Tag: Boston Police

Comment Letter on Recommendations around the Role of Police Enforcement in Vision Zero and Removal of Captain Danilecki from the Vision Zero Task Force

Comment Letter on Recommendations around the Role of Police Enforcement in Vision Zero and Removal of Captain Danilecki from the Vision Zero Task Force

June 9, 2020

Mayor Martin J. Walsh

1 City Hall Square, Suite 500

Boston, MA

Dear Mayor Walsh,

As members of the Boston Vision Zero Task Force, we urge you to reform the way the Boston Police Department engages with the City’s Vision Zero program and to remove Captain Danilecki from the Vision Zero Task Force. 

In your comments to the press on Thursday, June 4, you committed to making Boston a leader when it comes to battling racism, saying: “We are listening — I am listening — to the voices and the messages of our black neighbors who are harmed by systemic racism every single day. As elected officials, it’s time to listen and learn and keep those voices at the center of the conversation.” As many have noted already, listening isn’t enough. Our Black and brown communities need concrete actions from our elected officials. Central to these conversations is the role of our transportation system in perpetuating racism. 

Boston has a legacy of destroying vibrant Black communities to make space for highways, creating barriers between certain neighborhoods and critical resources. Many streets in Black and brown communities act as conduits for cars to pass through quickly, without regard for the effect this has on people who live there. BIPOC communities often don’t have sufficient walking or biking infrastructure and lack access to high quality public transit, which in turn leads to well-documented public health disparities. Layered on top of these injustices is the violent reality of policing on our streets. 

We have long been concerned by the attitude and role that the various Boston Police Department representatives demonstrate at monthly Vision Zero Task Force meetings. When reporting on the details of fatal car crashes, officers have consistently engaged in victim-blaming, either suggesting or outright attributing a person’s death to their own fault. This attitude runs counter to the very concept of street safety and Vision Zero that the Boston Police Department is supposed to uphold. On top of this, it is clear that not all officers at Task Force meetings are trained or even aware of the Vision Zero program. 

Any conversation about moving away from enforcement as a community must include moving away from enforcement in transportation as well — and we should start with fundamentally rethinking the role of police and enforcement in Vision Zero. 

  • Remove police enforcement as a tenet of Vision Zero effective immediately. Law enforcement nationwide often make race-based stops and searches which further inflict harm, violence, and trauma in communities of color.

  • Instead of relying on police, use automated enforcement to address speeding, which is the cause of most fatal crashes. We are calling on you to champion state legislation that would allow automated enforcement explicitly built on equity principles (see attached FAQ for more details). 

  • Work with the City Council to pass an ordinance banning facial recognition technology in Boston communities. This would also establish necessary civil liberty protections for the use of automated enforcement in the future.

  • Ensure adequate long term funds for crash data collection and analysis. It is shameful that it took two years of advocacy from our organizations and several City Councilors to secure funding for a single civilian research and crash data analyst position within BPD after grant funding for the position ran out. 

  • Reduce the BPD budget and reallocate resources for social programs designed to strengthen communities. Follow the calls from organizations such as the Muslim Justice League, Families for Justice as Healing, Youth Justice and Power Union, and others.

  • Create a diversion program for any nonviolent traffic- and transportation-related infractions. For example, the City can provide front and rear lights to cyclists who may be traveling without them after dark or offer educational opportunities in lieu of fines for other similar minor and non-violent offenses. 

And lastly, in addition to changing the relationship between streets, enforcement, and Vision Zero, we are calling on you to condemn the actions of Captain Danilecki, who currently serves as the BPD designee on the City’s Vision Zero Task Force. 

Captain Danilecki’s violent actions against protestors exercising their right to gather peacefully at a white supremacist rally in Boston on August 31, 2019 are well-documented. More recently, Captain Danilecki was filmed acting in an aggressive, escalatory, and unacceptable manner towards peaceful protestors on May 31, 2020. 

We understand there has been at least one formal complaint filed with the BPD internal affairs division based on a video of Captain Danilecki’s behavior from that recent demonstration, and we hope that he is held accountable through that process. In the meantime, we are calling for the immediate removal of Captain Danilecki from the Vision Zero Task Force. It is unacceptable for an officer who engages in brutal tactics against civilians to be the liaison between BPD and those of us who are fighting to make our streets safer. 

We believe Boston is capable of achieving zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries on our streets. However, we will not have achieved our goal of safe streets if officer-initiated enforcement remains a tenet of Boston’s Vision Zero Action Plan, and furthermore, if Boston police officers are not held accountable for engaging in racist and aggressive tactics. We hope you agree and will take immediate action. 


Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union

Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance 

Stacey Beuttell, WalkBoston

Chief of Streets Chris Osgood,
Transportation Commissioner Greg Rooney,
Chief of Police William Gross,
Boston City Council

WGBH News – “Why Don’t The Boston Police Report Traffic Crash Data?”

WGBH News – “Why Don’t The Boston Police Report Traffic Crash Data?”

WGBH News: “Why Don’t The Boston Police Report Traffic Crash Data?

“It’s a real issue,” says Brendan Kearney, a spokesperson for Walk Boston, a pedestrian advocacy group.

The standardized crash data reported to the state by every other municipality, says Kearney, informs not just reports but state-funded improvement projects and studies, called “safety audits.”

“If they’re not sending in all this full police report data,” Kearney points out, key crash sites “could possibly be missing from some of these road safety audits.”

Posted January 24, 2019