The liberal attorney general in Massachusetts raised eyebrows over recent comments she made about the violent protests that have engulfed cities across the U.S.
Maura Healey, the state’s top attorney, told the Boston Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that riots are part of the lifecycle, like wildfires in nature.
“Yes, America is burning, but that’s how forests grow,” she said on a Zoom chat, according to the New Boston Post.
Her comments were panned on social media. Jeff Jacoby, an op-ed writer at the Boston Globe, posted on Twitter, “What a foul, reckless thing for anyone to say, let alone an attorney general. People are dying in these riots. Families are being ruined. And Healey cheers? Despicable.”
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Healey celebrated her own comment and posted a photo of the text on Twitter. She wrote that the country must “seize the opportunity we have right now to build anew in ways that rid us of the institutionalized racism that’s led to America burning today.”
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George Floyd’s death while in police custody has prompted nationwide unrest with no clear end in sight. Cities and businesses that have been badly damaged by the coronavirus outbreak now have to work to rebuild. Democrats, like Joe Biden—the likely Democrat nominee—have tried to suggest that President Trump is partly to blame for the riots. Trump, however, has been quick to criticize the Floyd video and called for a swift investigation into the case.
Healey was not the only official in Massachusetts who faced criticism over recent remarks. District Attorney Rachel Rollins, from Suffolk County, posted on Twitter, “Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Christian Cooper. While we are being murdered at will by the police & their proxy, privileged racists like Amy Cooper play the victim,” Rollins wrote. “No more apologies. No more words. Demand action. Radical change now. Nothing less.”
Her post was seen by some as threatening to police officers and was criticized by the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.
“While you quickly and cavalierly label all police officers murderers, the fact is that BPD officers responded to violent attacks against them with courage and restraint,” BPPA President Lawrence Calderone and Vice President Richard Withington wrote to Rollins, according to the Boston Globe. “Instead of slandering our officers as murderers, you should be highlighting their professionalism and dedication to our city.”