"We Don’t Want Boston to be a Place Where Untrained Civilians Use Deadly Force Against Each Other"

The council unanimously approved a resolution urging the legislature to reject a "Stand Your Ground" style bill currently in the senate.

City Councilors unanimously approved a resolution urging the legislature to reject a senate bill modeled after Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law at their weekly meeting on Wednesday. 

Stand Your Ground 

City Councilors Tito Jackson, who represents Egleston Square, and Felix G. Arroyo, an at-large councilor who lives in JP, introduced the resolution calling upon Beacon Hill to reject senate bill S.00661, titled “An Act Relative to the Common Defense,” otherwise known as “Stand Your Ground.” 

The resolution was passed with no dissent.

“This proposal is dangerous, and allows for vigilantism in the name of public defense,” said Jackson about the senate bill, which would expand the allowable use of deadly force in self-defense considerably. “It allows for deadly force any place you are allowed to be ... for the perception of a threat. We don’t want Boston to be a place where untrained civilians are encouraged to use deadly force against each other.”

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has been the focus of considerable recent attention, in the wake of the tragic shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.

Jackson also spoke about the stereotypes that doubtlessly played a role in the killing.

“The next generation of innovators, leaders and thinkers do not wear what we wear here in the City Council chambers,” he said. “Genius in the making looks different in the 21st century ... We don’t believe in people by fearing them.”

Jackson stated his belief that the Commonwealth already has sufficient laws on the books to allow citizens to defend their homes, property and loved ones—specifically, the Castle Doctrine, which allows deadly force in defense of one’s home. Massachusetts case law has also upheld the use of deadly force outside the home where a person is under attack or in immediate danger, provided they have done “everything reasonable” under the circumstances, to avoid the physical confrontation.

The “Stand Your Ground” bill does not require an individual to take all reasonable measures to avoid the confrontation.

“Bill [S.00661] is modeled on Florida’s law,” pointed out Arroyo, who continued to note that, since Florida adopted the measure, justifiable homicides have risen by 200 percent. “That’s not a statistic I want coming to Massachusetts.”

City Councilor Charles Yancey also spoke in favor of the resolution, urging his colleagues to throw their support behind it. 

MLK Day 

In a late addition to the consent agenda, Yancey introduced a measure to create April 4 as Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the City of Boston, in remembrance of his tragic assassination in Memphis, Tenn., 43 years ago from Wednesday.

“It is important not just to remember his birthday, but also the day he gave his life,” said Yancey, who recalled coming home to his native Roxbury at the height of rioting and unrest in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination. “Just as we will never forget Sept. 11, 2001, we should never forget April 4, 1968.”

The council adopted the consent agenda in its entirety, including Yancey’s resolution. 


City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Jackson introduced a new proposed district map that they said is fair, equitable and “does our best to keep neighborhoods intact.”

Redistricting is required by law every 10 years.

“I think this map is the right way to go,” said O’Malley. “It reflects the changes and demographic shifts we’ve made.

Yancey, however, disagreed, citing the 1982 splitting of Mattapan and the lack of redress the neighborhood has received since.

“I’m disappointed with both maps submitted today,” he said. “It seems to me the interests of the people of Mattapan are being dismissed.”

Yancey said he looks forward to further discussions on the matter, and the council referred the matter to committee. 

