“There are a lot of unanswered questions raised by this very troubling arrest, and the Town of Provincetown is unwilling even to look into them,” said Don Gorton, the group’s Chairperson. “Accordingly, we have launched our own inquiry into serious concerns relating to police practice and procedures that this episode has brought to light,” Gorton continued.
Among the causes for concern are questions about poor training and inadequate screening and supervision of college-age “seasonal officers” employed for the summer, and the heavy-handed police response to complaints about non-criminal noise violations. Other questions relate to police sensitivity to cultural diversity—the party broken up was attended by gay men, while the arresting officers, Bova and Barone, are reportedly heterosexual; the detention of individuals in “protective custody”—Mr. Scott’s partner was placed in a jail cell without medical care for the night though accused of no crime; Provincetown’s ability to respond optimally to sexual orientation-based hate crimes; and Provincetown’s administrative remedies for instances of police misconduct.
Given the Acting Chief’s refusal to turn over information about the arrest to the press voluntarily, the Anti-Violence Project is seeking all relevant documents within the scope of the Massachusetts Public Records Law. If agency heads fail to provide requested public documents, the law allows for an appeal to be taken to the Secretary of State’s Office. The orders of that office are judicially enforceable. The Anti-Violence Project has established a Legal Defense Fund to assist Mr. Scott in fighting the charges.