TEXT ON SCREEN: RETRO REPORT PRESENTS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NEW YORKERA FILM BY SCOTT MICHELSEDITED BY SANDRINE ISAMBERT
TEXT ON SCREEN: From 1987 to 1990 Bostons homicide rate nearly doubled, reaching its highest levels ever.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, LOCAL NEWS, 1989):NEWS REPORT: Tonight, violence in Dorchester. Police say a teenage boy was killed
ARCHIVAL (WBZ LOCAL NEWS, 1989):NEWS REPORT: A shooting spree left three people wounded
ARCHIVAL (WGBH, 1-4-90):NEWS REPORT: One of the most violent weekends in the citys history
TEXT ON SCREEN: October 23, 1989
ARCHIVAL (ABC, NIGHTLINE, 1-8-90):POLICE EMERGENCY DISPATCHER: State Police, Boston, recorded emergency 510.CHARLES STUART: My wifes been shot, Ive been shot.
ARCHIVAL (CBS RESCUE 911):DISPATCH: Where are you right now, sir, can you indicate to me?CHARLES STUART: No. I dont know. He made us go to an abandoned area.
ROBERT MERNER (BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, 1986-2015): We heard it over the radio. We had a pregnant white female from the suburbs shot in the head, and we had her husband that was shot. And he was in critical condition at the time.
ARCHIVAL (CBS RESCUE 911):DISPATCH: Whats your name, sir?CHARLES STUART: Stuart, Chuck Stuart.DISPATCH: Chuck? Hang in with me Chuck, can you hear me?CHARLES STUART: My wife stopped gurgling, she stopped breathing.
ROBERT MERNER: We responded to the scene. We were two of dozens of cops.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ NEWS,1-17-90):NEWS REPORT: A brutal attack on a pregnant woman and her husband
ROBERT MERNER: There would be at least one or two shootings a night back then. But that was a different type of shooting. We were mostly dealing with young, black males who were involved in gangs and drugs. Here you have woman in a prenatal visit at one of the premiere hospitals in the city of Boston, carjacked and robbed and murdered.
ARCHIVAL (CBS RESCUE):COP: Did you see who did this? One guy? Two guys?CHARLES STUART: One guy.COP: What did he look like?CHARLES STUART: It was a black man.
ROBERT MERNER: It really exploded that maybe Boston was an unsafe place.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 10-24-89):TOM BROKAW: A nightmare story of random crime and violent death.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 10-28-89):NEWS REPORT: Millions of television viewers across the United States listened in horror
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, CITY UNDER FIRE, 1989):ANCHOR: Every day you and your friends and family are not victims of crime, the odds will increase that you will be. We feel vulnerable because we are vulnerable.
ROBERT MERNER: And the mayor came right out and said I want everybody down here.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, THE STUART CASE, 1-17-90):MAYOR RAYMOND FLYNN: I instructed the police commissioner and the Boston Police Department to be as aggressive as they ever have been before.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, THE STUART CASE, 1-17-90):NEWS REPORT: Boston Police are looking for one black male in connection
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, CITY UNDER FIRE, OCTOBER, 1989):NEWS REPORT: One of the most intense police manhunts in the citys history.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 10-28-89):NEWS REPORT: Searching anyone who looks like a gang member or a drug dealer, largely in the black neighborhoods.
ROBERT MERNER: The efforts, investigative efforts, were concentrated in the Mission Hill Housing Development. Stops, arrests and summonses for everything, from drinking in public to small amounts of narcotics, because the concept was, shake as many trees as you can until we start getting information on who committed this heinous crime.
EUGENE F. RIVERS (PASTOR): The city was amazingly violent.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, CITY UNDER FIRE, OCTOBER,1989):NEWS REPORT: Since September first, fourteen murders in Boston
EUGENE F. RIVERS: The neighborhood was essentially held hostage by the drug dealers.I and a few other individuals, every day, we would tour the neighborhood. I was on the streets the night that Carol Stuart died. Up and down the street you saw the blue lights. They were grabbing up young black males.
