News

Recap of Mayor Walsh’s Press Briefing from October 13th

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, October 13, 2020.

Case numbers:

  • As of today (Tuesday) in Massachusetts: 632 new confirmed cases, for a total of 137,565 confirmed cases. There were 12 new deaths, for a total of 9,413.

  • As of today (Tuesday) in Boston: 139 new cases, for a total of 18,275. There were no new deaths, and the total remains at 768.

Update on COVID-19 data:

  • The Mayor said that for the week ending October 5, Boston continued to experience the somewhat elevated rate of coronavirus activity that we’ve seen for the past several weeks.

  • Positive tests went down, from about 73 new cases per day to 69 per day. But testing was down slightly as well, with roughly 1,725 Boston residents tested each day. Thus, the positive test rate remained at 4.1%.

  • Among neighborhoods, the 02121/02125 zip codes of Dorchester had the highest positive test rate, followed by Hyde Park. The rate in East Boston went down again, to 6.5%. The remaining neighborhoods with rates above the citywide average were Dorchester 02122/02124, Roxbury, and South Boston. Young adults and Latino communities continue to see the highest new case numbers.

  • The City continues to focus on multilingual outreach and expanded testing and health care access in these communities and across the city.

New testing resources:

  • The Mayor announced that the City has created a second mobile testing team. The first team is a partnership with East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and will be located in Central Square, East Boston, through October 24. The new team is a partnership with Whittier Street Health Center, and is located in Nubian Square, Roxbury, through October 24.

  • In addition, CVS began testing at two new sites this past Friday, in neighborhoods with elevated rates. They are now testing at pharmacies on Saratoga St. in East Boston and Gallivan Boulevard in Dorchester, bringing their citywide total to six locations.

  • In all, there are currently 29 active testing sites across Boston. You can find them on our map of testing sites at boston.gov/coronavirus.

  • The Mayor pledged that the City will continue to monitor and share data, work closely with public health experts and the medical community, and bring resources and information to where it is needed.

  • He urged residents to do their part, by continuing to take all the precautions necessary to stay healthy and slow the spread of the virus: wear a mask, wash your hands, keep six feet from others, avoid parties and large gatherings — and get your flu shot as soon as possible.

Accepting the recommendations of the Police Reform Task Force:

  • Mayor Walsh was joined at his press conference by the members of the Boston Police Reform Task Force, chaired by former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd, as well as Police Commissioner William Gross and members of the Boston Police Department.

  • The Mayor announced that, after a robust process of research, public input, and deliberation, the Task Force has submitted their final recommendations and he has accepted them. They are available in six languages at boston.gov/policereform.

  • The Mayor said that Boston’s goal is to dismantle systemic racism and build up equity and justice so that every resident receives equal protection and equitable opportunity. The inequitable impacts of COVID, the terrible incidents of violence against Black Americans we have witnessed across the country, and the powerful, passionate response in Boston’s community, combined to create a new urgency this year. We must, he said, and we will, sustain that urgency and turn it into transformational, systemic change.

  • The Mayor recounted the steps the Administration has taken since June, when he declared racism a public health crisis in the City of Boston. We shifted funding into health equity, trauma response, eviction prevention, and community centered programs. We strengthened the use of force policies in the Boston Police Department. We restructured City government by placing a Chief of Equity in the cabinet to drive this work forward. And, he appointed the Police Reform Task Force, made up of civil rights leaders, public safety experts, and racial justice activists from Boston’s Black community. Their charge was to review the policies and procedures of the Boston Police Department, take community input, and present recommendations for action and reform.

  • Since that time, the Task Force researched the issues, both here in Boston and across the country; held four public listening sessions on key issues of accountability, diversity, use of force, and transparency; and took written testimony in multiple languages. Hundreds of residents made their voices heard. The Task Force shared draft recommendations last month, then took public input through an additional listening session.

  • The Mayor described the Task Force’s recommendations as bold and comprehensive:

    • They call for an Office of Police Accountability and Transparency with full subpoena power to investigate misconduct.

    • They call for a Diversity and Inclusion Unit in the Boston Police Department to work on representation and equity for officers of color.

    • They call for the continued expansion of the body-worn camera program and the continued ban on biometrics and facial recognition technology.

    • They call for enhanced use of force policies that articulate a clear disciplinary code.

    • They call for expanded public access to the policies, procedures, and data of the Police Department.

