Attorney General’s office says BPDA violated Open Meeting Law during PLAN: JP/Rox vote

Banner Staff | 3/8/2018, 6 a.m.

“It wasn’t fair to the people inside and it wasn’t fair to the people outside not allowed to come in,” said My’Kel McMillen, a Jamaica Plain resident.

McMillen vowed to continue fighting against displacement of longtime community residents.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “Although they are going to try to silence our voices, fear only wins if you allow it to.”

Members of Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing say many people at the BPDA board meeting spoke up against the plan and were ordered to leave, but others were barred from entering the meeting or were harassed by police to leave even though they had not disrupted the meeting. The Attorney General’s determination raised concerns about the police’s attempted removal of people, and whether there was racial discrimination.

“Certain actions in the videos [of the meeting] raise concerns — in particular, that police officers at certain points attempt to remove advocates who could not be seen on the video to be causing any disturbance,” the determination reads. “Where the persons targeted for removal here appear to be racial or ethnic minorities, we are concerned as to whether they were being treated differently than white members of the public who were in attendance.”

Although the original complaint included a detailed timeline and description of videos showing how people of color were targeted, the determination does not offer a final conclusion on whether racial discrimination in fact occurred, and notes that racial discrimination is not covered by the Open Meeting Law.

Re-written from a Keep It 100 for Real Affordable Housing press release.