Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice urged the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Springfield Police Department to address serious concerns surrounding the Facebook comments made by Springfield Police Officer Conrad Lariviere in connection with the racial violence that recently erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In response to an article describing the Charlottesville rally and the anti-racist protestor being fatally struck by a vehicle, Officer Lariviere wrote: “Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn’t block roads.” This endorsement of unjustified violence is reprehensible. It also improperly politicizes the police. It makes law enforcement’s focus politics, rather than safety.
Officer Lariviere’s comments are profoundly harmful to both the Springfield Police Department and the Springfield community. Because of the damaging nature of the comments and the threat to public safety, the Lawyers’ Committee is requesting that the Springfield Police Department provide comprehensive cultural competency training for its officers; adopt a plan to increase officer diversity; and commit to making the investigation of Officer Lariviere open, public and transparent. Adopting this comprehensive package of solutions will help to adequately address Officer Lariviere’s misconduct and prevent future incidents of racial insensitivity.Letter to Springfield Mayor and Police Commissioner