Graham, Hard Times Blast Largey Report For Not Proposing Stronger Police Sanction
City Councillor Saundra Graham and Hard Times an East Cambridge neighborhood organization, yesterday sharp's criticized the City report on the arrest and jail cell death of East Cambridge youth Lawrence P. Larges.
In separate statements, both Graham and Hard Times called the report a "whitewash" and said that its conclusions on disciplining the police officers involved in Larges's arrest were not far reaching enough.
The City's report which was released last week by Boston University Law Professor Paul J. Liacos, concluded that four Cambridge police officers should be disciplined in connection with the arrest of Largey and another youth, Thomas F. Doyle.
Liacos said that police had used "unwarranted and unjustifiable force" and neglected to provide "proper and timely medical examination after arresting the two boys.
Liacos recommended that City Manager John H. Corcoran or Police Chief James Reagan "initiate disciplinary proceedings" against the officers, but did not specify what these actions should be.
"This report is a whitewash", Graham said yesterday. "There was enough evidence for Liacos to recommend stronger action for discipline to the City Manager than he did."
"He's just passed the buck and thrown the whole thing right back into Corcoran's lap," she added.
Hard Times, which played a major role in organizing the protests which rocked East Cambridge for a week after Largey's death, said in a position paper on the Liacos report yesterday, "He promised to make specific detailed recommendations concerning the punishment of the officers involved, yet his report simply says that 'appropriate disciplinary proceedings should be initiated.'"
"The kind of disciplinary action to be taken is unspecified and left in the heads of the man who could not find it in his heart to take any action in the first place--city Manager John Corcoran." Hard Times said.
Responding to the criticism, Liacos said that specific recommendations for disciplining the officers were beyond the scope of his report. "The scope of the interest of myself and the scope of the interest of myself and the scope of the interest of the people at Hard Times are not the same," he said. "And I don't particularly care to get into a controversy with Councillor Graham or Hard Times or anyone else. I'm not the least bit interested except that I've done my job."
Liacos said that he had not promised to make any more detailed recommendations for discipline than he made in his report and added that if would be legally questionable for him to do us.
Hard Times also accused Liacos of emitting important evidence surrounding the incident. "The result," the organization said is a carefully constructed whitewash of the Cambridge Police Department and the City government."
Hard Times said Liacos had failed to investigate possible police misconduct during the state medical examiner's autopsy on Largey's body and what the group termed "the highly irregular procedure of the first autopsy and the hurried embedding."
The neighborhood organization said that Liacos should have locked into high-level misconduct in the events following the death. "No blame for the illegal operations of the Cambridge Police Department is ever placed on Concoran's shoulders," the group said. "We think that Corcoran deserves is much blame as anyone else anyone in this rotten affair."
Hard Times terms Liacon's recommendations for changes in the Police Department "conspicuously mild," and said. "He repeated every third recommendation that his community has already seen in the last two years."
Councillor Graham said that Liacos should have recommended the creation of a port of civilian police commissioner to "take care of situations like this."
Liacos said that his investigation only gave him enough time to investigate the specific circumstances surrounding the death of Largey. "I am not here to reform the Cambridge or to reform the Cambridge Police Department," he said. "It simply can't be done in three weeks."
Meanwhile, Patrolman Peter E. DeLuca, who Liacos said used unjustified force in arresting Largey and Doyle, moved yesterday to block a hearing Friday on disciplinary measures against him.
DeLuca said that the release of Liacos's report prior to the completion of testimony before an official Middleses County inquest into the death would prejudice the proceedings against him.
DeLuca's complaint will be heard tomorrow in the Middleses Superior Court