JEFFREY BROWN (PASTOR): When I first came to Boston to be a pastorI had family members and friends warn me, be very careful, stay in the communities of color because its a very racist city.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 1-8-90):NEWS REPORT: A massive police presence searched for the black male Charles Stuart said had committed the crime
JEFFREY BROWN: I remember driving in, maybe two days after the woman was shot and killed and seeing police officers lining up these guys from Mission Hill. They would pull the pants down, they would be very obtrusive in their searches. It really made me feel very fearful about who I was as a black man.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, THE STUART CASE, 1-17-90):NEWS REPORT: There are reports of a possible break in the case, 39-year-old William Willie Bennett is considered a prime suspect.
ROBERT MERNER:He was an individual who had been involved with law enforcement many times, violent crimes, armed robberies, things like that. The initial information was that his nephew was kind of spouting off in front of a couple of other teenage males, saying, Yeah, it was my Uncle Willie that killed those two white people.
ARCHIVAL (WBZ, THE STUART CASE, 1-17-90):PROSECUTOR: Hes just a mad dog running amok and society has to be protected here.
JEFFREY BROWN: It was all this media about, you know, how dangerous the inner city is.It was almost tied into the character of black people.
ROBERT MERNER: The number of police officers that were assigned to the investigation was something that you would never see in the Mission Projects. There was a lot of feedback from the community that, wait a minute, weve got a lot of African-American kids being shot around the city.How come we never got this kind of response before? And they were right.
JEFFREY BROWN: You had this confluence, where you had all of this violent activity happening within the inner city, and you had the racial issues that we had to deal with on top of that. And the Charles Stuart case sort of put that on grand illustration.
TEXT ON SCREEN: January 4, 1990.Two and a half months after the murder
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 1-4-90):TOM BROKAW: There is an unsettling mystery tonight surrounding Boston businessman Charles Stuart.
JEFFREY BROWN: I received a phone call from someone that Charles Stuart just jumped off the bridge and that hes dead. And I was like, Youre kidding me.
ARCHIVAL (NBC, 1-4-90):NEWMAN FLANAGAN (SUFFOLK COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY): Yesterday afternoon, there was a dramatic turn of events which focused on Mr. Charles Stuart as a suspect.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, NIGHTLINE, 1-8-90):NEWS REPORT: There had been, we were now told, no black gunman after all, no robbery.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, NIGHTLINE, 1-8-90):FORREST SAWYER: A racially charged murder that had police frisking young blacks at random and legislators crying for the death penalty was instantly transformed into an ugly domestic killing.
RAY HAMMOND (PASTOR): It made unavoidably obvious what people had been saying all along, which was when theres even a suggestion that a black man may be involved, the rules change.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Two years earlier.
ARCHIVAL (WNEV, 1988):NEWS REPORT: Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan have been hit by a series of shootings, stabbings and beatings.
ARCHIVAL (WNEV, 1988):NEWS REPORT: Two teenagers were gunned down near a Roxbury playground.
JEFFREY BROWN: Violence started to careen out of control in the late 80s.It was just shooting happening all over the place. And we were doing as clergy more funerals of teenagers.
ARCHIVAL (WCVB NEWS 1990):NEWS REPORT: Boston has seen an horrific increase in the number of violent crimes committed by and against its young black men.
ARCHIVAL (CBS, 9-11-89):NEWS REPORT: Increasingly these crimes are committed by children. Teenage gangs.
JEFFREY BROWN: You can go to any emergency room and you would see, on gurneys, young black men, usually, Latino men, dying.
EUGENE F. RIVERS: When we moved to Four Corners we had no idea the young men held the neighborhood hostage. The majority of adults were terrified by the neighborhood.
ROBERT MERNER: The city of Boston and the police department was denying that we had a gang problem. The intelligence unit at that time was concentrating more on the traditional mafia or Irish gangs. And nobody was really keeping track of these street gangs.
ARCHIVAL (BOUNDARIES OF FEAR,1989):ROBERT MERNER: This kids saying you shot him. So if you didnt shoot him you better have [beep] something to say to me.
ROBERT MERNER: These are kidsbetween the ages of 16 and 24 that played basketball together, went to middle school together, and all of a sudden were shooting back and forth.
