Letter: Hodgson broke the law, but public is not gullible

Posted 8/4/22

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson got caught red-handed breaking the law and there is plenty of proof. Attorney General Maura Healey's report on Sheriff Hodgson's needless assault on inmates on May 1, 2020 …

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Letter: Hodgson broke the law, but public is not gullible

Posted

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson got caught red-handed breaking the law and there is plenty of proof. Attorney General Maura Healey's report on Sheriff Hodgson's needless assault on inmates on May 1, 2020 draws disturbing conclusions:

"First, the evidence shows that the BCSO’s use of force on May 1 was excessive and disproportionate based on the totality of the circumstances. The BCSO’s calculated use of force included the use of a variety of less-lethal but dangerous weapons — including a flash bang grenade, pepper-ball launchers, pepper spray canisters, anti-riot shields, and canines — against detainees who had exhibited calm and nonviolent behavior for at least an hour before this operation. The BCSO deployed these weapons both indiscriminately upon entry and also specifically against particular detainees who were not combative, assaultive, or otherwise actively resisting staff."

Those injured have every right to sue the sheriff. It's unfortunate that taxpayers will again have to foot the bill for Hodgson's misdeeds.

But no one familiar with Hodgson's unconstitutional abuses of inmates — as courts of law have ruled several times and multiple civil rights organizations have documented repeatedly — was surprised by the AG's report. If you google almost any other sheriff, you won't find one who persists in abusing prisoners like Hodgson and has kept at it for so many years.

But to hear Sheriff Hodgson tell it, he was a model of restraint and his officers conducted an exemplary operation on May 1st. Hodgson expects us to believe that video from his personal cellphone — which among the many things he refused to turn over to the Attorney General — would exculpate him.

But Hodgson's personal video is scarcely needed because multiple video footage caught all the action — including Hodgson's own assaults. Here's what the AG based her report on:

"We relied, in substantial part, on the available video footage of the May 1 Incident. This footage included the available surveillance video from Unit B, short video clips taken on a BCSO employee’s cell phone from inside the ICE B control room bubble, and footage from three camcorders that began recording shortly before 6 pm from three different locations—the ICE B control room bubble, the recreation pen area, and with the Sheriff’s Response Team (“SRT”) as it made entry into Unit B later that evening.

In addition to these sources of evidence, we also interviewed thirteen BCSO employees who responded to or otherwise participated in the May 1 Incident."

Hodgson seems to be hoping that playing by the Trump playbook — denying facts and attributing his own misdeeds to political partisanship — will save his shabby reputation.

I don't think Bristol County voters are that gullible.

David Ehrens

Dartmouth

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.