A few weeks ago, we ran a piece about the BPD’s long overdue response to a request for internal communications and information regarding the city’s annual Freedom Rally. Deputy John Daley responded via Twitter, promising to look into the matter.
Unfortunately, the BPD still hasn’t provided an answer. But they aren’t completely ignoring FOIA requests related to the issue - while following up with the Hempfest article, I also filed a request for documents (including citations) related to the much-debated ban on smoking on the Common which came into effect earlier this year.
The results were surprising. Apparently, since the ban started in January, the police haven’t written any citations for smoking in one of Boston’s most popular parks. In retrospect, the buzz over the bans, aimed at decreasing effects of secondhand smoke and discouraging young people from picking up the habit, may have been energy wasted on both sides of the debate.
I’ll be interested in reviewing the Hempfest documents - if they ever materialize - for any hint of instructions to the officers on how to handle actions that violate the new amendment. I plan to expand my search for citation information beyond the Commons, to any park in the city where smoking is banned. I’m also requesting budgetary information from the city’s Parks and Rec department, following their promise to post advertisements in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, if you know anyone who has been cited since the ban, email us with your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.