    • And they call for action in each of these areas within a timeline of 180 days.

  • The Mayor announced that he accepts and endorses each of these principles, and he set out the steps he would take to begin implementing them.

    • In the coming weeks, he will take the actions necessary to create an Office of Police Accountability and Transparency. It will house a Civilian Review Board with subpoena power to conduct investigations and an Internal Affairs Oversight Panel that builds on and strengthens the existing CO-OP board. He has directed the Administration to create a job posting for an Executive Director of the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, so that we can create this office as soon as possible.

    • He is immediately directing Chief of Equity Karilyn Crockett to lead a cross-cabinet team to support the Boston Police Department in creating a Diversity and Inclusion Unit and updating their internal policies to ensure they are all written through the lens of equity.

    • Next Monday, he will file a Home Rule Petition at the City Council — and ultimately at the State Legislature — to amend the state Civil Service rules that govern police department hiring. This petition will establish a preference for graduates of the Boston Public Schools, METCO, or any schools in the Boston Compact, which includes charter schools and parochial schools in our city. This step will build on the success of our Police Cadet program by developing a new pipeline for diverse Boston residents into law enforcement careers.

  • The Mayor said that these steps will mark a new era for Boston in police practices and community relations. We are in a position to take these steps, he said, because we have the best and most trusted police department in the nation. These steps ensure that we continue to have the best and most trusted police department in America. And, at a time of national turmoil, Boston will offer a model of how to come together and move forward in achieving racial justice in our country.

  • The Mayor thanked the members of the Task Force for their hard work, thanked community members for sharing their views and experiences, and thanked the officers and leaders of the Boston Police Department for their daily work and collaboration in this process.

  • He invited former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd, NAACP Boston Branch President Tanisha Sullivan, and Commissioner William Gross to speak.

  • The Mayor then offered this reflection: “After George Floyd’s murder, the Black community in Boston spoke clearly. They spoke on the streets. They spoke through this Task Force. Black and Brown members of this administration spoke directly to me, from the heart. They talked about the acts of violence we see in the news and they also spoke about the daily indignities, stresses, and traumas that affect them right here in our city. What I realized was, doing better than before isn’t enough and doing better than other cities isn’t enough. We have to change the system we inherited, and we have to change it in a foundational way to put an end to those experiences and inequities for good. It’s deep, long-term work, and it takes sustained, long-term commitment. We’ve shown this year that we can do that work. We have sustained the urgency of a moment, and we have turned it into a new chapter. But, as the Task Force said, this is just the beginning. To accomplish these goals the community has set before us, we must keep this urgency alive, and to keep moving forward, we must keep working together — elected officials, community leaders, activists, officers, and residents. I call on each and every one of us to play a positive and constructive role in this process. That’s how we will move Boston forward, and that’s how we will move America forward.”

Update on preventing evictions and supporting tenants and homeowners:

  • The Mayor noted that the statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expires on October 17, this coming Saturday.

  • He described eviction as a racial justice issue, because evictions hit communities of color the hardest, especially harming women of color and their children. It’s also a serious public health issue, he added, because housing instability will create conditions where the virus can more easily spread.

  • The Mayor summarized the tools and resources the City has developed to help tenants.

    • 46,000 at-risk households have been mailed information to let them know their rights. Those are arriving in mailboxes this week.

    • The Mayor filed an ordinance at the City Council to require landlords to provide information about a tenant’s rights and resources. There is a hearing tomorrow (Wednesday) and he urged the Council to pass it before the moratorium lifts.

    • We are reopening our Rental Relief Fund, which has already helped 1,000 families pay their rent. That support goes directly to landlords, and the Mayor encouraged them to look into it for their tenants. New applications will be available on October 19.

    • We also have a Housing Stability Pledge. More than 30 large landlords have signed an agreement to avoid evictions.

    • We are working with the State, to make sure that the new resources announced yesterday reach Boston tenants and property owners.

    • We also have programs and resources for homeowners that can help many small landlords. The Mayor encouraged homeowners to reach out to the Boston Home Center if they have questions.

  • The Mayor said the most important thing for renters to understand right now is that the CDC has a national moratorium in place until the end of the year. Tenants need to fill out a form, and give a signed copy to their landlord, to receive that protection, and the City stands ready to help them do that. You can download the form at boston.gov/HousingStability, and you can call 3-1-1 or call our Office of Housing Stability directly for help.

You'll Also Like

About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.