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Boston Mayor, Police Apologize To Black Men For Wrongful Conviction

After Alan Swanson and Willie Bennett, two Black men, were wrongly accused in a 1989 murder of a white woman, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has finally issued a formal apology.

According to the Boston Associated Press, the apology was recently for a case that “coarsened divisions in a city long split along racial lines.”

Well past 1989 and even during that year, there was suspicion and anger pointed at the police department by the city’s Black community.

A formal apology was finally made.

“I am so sorry for what you endured,” the mayor uttered during a news conference. “I am so sorry for the pain that you have carried for so many years.”

On Oct. 23, 1989, Swanson and Bennet were wrongly named as suspects in the death of Carol Stuart. It turned out that Charles Stuart, her husband, was actually behind orchestrating her killing, according to Reuters.

Stuart, a white man, blamed his wife’s murder as well as his own shooting in what he said was an attempted carjacking, on an unidentified Black gunman. This led to a “crackdown by police in one of the city’s traditionally Black neighborhoods in pursuit of a phantom assailant.”

“We are here today to acknowledge the tremendous pain that the city of Boston inflicted on Black residents throughout our neighborhoods 34 years ago,” Wu said. “The mayor’s office, city officials and the Boston Police Department took actions that directly harmed these families and continue to impact the larger community, reopening a wound that has gone untended for decades.”

In response to the murder of Carol Stuart and her unborn baby as well as acting on a false racist claim framing a Black man for her death, Boston launched a systemic campaign, targeting Black men in Mission Hill neighborhood and around the country.

Wu elaborated that there was no evidence a Black man even committed the crime. But that didn’t even matter since many had the same false and obtuse beliefs.

This is the least a police department can do. According to Reuters, New York City paid a whopping $41 million to the Central Park Five, a group of Black and Latino men wrongfully convicted of raping a white woman in a park in 1989.

According to USA Today, Bennett sued the Boston Police Department for violating his civil rights, saying that the department coerced potential witnesses against him. In a consolation prize, Bennett's family won a $12,500 settlement in 1995.

Now decades later, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox finally also admitted to the ineptitude of his very own police department.

“As commissioner, I apologize for the hurt, pain and suffering experience by everyone affected by the Boston Police Department, for their poor investigation, overzealous behavior and more than likely unconstitutional behavior,” Cox said.

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