Acting Boston Chief Skipped Super Bowl Riot Duty


On the night that Super Bowl victory celebrations turned violent in Boston, Acting Police Commissioner James M. Hussey–a candidate for the top job–did not come to work, but talked with his underlings by phone after watching the game on television, reports the Boston Globe. Hussey came to his office the next morning before a 6 a.m. news conference.

Officials defended Hussey’s decision to remain away, while critics said he should have been at the office, or even at the scene. “We saw him at the State of the City address. We saw him at the Patriots parade. No one saw him Sunday night,” said Thomas Nee, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association. “Given the recent history of these events, where else should the commissioner have been Sunday night?”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino may appoint a permanent police commissioner tomorrow. Hussey apparently is a finalist. Other candidates include former state public safety secretary Kathleen O’Toole, Police Superintendent Edward F. Davis of Lowell, and Captain James M. Claiborne and Superintendent Robert Dunford of Boston police.

Menino said there was no need for Hussey to go to headquarters. “That’s not the way the command staff works,” Menino said. “He was following procedures. It’s left to their discretion.”

William Bratton, a former Boston police commissioner who is police chief in Los Angeles, agreed. “The fact that he had a bunch of nitwits running amok in the streets doesn’t necessarily require the commissioner be present,” he said. “They have people in charge of the city at all times. It’s an operations issue, rather than an issue for the commissioner himself.”


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