Pat Romney: Troubled by propensity to divide


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

My review of the July 5 video showing the interaction between Amherst youth and Amherst Police who were called to the scene by a noise complaint leads me to the conclusion that there were errors made. Those errors have been acknowledged by the Amherst Police Department.

Still, the outcome was just what I would want for my children. No physical abuse. No arrests. Parents called and children safely at home. It is hard for me to understand how that is not good enough. It is hard for me to understand how this can be compared to the experiences of groups like the Central Park Five who were beaten, wrongly convicted and jailed for between six and 13 years.

Our town has a diversity, equity and inclusion director, a Black woman attorney with many years of experience doing work on equity and inclusion. She conducted an investigation and concluded that the police did not abuse their authority, yet her conclusions are ignored or repudiated.

Who does that serve?

The Town Council, CSCJ, Human Rights Commission, African American Reparations Commission, the DEI Officer, are now all involved with the issues. I have no objection to oversight, but I wonder what community needs are not being met while much of their energy is focused on this one incident.

I have been an Amherst resident for 41 years and am troubled again, and again, and again by our community’s propensity to divide into (usually two) adversarial camps.

The refusal to engage in dialogue focused on bridging difference in the interest of community and justice leaves everyone feeling victimized and results in little advance toward justice and the common good. We need to do better!

Pat Romney