Other Items 

  • City Councilors Sal LaMattina and Mark Ciommo requested a hearing with regards to the plans of Global Partners to transport Ethanol along existing commuter rail tracks. “We’re concerned,” said LaMattina. “In past news stories, [when there is an issue], we see hundreds evacuated. In Boston and Revere, now your talking about thousands of people. LaMattina continued to state that he feels Global Partners’ plan is a “recipe for disaster” and would present a potentially appealing target to terrorists. He requested a hearing with fire and emergency personnel to go over possible disaster plans. 
  • Yancey requested a hearing with regards to the rules and procedures governing the discharging of firearms at moving vehicles. The request comes as a result of last week’s incident involving a state trooper being hit by the car of a fleeing suspect, and the subsequent manhunt that ensued. 
  • City Councilor Mike Ross discussed issues with the Green Line “E” branch between Brigham Circle and Heath Street, involving the lack of a median and the tendency of motorists to ignore the small “stop” signs attached to trolley doors. He requested a hearing regarding possible legislation to remedy this. The matter was referred to committee.
  • The meeting began with City Council President Stephen Murphy recognizing Wakefield resident Paul Antonino for his heroic actions at the scene of this weekend’s savage seven-alarm blaze in East Boston that left dozens displaced. Antonino helped rescue several senior citizens from the conflagration, running inside the burning building and pulling them to safety. Mayor Tom Menino declared Wednesday “Paul Antonino Day” in the City of Boston.
Chas Holman April 05, 2012 at 04:16 PM
For anyone that is interested…. I am an audio guy.. I took the 911 call with the most audio informatiion regarding screams, compressed it, ran it at half speed and pitch corrected it 100 percent.. even though it runs slower (just a tenth over half speed) anyone with an ear for music can tell not a note has been changed.. Digital affords you this luxury. In the analog days we had to physically slow the tape/medium down and you lose pitch and clarity. Anyway, what I find most interesting is the ghastly scream at about 1:12 right after the final shot.\. THIS AUDIO IS NOT ENHANCED per sey.. not like enhancing a photo.. the only enhancing has been to adust volume levels so you don’t hurt your ear listening to everything at relative volume levels. There are a few swirling artifacts in this copy because I had to compres the wav file to a 128 kbps mp3 to fit on my page so you had a player to hear it on.. These artifacts are slight and will not distract. The 911 call as you have never heard it before, draw your own conclusions. Listen for the scream after the shot. http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11548279 This exercise is just a way to access the call and hear things easier you would not of heard as easy just listening to the raw recording.
Billy Lauer April 06, 2012 at 12:05 PM
"We Don’t Want Boston to be a Place Where Untrained Civilians Use Deadly Force Against Each Other" It already is. http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2012/03/mattapan-massacre-jury-meet-for-seventh-day-deliberations/quZneXpolw5u2t6S0zg3QO/index.html But there are no marches, no calls for action, no leaders of the people rallying, not even for the 2 year old who was shot in the face.
Nom Deguerre April 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
"We Don’t Want Boston to be a Place Where Untrained Civilians Use Deadly Force Against Each Other" Are you kidding me? The statement should have been: "We Don’t Want Boston to be a Place Where legally authorized gun owning and law abiding citizens are allowed to defend themselves and their family." Because I can assure you that few shootings in the city involve law abiding licensed gun owners. Remember the key points points that always seem to be ignored: 1. Law abiding citizens are the ones who apply for and are granted a firearms license. 2. Firearms license applicants and holders must have no disqualifying criminal history. 3. Firearms license applicants and holders must have no disqualifying psychiatric history. 4. A criminal records check is done on all firearms license applicants and if holders of a valid license violate the law, their license and right to possess firearms is revoked. 5. All firearms purchases are strictly regulated, both on the federal and more strictly, on the Massachusetts State level. 6. It is the right of all law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, according to the 2nd Amendment and current federal law. Sane law abiding citizens do not; rob banks, deal drugs, break into homes, buy and sell illegal firearms, buy and sell firearms illegally, assault people at random or shoot people for unlawful reasons. Restricting law abiding citizens their right to bear arms and protect their homes and persons, makes no bloody sense at all.
Nom Deguerre April 06, 2012 at 07:50 PM
A city councilmen making a statement like this underlines the fundamental disconnect and intentional ignorance between firearms, the law and law abiding citizens. A simpleton like Tito Jackson making such an uniformed remark like this is not surprising. What is surprising and frightening, is that NO ONE challenges this position.


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