Resilient Roxbury resident stands up to police brutality and 659 days later cop to face criminal charges
Mass Action Against Police Brutality (MAAPB) welcomes the long overdue indictment of MBTA Transit Police Officer Jennifer Amyot Garvey on charges of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, misdemeanor assault and battery, filing false police reports and violating the civil rights of Roxbury resident Mary Holmes in a violent attack that took place at Dudley Station on March 26, 2014. Garvey was arraigned on these charges on January 13, 2016 in Suffolk Superior Court. MAAPB calls on all opponents of police brutality to pack the courtroom for her next court appearance, Thursday, July 7th, and remain relentless in the demand that Garvey be convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum jail time allowed by law.
MAAPB condemns the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for their failure to arrest and file criminal charges against Garvey sooner, as well as it’s failure to arrest and charge any of the other officers involved. Six hundred and fifty nine (659) days passed between the date that Garvey and her partner Alfred Trinh violently assaulted and falsely arrested Ms. Holmes and the date when Garvey alone faced criminal charges. While Garvey attacked Ms. Holmes repeatedly with her baton and pepper spray, then wrote and submitted the false report, Trinh assisted in violently arresting Ms. Holmes, another unnamed supervisor approved the written report and Detective Ursula Humes filed the false criminal complaint in Roxbury District Court.
“The culture of cover-up must be blown wide open,” noted Brock Satter, an organizer with Mass Action Against Police Brutality. “All police officers and government officials involved need to be prosecuted. This is why we say all past police brutality cases must be re-opened. Boston is no different from Chicago in this sense. This incident only scratches the surface.”
Officials at the MBTA Transit Police Department, including the Police Chief at the time Paul MacMillan, were complicit in a cover up of Garvey and Trinh’s assault on and false arrest of Ms. Holmes. MacMillan and his internal affairs investigators almost immediately cleared both officers of any wrong doing. On May 14, 2014, less than two months later, MacMillan wrote that Garvey and Trinh’s “actions were in compliance with policies, rules, and procedures and the standards of a professional police officer.” It is outrageous that it wasn’t until August 1, 2014, over four months later, that prosecutor’s dropped the false criminal charges filed against Ms. Holmes. Yet in less than two months, these cops were cleared of lying about their violent assault that was captured in full on the MBTA’s own video surveillance system.
It wasn’t until August 19, 2015, a year and a half later, when Ms. Holmes filed a federal lawsuit and the videos were released to the press, did the police and prosecutors state they would re-open the investigation. While the indictment on Garvey was returned on December 17, 2015, it wasn’t until December 28, that Garvey was said to be fired from the department. Officer Garvey had no business being a police officer, but unbelievably, current Police Chief Richard Sullivan stated that Garvey’s termination had nothing to do with her assault on Ms. Holmes, stating “it was another issue.” While Chief Sullivan is likely referring to the the fact that Garvey has twice faced sets of assault charges in 2015 while off-duty, her actions against Ms. Holmes clearly warranted not only immediate termination but criminal charges and imprisonment.
“As the saying goes ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ so we call on the Transit Police, Suffolk County prosecutors and all city and state officials involved to release all documents and communications regarding their so-called investigation,” demanded Tahia Bell-Sykes, an organizer with Mass Action Against Police Brutality.
MAAPB salutes Ms. Mary Holmes for her resilience and steadfast fight back against the actions of the Transit Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney. It is important to note that Ms. Holmes was attacked by officers Garvey and Trinh for her peaceful but persistent defense of an elderly community member who was being mistreated by these same officers. Ms. Holmes is an inspiration to all those who wish to stand up to the epidemic of racist police violence. We stand in firm solidarity with Ms. Holmes, and all victims of police brutality. And we relentlessly demand the jailing of both police officers and government officials who are guilty of breaking the law.