ARCHIVAL (BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):ROBERT MERNER: We seem to be locking up the same individuals over and over again.
ROBERT MERNER: We were making numerous arrests for drugs and guns. The judge would set conditions of probation such as curfews.
ARCHIVAL (WCVB CHRONICLE, 1990):COP: how come youre out this time of night?KID: I dont know. Just chilling.
ROBERT MERNER: But that was kind of the end of it for us because it wasnt our job to check conditions of probation. It was the probation officers.
ARCHIVAL (BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):WILLIAM STEWART: I kind of get the feeling from you that its my fault that youre here and thats not true.
WILLIAM STEWART (PROBATION DEPARTMENT, DORCHESTER DISTRICT COURT, 1977-2016): The kids would come into the office, and theyd be talking about things that they had done at night.All we had to do was ask questions, Are you doing okay? Yeah, yeah, yeah. We only worked 8:30 to 4:30; thats all we had to do. 4:30, get in your car and go home.
ROBERT MERNER: You had some of our more violent offendersthat nobody was checking.
ARCHIVAL (WHDH NEWS, 1990):GANG MEMBER: Were just going to keep doing it and doing it and doing it and doing it. Aint no stopping us.
ARCHIVAL (CBS, 9-11-89):NEWS REPORT: The gangs use street names Humbolt, Intervale, Castlegate.
ROMERO HOLLIDAY: I grew up on Castlegate. It started off as just a bunch of friends. They would call us doughboys because thats what we wanted to do,get money, look cute for the girls. We started selling weed and we got involved with these guys from New York.And they showed us that we could corner the market with this new drug called crack.
ROMERO HOLIDAY (ON THE STREET): This is one of the main areas we hung in.
ROMERO HOLIDAY: You ever been to a Stop and Shop right before a snowstorm? And its a long line? Thats how it was for crack. They came and they came. You can imagine Im still young, that was the most money Ive ever seen in my life. We got involved with somebody from New York who got us guns. We had protection. In our little world, we was on top of it.
ROBERT MERNER:Romero Holliday was public enemy number one at one time up on Castlegate Road. Sold drugs, was very violent. There was ongoing feuds at the time between the Castlegate crew and the crew up at Humboldt Ave.
ROMERO HOLLIDAY: Every day we went up there and we shot at them. Every day. We would literally, Did you go up there today? No? Come on lets go up there. Every day. What did we call it? Putting them on the schedule. We used to say, You want to put them on the schedule, too? If you mess with me, if you deal with me, if you hurt me, Im going to hurt you and anybody else that deals with you.
ROBERT MERNER: We were having broad daylight shootings, there were innocent people caught in crossfires. Darlene Tiffany Moore was a young girl was sitting on the mailbox at the corner of Humboldt and Homestead and caught a stray round hitting her in the head and killing her.
JEFFREY BROWN: Her mother had sent her down South to avoid the violence that was happening in the community. And she had come up to visit her mother. And this one visit, she was killed.
ROBERT MERNER: You know, we were there on scene first and watching the life flow out of a 12-year-old little girlyoure thinking, you know, this is a child that lives in the same city that my son lives in. And, you know, its just unacceptable.
ARCHIVAL (WGBH, 8-22-88):CITY COUNCILMAN BRUCE BOLLING: Whats going on in this city, particularly in district B, is open warfare.LOUIS ELISA (NAACP): We pay our taxes, we do our work, we send our kids to school, now were demanding equal protection under the law.
ROBERT MERNER: We thought like everybody else that this was a generation that was going to be lost to jail and violence and that they were hopeless and that the only method that we needed to deal with them was through enforcement.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 11-21-89):NEWS REPORT: Police have begun to stop and search suspected gang members for weapons.
ARCHIVAL (BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):ROBERT MERNER: Everybody get your [bleep] hands on the wall!KID: Yo, I live right there!ROBERT MERNER: Everybody get your hands on the wall. I know where you live!
ROBERT MERNER:We were taking weapons off the street and getting cases on people that were selling drugs.
RAY HAMMOND: I made it my business during that time, often, if I was driving home and I saw the police questioning somebody, Id get out.
