May 18 Updates on Buchanan case & GPD

Thank you to everyone who came out Monday! Let’s keep the pressure on–We will not let this rest until we we’ve gotten justice. Please come out to the City Council Meeting at Jon Zon Community Center, 35 Pleasant St., at 6:30pm, and give comment if you can. Zoom attendees will not be able to give comment.

Some helpful updates before tonight:

  • The court awarded Patrick Buchanan $450k, but the city owes interest from the date the case was filed in 2017. Total over $700k + legal fees. The longer the case goes on, the more we owe him.
  • The city’s lawyers are trying to get a mistrial declared. They might get it, but that ruling would be appealed and the case will again go to court. Greenfield will lose again & owe a few more years of interest.
  • The mayor signed a 3-year contract with Chief Haigh in January, even though the jury trial was underway.
  • City Council has no authority to fire city employees. The Mayor manages city departments, so we have to pressure her to make the changes we want.
  • City Council can cut budget allocations, and they should cut GPD by $1 million tonight. That will bring Greenfield police spending in line with similar towns—excluding, of course, the hundreds of thousands our insurance will pay to Buchanan and any severance deals the Mayor might cut. But firing McCarthy and Haigh will cut two of the biggest salary packages from GPD’s budget—together over $300k.

Suggested talking points and demands tonight

  • Take responsibility for harms committed by our officers. Get rid of Chief Haigh and Lt. McCarthy—Council can’t do this, but let them know we want them gone.
  • Cut the GPD budget by $1 million. Bring our police spending in line with similar towns, and use the only lever available to the council to force change on an anti-democratic mayor and corrupt police department.
  • Don’t spend our money on superficial changes that don’t work: Training. Co-responder/ride-along clinicians. Community policing.
  • Spend our money on addressing community needs appropriately: Housing. Public health & harm reduction. Mental and behavioral health supports. Prioritize the people who are most harmed by the status quo, build racial justice and community well-being.
  • Nothing about us without us. If we learned anything from this court case, it’s that we cannot trust the mayor or GPD to deal with racism or other wrongdoings. Start a thorough, public process of dealing with the wrongdoing at GPD, acknowledging our community’s needs, and shifting our resources where they belong.