action. Sitting at home without a paycheck awaiting the
outcome of a grievance or civil legal action destroys families.

  A) Last Friday night, police said the mayor’s chief economic development officer, smelling of alcohol,
  berated them for towing illegally parked cars outside a restaurant and allegedly impeded a tow
  truck — an incident first reported by the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. The officer said he decided not to
  arrest the official, Patrick Blanchette, for disorderly conduct because he feared retribution from the
  mayor’s administration. Blanchette has denied the officers’ version of events.

Source: http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-25/news/29582377_1_police-officers-police-department-police-
work/2

  B) Sometimes Lantigua’s name is dropped as an empty taunt. And sometimes real strings are pulled. I
  talked to six police officers this week. Four said the mayor or one of his associates has reversed or
  questioned actions they’ve taken — releasing a car they’d towed or preventing police from shutting
  down a party. Lantigua has no problem with police enforcing the law, it seems, except when it
  concerns one of his friends, among them some criminal defendants whose causes he has championed.
  All this has police second-guessing themselves.

Source: http://articles.boston.com/2011-04-28/news/29483642_1_police-officers-police-department-willy

  C) Lantigua also tape recorded his questioning by a veteran police detective investigating the incident
  and complained when the police officer barred him from speaking with his aide, Patrick Blanchette,
  alone before Blanchette's separate interview.

  Lantigua also told police he has "friends in other agencies, not the Lawrence Police Department," who
  run car plates for him, including 788EA3, the plate on the car Lantigua said tried to hit him, according
  to a report by Detective Capt. Denis Pierce.

Source: http://www.eagletribune.com/local/x69806266/Report-Lantigua-withheld-info-tape-recorded-
interview-with-detective
  D) Beltre, 46, who called Mayor William Lantigua from the police station booking room after her
  arrest, showed up at the police station again yesterday, this time on her own.

  She said she was looking for Deputy Chief Melix Bonilla, who was promoted to the second-in-
  command position in January 2010 by Lantigua after serving as his campaign manager.

Source: http://www.eagletribune.com/latestnews/x1315237885/Woman-with-suspicious-documents-
claims-to-work-for-the-IRS

  Lantigua Provides Inconsistent Statements During an official police investigation
Source: http://plus.eagletribune.com/content/news/et/pdfs/lpd_report_lantigua.pdf

  Patrick Blanchette Interferes with police officer
Source: http://plus.eagletribune.com/content/news/et/pdfs/Patrick%20Blanchette%20Police%20Reports.pdf

Just because Mr. Lantigua was previously the state Representative for the 16th district representing
Lawrence, doesn’t give him the right to act so egregiously and with malfeasance and certainly any political
connections he had or has during his time in the state House cannot be a factor in this complaint or its
outcome.

At a time when our great country is in turmoil, we cannot allow, condone or permit an elected official to act
so in discord with our laws, procedures and with disdain on police officers.

I plead and respectfully ask that you, in your official role as the executive public official who stands for
police officers all across Massachusetts take my letter seriously and give it the attention it deserves for the
safety, life, dedication and role of Lawrence police officers and in turn the citizens of Lawrence, Ma.

Sincerely,
/s/ EDDIE GARCIA
Eddie Garcia

Cc: Undersecretary for Law Enforcement
    Karen Wells

     Acting General Counsel
     Jane Gabriel

     Gretchen Putnam, Managing Editor, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, gputnam@eagletribune.com

     Governor Deval Patrick, Massachusetts State House, Office of Governor

     Attorney General Martha Coakley, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108 -1518

     US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
     1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200, Boston, Massachusetts 02210

     Paul M. O'Brien, US Department of Justice, Director, Office Of Enforcement Operations
     U.S. Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001

								
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