Michael Cox, the officer who was viciously beaten by Boston Police in the 90s, will now help to “revitalize” the city’s controversial Police Department as commissioner, Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday morning.
Cox, who currently serves as the Ann Arbor Police Chief, spent nearly 33 years in law enforcement with the Boston Police Department (BPD). Upon joining the force in 1989, the newly elected commissioner worked his way up the ranks, first starting as a probationary recruit officer. He eventually became superintendent of the Bureau of Professional Development, a post he held for four years before taking on the job in Michigan.
In 1995, Cox garnered praise following his successful civil rights lawsuit against the BPD after the department mistook him for a murder suspect during an undercover mission and beat him unconscious. For years, the department ostracized Cox as they tried to cover up evidence tied to the incident, but the law enforcement official made his voice heard while publicizing the dangers Black officers often face on the field. According to the New York Times, Cox eventually settled with the city for a whopping $1.3 million in damages and attorney fees.
“Part of my healing process was what do I want to do with my life, how do I want to get back?” Cox previously said about his hesitation in rejoining the force. “Do I want to walk away from a job that, prior to that incident that, I loved, and still have an opportunity to help the public? Or do I want to let this impact me in a negative way where I walk away from that, and nobody learns from it?”
Now, Cox will work to improve and hopefully fix some of the historical failures that the department has become notorious for. During a press conference in Roxbury, the former superintendent said that he wanted to prioritize “community policing” and help to build trust between Bostonians and law enforcement.
“The day one priority that I have, internally, is certainly letting the department know in both civilian and sworn that we have a leader amongst the group again and that I’m here to support, develop, include, and work with each and every one of them is doing this very difficult job,” Cox told reporters, Mass News reported.
“Boston is a very diverse city, we need to go and learn about the diversity of the city and be able to understand the cultures and all the people in each part of our neighborhoods so we don’t offend them in any way or we don’t traumatize them in any way unnecessarily,” he added.
The BPD has operated for more than a year without a commissioner. Cox’s appointment comes after the controversial firing of former Commissioner Dennis White, who was let go after facing numerous allegations of domestic violence, which he has vehemently denied.
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