- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Boston police union leader on Tuesday urged Rep. Ayanna Pressley to withdraw her support for activists arrested at an antifa-fueled counter-protest, saying her support for a bail fund serves to “encourage criminal and disruptive behavior.”

In an open letter to the Massachusetts Democrat, Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association president Michael Leary said the “so-called peaceful protesters” injured four officers working security Saturday at the Straight Pride Parade, which drew more than 1,000 counter-demonstrators.

“I urge you to reconsider your support of the protest bail fund,” the letter said. “Instead, I hope you will make it clear to your supporters that you don’t approve of violent behavior against public safety personnel.”

Police arrested 36 activists at the Boston parade, charging nine with assault and battery on a police officer. Other charges included resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

“These officers were screamed at, abused and fought by these so-called peaceful protesters,” Mr. Leary said in the letter. “Your actions in support of these individuals serves only to encourage criminal and disruptive behaviors such as those suffered by my members this weekend.”

Ms. Pressley and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, urged supporters on social media to contribute to a legal-defense fund for activists arrested at the parade. The FundRazr campaign raised nearly $25,000 before closing.

“Join me now in making a contribution,” Ms. Pressley tweeted. “TY to the allies & accomplices who stood in the gap & laid their bodies on the line today in affront #LGBT hate march.”

Those arrested were scheduled to appear Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court.

Mr. Leary said the congresswoman’s fundraising effort “further contributes to the growing we/they attitude against police officers in this Country.”

As an elected official, “you should be working to encourage Boston city residents and visitors to respect and cooperate with Boston Police officers who are there to serve and protect,” Mr. Leary said.

“The BPPA supports the right of free speech, but free speech does not include the right to abuse and assault the men and women who are appointed to keep the peace,” he said.

Mr. Leary also said those arrested should be prosecuted, telling the Boston Herald that we “do our jobs and we hope the courts do their job.”

The Washington Times has reached out to Ms. Pressley for comment.

Ms. Pressley and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez are members of “The Squad,” the four first-term congresswomen who have sought to push the Democratic Party to the left.

The Straight Pride Parade, which drew about 200 participants, was blasted as a homophobic, white supremacist event, although it was scheduled to feature several black and openly gay speakers, including right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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