ARCHIVAL (WHDH, BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):COP: We dont play. Spread your [beep] legs!
RAY HAMMOND: It was very loud, very aggressive in many cases.
ARCHIVAL (WHDH, BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):NEWS REPORT: Disturbing allegations of cops arbitrarily pulling down peoples pants
RAY HAMMOND: There were people within the community who supported it. The problem is all kinds of innocent kids who had nothing to do with it got swept up in it as well. Were all just either perpetrators or potential perps to you. Thats all we are.
ARCHIVAL (WGBH, 8-15-90):EUGENE F. RIVERS: I need to talk to you.
EUGENE F. RIVERS:A growing number of young people would come to me asking for assistance because I was doing outreach. And so I started visiting the court five days a week advocating for kids.
WILLIAM STEWART: I remember walking by the courthouse. Hed look at us, wed look at him, and hed, pfft, and wed, pfft him back. It was us against them.
EUGENE F. RIVERS: I had received reports that the police had circulated the rumor that I was actually a drug dealer. This black clergyman was selling drugs in the black community.
JEFFREY BROWN: The police department was dealing with racial issues that culminated when Charles Stuart killed his wife and blamed it on a black man.
RAY HAMMOND: It felt like the final straw. Weve got a toxic racial dynamic happening right here, and theres no denying it. Theres no getting around it.
ARCHIVAL (WGBH, 1-5-90):COMMUNITY LEADER: You have dealt us an injustice!REPORTER: Anger is too mild a word for what these black community leaders expressed today.COMMUNITY LEADER: This time, however, the night riding was not the action of white-robed bigots, but instead the actions of a mayor, Mayor Raymond Flynn, who so quickly jumped to conclusions.
RAY HAMMOND: It was so blatant. It was played out in real time. And the whole nation was watching.
ON SCREEN: December 18, 1990.
ARCHIVAL (WGBH, STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL REPORT ON BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, 12-18-90):MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES SHANNON: The most disturbing findings are those of public strip searches. There is no excuse for forcing young men to lower their trousers or for police officers to search inside their underwear in public streets and hallways.
ROBERT MERNER: By 1990, the shootings and murders had increased. The stop and frisk resulted in more seizures of firearms, resulted in more arrests, more incarcerations.It didnt change the violence one bit and the relationships with the African-American community and the police was deteriorating quickly. We were kind of like shoveling sand against the tide and it was like, nothings getting better. Its getting worse.
WILLIAM STEWART: Kids are dying all hours of the day. Kids that are on probation. I had 65 kids shot to death in five years. Shot to death, and they were all one color, and nobody cared. A young man that I had had on probation was shot to death. And his mom, said, Why did you let them kill my baby? And she started to vent, and she started to hit me. I let her, I let her. And afterwards, I thought, you know, she was right. She was right.
JEFFREY BROWN: I thought I needed to understand the culture that all this violence is coming out of. And it became clear to me that no matter how many programs I would build for youth to come into the church, they werent coming in.
RAY HAMMOND: I was working with some other ministers who also felt a real concern about what was happening with young people. The event I think that really crystallized it for a lot of us was the Morning Star incident. A funeral at a church very much involved in the community was crashed when some of the guys lost it when they saw somebody from a rival gang.
EUGENE F. RIVERS: And a massive fight and turmoil breaks loose in the church, turning the complete service out and terrorizing everyone in the church.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 5-3-96):NEWS REPORT: A boy was stabbed nine times before a shocked congregation.
JEFFREY BROWN: The message I thought that Morning Star gave was we had to come out of the four walls of our sanctuary and meet the youth where they were.
EUGENE F. RIVERS: Every Friday night, we were in the street. In the most violent neighborhoods, to see clergy doing patrols was a big deal. You had never seen black clergy patrols in the City of Boston.
JEFFREY BROWN: But what we found out as we were walking the streets, was that the youth werent the only people watching us.
ROBERT MERNER: We would pass Reverend Ray Hammond, Reverend Eugene Rivers, Reverend Jeff Brown. And at night time, the black clergy and the police were the only adult males that were really out there in the community.
