Hodgson needs to go
Recently, in a published letter in response to the letter of the South Coast faith leaders who objected to his secretly reporting churches to the White House for following the tenets of their religions, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson attempted to justify his actions, but the problems with it are many and troubling
Although he likes to throw out that his job is the safety of the county, he would be best at doing that by running his jails properly, and doing his real job without the spotlight seeking. Local law enforcement keeps us safe, not his attempts to create an adversarial relationship between local law enforcement and their communities by ICE posing as the police, and spreading cartoonish stereotypes of immigrants to create division in the county between residents. He states his email was just to inform while he omits that in his email he not only speculates about how widespread legal information is made available, but that his “undercover units” are prepared to investigate.
As he stated, “My undercover units are poised and ready for whatever we can do to identify and expedite the arrest and removal of criminal illegal alien. Our discussion regarding a hotline is clearly relevant.”
Why does a county sheriff have an undercover unit when his job is to run his jails, not patrol, pursue suspects, or arrest the same?
How has he been using this unit he claims he has?
He asks in his letter, “Did I ask the White House to spy on my or any other church? No. Did I say the literature was suspicious? No.”
He might not have asked the White House “to spy on my or any other churches”, but he certainly volunteered his “undercover unit” to do it.
In his email dated August 7, 2017, and sent at 12:41 p.m., he wrote, “Stephen [Miller], thought you might like to see samples of cards I discovered in a holder at the back of St. Julie’s Church in Dartmouth, MA. While attending mass last Sunday, I noticed a holder on a table near the entrance marked, ‘ICE-Immigration’ and noticed the three stacks of colored cards. Trying to determine if this is an isolated situation or a common occurrence in other parish churches. I thought it was appropriate to make Washington aware when these things were happening. If these kinds of things are going on in churches, then we should be aware of it.”
If he didn’t say the literature was suspicious, he certainly acted as if it was, writing to Steven Miller without first talking to the pastor of the church until his emails were uncovered two years later.
And, once again he promotes the idea that Sanctuary communities across the United States are commonly known as places where illegal immigrants are committing serious crimes, yet, he does not cite statistics, nor does he explain how this applies to Bristol County.
This is what he always does. He makes statements whose strength is merely that he makes them. Why bother with fact?
His claims that it is harder for the undocumented to be apprehended by law enforcement could be because they are not doing anything that warrants it. If a person is here illegally, staying in the shadows would protect them from deportation, something that committing crimes would make difficult.
Are we to assume, without his citing statistics, not individual, isolated incidents, that invisible crime is being committed among us, but in spite of their number and severity, we just don’t notice?
Some of the safest cities in the country are in this state and they are sanctuary communities, like Newton, Northhampton, and Orleans.
Finally his misrepresenting what his job actually is, and how desperate he is to make something it is not is this gem, “Like our faith leaders, I too have an obligation to save and protect souls, but in a different way as a law enforcement professional.”
No, his job is to run his jails, the majority of inmates of whom have yet to have their day in court and are, therefore, innocent until proven guilty. He is not some anointed faith leader doing the Lord’s work.
When a county sheriff whose job is to run two jails has an undercover unit, spreads falsehoods about people in the county to promote a political agenda and himself, makes broad statements without facts to back them, and then goes so far as to presents his job in religious terms where he claims his obligation is to save souls, it is time for change.
Joe Quigley, New Bedford, Cartoonist/Blogger
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