Police organization slams Markey for call to disarm officers of ‘weapons of war’

JAMAICA PLAIN, MA. – SEPTEMBER 18: Senator Ed Markey speaks at the Boston Teachers Union Pilot School on September 18, 2020 in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

The leader of the state’s oldest police lobbying organization is calling on Sen. Ed Markey to resign and denounced the progressive senator’s calls to disarm police of “weapons of war.”

“I personally have been a supporter of yours for your entire career in Congress. I can no longer support you, and frankly, you should step down, as you are out of touch with the American people,” Massachusetts Police Association President James R. Guido wrote in a Sept. 18 letter to the senator.

The missive came in response to a Sept. 14 tweet where Markey shared a headline announcing the Portland, Ore., mayor had banned police from using tear gas on protesters and said the agency will “routinely attack peaceful protestors.”

“We must disarm these officers, and every other police department in America, of weapons of war, and enact a nationwide ban on tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets, and bean bag rounds,” Markey said. The Senator is championing legislation alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders in Washington that would do just that.

“It’s about removing weapons of war from our neighborhoods and communities,” Markey campaign manager John Walsh said in a statement, pointing out the bill upholds the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which the U.S. is a signatory, which bans the use of riot control agents – including tear gas – in warfare.

James Machado, MPA executive director, said the organization has endorsed Markey in past congressional races but not since his took the Senate. Markey’s calls to defund and disarm police have “disappointed and angered” the organization’s 18,000 members, he said.

“He’s made it personal,” Machado said.

Republican challenger Kevin O’Connor is seizing on Markey’s latest spar with police to establish himself as the pro-police alternative as tensions between law enforcement and anti-police protesters rise.

“He wants to diminish officers. This was an intentional insult of our police forces. His objective is to diminish them, not only in size and ability to defend themselves but in terms of the stature the hold in our society. He does not respect law enforcement and he does not respect our cops,” O’Connor said.

Lisa Kashinsky contributed to this report.