100 signatures reached
To: Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon
This police union leader assaulted an unarmed, handcuffed man. Demand his removal.
A police officer who assaults unarmed, handcuffed suspects cannot have the trust of Somerville’s residents, has no place on the police force, and certainly should not be leading the police union. We’re calling on you to fire Michael McGrath from the police department, and stand up to the police unions he helps lead by demanding they fire him as well.
Why is this important?
Michael McGrath — president of the Somerville, Massachusetts police union, and VP of a Massachusetts coalition of police unions — was just charged with assault and battery for pepper spraying a handcuffed man.
It’s been a year since the assault, and the police unions he leads have taken no action against him. When bodycam video of the assault was released recently, they tried to ignore questions from the media. Somerville’s mayor said he and the police chief both believe McGrath’s actions are “unacceptable” and they “will not tolerate any unnecessary use of force” — but they could fire him, and they haven’t.
McGrath leads the Somerville Police Employees Association, and is a Vice President of the Massachusetts Municipal Police Coalition. Police unions like these help violent police officers get away with brutality all the time. Right now, they’re hoping that attention to this case fades and they can get away with doing nothing. But we can force them to make a choice: take action against McGrath, or be known for supporting police brutality, and face the consequences. Police unions like to act tough. But when it comes time to negotiate their next pay raise, block popular police reform measures, or shield an officer from accountability, their reputation and political standing matters.
By confronting these police unions publicly, we can make sure they pay a price for standing by a union leader who is being prosecuted for assaulting someone who posed no threat. We can also make it easier for the mayor, police chief, and other officials to stand up to them — in this case, in other cases of police misconduct, and when it’s time to fight for systemic change.
Join us in calling on Somerville’s mayor and police chief to stand up to the police unions and take action to hold Mike McGrath accountable.