JEFFREY BROWN: So we started to have meetings with them, not about the state of policing, or anything like that, but it was about the neighborhoods.
WILLIAM STEWART: Jeff Brown became a fixture in our building. Gene Rivers was a fixture in our building.
ROBERT MERNER: We said, Hey, we got to try something different. These kids all wanted to please their probation officers because violation of probation meant they could be incarcerated. Probation officers didnt work nights, and the police officers didnt have the jurisdiction to knock on doors checking conditions of probation.And we said, Look, we want to have the probation officers start riding with us at night.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 11-16-96):NEWS REPORT: While police have constitutional restraints on conducting searches, probation officers do not.
ARCHIVAL (IN SEARCH OF LAW AND ORDER, 1998):WILLIAM STEWART: Is Antwon home? Do you have anything I dont want to find? Do you have a stash in here or anything?
ROBERT MERNER: If they werent home or if they were in places where they werent supposed to be we were going to get them violated so we could get them off the street.
ARCHIVAL (IN SEARCH OF LAW AND ORDER, 1989):WILLIAM STEWART: How are ya? You came just to walk your girlfriend home?
WILLIAM STEWART:The longer we were out there, the more I learned about the nature of, nature of the neighborhood.
ARCHIVAL (IN SEARCH OF LAW AND ORDER, 1989):WILLIAM STEWART: How long do you think its going to take you to get home?KID: 10 minutes.WILLIAM STEWART: Oh, I think less the way your hearts beating now.
ROBERT MERNER:When you went into the houses, you know, you learned that they might be all that out on the street, but at home they were the ones putting food on the table, making sure the younguns get up for school. So we started to get a bigger picture of that this wasnt a group of lost souls.
WILLIAM STEWART: It was always separate. Now all of a sudden, were joined. And what we were doing is we were exchanging names, information, and intelligence. And then we were working with David Kennedy from Harvard.
DAVID KENNEDY (CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCHER, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, 1991-2004): I decided to try to do something practical to try to figure out what was going on with the killing in Boston and what if anything might be done about it. There was this quite amazing coalition that had come together. It was Boston cops, prosecutors, probation officers, and outreach workers. We put a city map of Boston on a table and said start somewhere and show us where these crews are and how theyre operating. And we confirmed what they already knew.
PAUL JOYCE (BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, 1987-2014): It was kids who were perpetrators one day, victims the next, and all heavily involved in the criminal justice system.So, really, at the end of the day it was a small group that were driving the majority of violence. And if the Police Department didnt know them, probation knew them. Among all of us, we knew every one of them.
DAVID KENNEDY: Every crew has one or two people who really drive things.
ARCHIVAL (WHDH, BOUNDARIES OF FEAR, 1989):GANG MEMBER: This is Humboldt, buddy.
DAVID KENNEDY: It was maybe 300 people. The political and media discourse had been about these massive issues the crack epidemic, cultures of violenceand what this said was, Look, this is 300 people whose names we know. And suddenly it began to seem like you could maybe do something. The Youth Violence Strike Force had done this operation with a group in Dorchester.
ROBERT MERNER: We wanted those guns off the street. We went down and said, Look it, were going to be down here until the violence stops.
PAUL JOYCE: Were going to make your life miserable. Were going to use every legal lever possible to shut you down. And the most important thing is that you were always following it up with, Its not about the open beer that Im arresting you; its about the violence.
DAVID KENNEDY: They said to them, You want this to stop? Put your guns down. And members of this crew actually delivered brown paper bags of guns to the steps of the gang unit. We took that and we built it into a violence prevention strategy.
WILLIAM STEWART: What do we do?Lets bring them in the courthouse. What are we going to do?Well talk to them.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 11-14-96):WILLIAM STEWART: Were tired of seeing kids buried. Were tired of the violence.
ROBERT MERNER:A number speakers would get up and talk. We are here to tell you that if the violence doesnt stop we will be bringing the full authority of the government down on you. But we also were delivering a message that if the violence stops, there are other options for you. And we will help you to get back into school to get you some job mentoring to get you out of this lifestyle.
WILLIAM STEWART:We know who you are, we know whats going on. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in a federal prison? Your choice, your decision, make a smart one. Well help you, but youve got to meet us halfway.
ARCHIVAL (THE BOSTON STRATEGY):WILLIAM STEWART: This isnt about locking kids up. This is about you growing up. This is about you giving the opportunity to be the best you can be.
PAUL JOYCE: There were a small number of people that needed to be taken off the street for everybodys good. Issues of crime are too big for the police alone. I looked at the clergy as a measurement of are we doing things in the right way from a different perspective?
JEFFREY BROWN:It wasnt a popular thing because people would feel, Youre a minister, and you should believe that every child should be saved. And I would say in response, I believe that with all my heart, every child should be saved. Its just that for some kids, they need a prison ministry.”
ARCHIVAL (THE BOSTON STRATEGY):JEFFREY BROWN: And were all standing here together
WILLIAM STEWART: The clergy was the same message we delivered. Except they would add the caveat, We love you.
DAVID KENNEDY: Well help you if you let us and well stop you if you make us. Go out there and tell your friends. And they stopped.
RAY HAMMOND: How you doing?
ROMERO HOLLIDAY: How you doing Pastor Hammond?
ROMERO HOLLIDAY: Pastor Hammond would say, You guys aint that bad. You all just made bad decisions. And he made us understand that it wasnt nothing wrong with being wrong. Its staying wrong. Then he was like, You can come to my church, you can visit me you can call me anytime you want. Giving out his number.Whenever he came around he would ask about me and that meant a lot.
ROBERT MERNER: We got Romero working with MDC. When we were all playing hockey with the police team, Romero was the kid driving the Zamboni and wed have our hockey bags carrying them over to the bench with guns in them. And you know, Romero would like, Oh, just leave them there. Ill watch them for you.
ROMERO HOLLIDAY: I think it took a lot just to trust that much of me, them knowing how I wasshowed me that they seen something in me that I didnt see. So maybe Im not the monster everybody thought I was. One of my low points was this Tiffany Moore situation.It was my call that made us go up there every single day and shoot at these people. I didnt directly go up there and do it. You get what Im saying.If I knew the right decisions and the right calls to make, none of this would have ever happened.
TEXT ON SCREEN: By 1999, Bostons homicide rate had dropped by nearly 80 percent.
ARCHIVAL (CBS, 1-3-98):NEWS REPORT: Some people are calling it the Boston miracle. A city once torn apart by racial tension and violence is now a model of crime prevention.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 11-14-96):PETER JENNINGS: Boston
WILLIAM STEWART: We became the national poster children for successful programs. ABC came, CBS came, NBC came.
ARCHIVAL (ABC, 7-8-96):DAVID KENNEDY: Youth gun crime is an epidemic.
JEFFREY BROWN: Media, when they like to tell stories, they like to do it through the lens of like one person, or one life.
DAVID KENNEDY: They would say it was probation visiting people at home. It was federal prosecution for gun crimes, the black ministers talking directly with guys on the street. The big picture was lost. It was putting them on notice that the violence was going to bring comprehensive legal attention, it was moving in social services. And it was moving inwhat we call the community moral voice.
JEFFREY BROWN: What really made Boston special was everybody being very willing to work with one another.
ARCHIVAL (CONUS, 2-19-97):PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Boston proves we can take the streets back of our country.
JEFFREY BROWN: But when Bill Clinton came to Boston, when Newsweek came a calling, things started to sort of shake the Coalition. I was in the grocery store and I look at the checkout and I see Gene Rivers face, you know, at every single checkout counter. I remember going into Dorchester to see Eugene, and Eugene was wearing sunglasses like inside, and he was referring to himself in the third person. And, you know, it, it just changed everything.
EUGENE F. RIVERS: One of the unavoidable aspects of all movements is that somebodys going to end up being the signature person. Thats a fairly standard thing.
DAVID KENNEDY: As the mythology about the Boston Miracle grew, there was this vicious fight for credit. Everybody stood up and said, Im responsible for this.
ROBERT MERNER: There started to be resentments amongst the clergy, the police, probation, within each individual group. It wasnt about the violence. It was about marketing, if you will, and then some people made their careers off of it. From the clergy to academia, to the police.
JEFFREY BROWN: We sort of lost sight, lost our way, it stopped being a movement.
RAY HAMMOND: All of us underestimate the difficulty of maintaining collaborations and partnerships just in general, with or without media attention, with or without dollars involved. 150 homicides will focus you.Its harder to keep focus when its down to 30.
TEXT ON SCREEN: Kalamazoo, Michigan
ARCHIVAL (WOOD TV8, 1-4-14):NEWS REPORT: This is the fourth shooting in Kalamazoo this weekend.
ARCHIVAL (WMMT, LOCAL NEWS, 7-28-14):NEWS REPORT: Nine people have been shot here in the city in the last five days. Again three homicides
DAVID BOYSEN (KALAMAZOO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY): 2014 was when we had our highest number of shootings. Community relationships between law enforcement and people in neighborhoods arent really good. So, we wont get cooperation, we would get no information on the shooter. And we had a 13-year-old kid that was shot and killed.
ARCHIVAL (WMMT, LOVAL NEWS, 7-28-14):NEWS REPORT: It was the second time the 13-year-old was shot in six weeks. He got hit in the back by gunfire on April 6th but nobody was arrested.
DAVID BOYSEN: Traditional policing methods did not prevent it. And so we said, What can we do to do something different? Really the community came to us and said, hey you know, are there other things? And someone heard about the David Kennedy model.
DAVID KENNEDY (JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE): I run the National Network for Safe Communities. And one of our convictions is communities need policing. They just dont need the kind of policing theyve been getting. People deserve not to be afraid of the state. In the most dangerous places hardly anybody is dangerous. And there are ways to engage them that can be very effective.
DAVID JUDAY (KALAMAZOO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY): We looked at the guys who were actually pulling the trigger and we came up with 22 individuals out of the entire city. We talked to those individuals. We know who you are. But in turn we also provide them with phone numbers and names of people that can help them.
MICHAEL WILDER (STREET OUTREACH WORKER): I bring understanding to the room because I sold a lot of drugs, did a lot of violence and Im telling them, the cops know who you are, man, and they want you to make a decision. Im here to offer you a way out. Sometimes you need a person like me to explain that.
JOHN RESSEGUIE (KALAMAZOO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY): A lot of times people have never had a positive contact with a police officer. Theyve never had someone show up at their door and say I really want to see you get a job I really want to see you be successful.
DAVID JUDAY: Here we are six months after. None of them have been arrested for an act of violence. That was shocking.
MICHAEL WILDER (GREETING DAVID BOYSEN AT COVENANT ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL): How you doin, man?
DAVID BOYSEN (TO MICHAEL WILDER): Looking good this morning.
DAVID BOYSEN: When I started I was the poster child for traditional policing. You know, you need to stop cars and you need to get guns off the street and you need to get drugs off the street. Drug dealers off the corners. Thats what we did.The hardest thing with any law enforcement is just changing a culture of an organization. If you just do traditional policing you start to get jaded to think that everybody in this neighborhood is a bad person. Everybody in this neighborhood is a criminal because thats all youre dealing with. I never thought that I would be where I am now where we spend more time building those relationships and working with the community. It changes the way you look at your neighborhood. You start to realize 99 percent of the people in this neighborhood are good folks.
DAVID KENNEDY: Lots and lots of cities are doing it now.But there is no national strategy to address what we now know is addressable. Its not perfect. Its actually relatively easy to put something like this together,its very difficult to keep it going. We know things that make a really big difference.
POLICE OFFICER (TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE AT NIGHT): I was looking for Sierra. Shes not here? Well, tell her officer Nick said hi. Alright, have a good night.
DAVID KENNEDY: And it was Boston that created that understanding.
ROBERT MERNER: We built relationships. There was a level of trust that was earned over time.
WILLIAM STEWART: My boss, I figured out, was the neighborhood.I worked with the Chief, I worked with the Commissioner.But I worked for everybody I didnt know. That was the flip for me.
RAY HAMMOND: The miracle was not that the crime rate went down. The miracle was that the adults figured out how to collaborate in the interest of the young people. That was the miracle.