Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

FIVE ISSUES YOU SHOULD KEEP IN YOUR MIND WHEN MASSACHUSETTS LAW ENFORCEMENT IS INVESTIGATING YOU FOR VIOLENT CRIME (PART ONE)

Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn is sounding an all-too-familier cry.

Simply put, “The gangs are coming! The gangs are coming!”

After all, this is a time where there is a great deal of violent crime, usually gun-related, throughout the Commonwealth. Attention of late has also shifted to the alleged criminals upon who’s word the Commonwealth has depended in putting other accused individuals away. That can’t bring too much comfort to law enforcement.

But I digress.

Of course, the Chief is actually saying that the gangs are not only “coming”, but are actually here.  In fact, he has announced that this is an opinion he has held for many years, although, for some unannounced reason, he says that the department did not talk about it.

Watch the video!  I did not make it up!

But now, the Chief has announced that he is finally publically blaming the ever-feared gang activity for a recent spate of violence in the city.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that gunfire in the city “appear to be gang-related,” according to Chief Wynn.

Chief Wynn was addressing about 60 community leaders and citizens yesterday morning as he explained that, while members of the general public don’t seen to be “directly at risk, “Of course we’re always worried about someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The meeting was scheduled to discuss the concerns regarding recent violent crimes that injured people and damaged buildings.

“We have gangs in Pittsfield,” he said. “It’s not something we’ve been keeping secret for the last eight years.”

Chief Wynn admitted that said the recent incidents don’t appear to be connected, with the possible exception of the last two, in which only a structure was hit. Those two matters are actively under criminal investigation .   Chief Wynn explained that “These are targeted acts of violence by members of one organization against members of another organization, or in some cases against members of their own organization, for reasons that I can’t begin to guess about.”

You might think that this scary “it’s all gang-related” proclamation is based upon evidence which suggests that the unrelated acts of violence upon citizens are not gang-related but there may be gang-related violence against buildings for reasons professionally described by the Chief as “reasons that I can’t begin to guess about”.

But, apparently, you would be wrong. It just reads that way.

Chief Wynn is not the only one concerned, of course. Pittsfield Police Captain Trapani addressed his concern on the subject. He is worried about a lack of information from the department about violent or criminal activity in the city.

Captain Trapani acknowledged that “You want to know, you’re curious, you’re invested in your community and I applaud that. That desire for knowledge, unfortunately, doesn’t outweigh the necessity of being able to successfully prosecute cases in court sometimes years down the road, or, the need for information doesn’t outweigh our necessity of keeping what we do somewhat secret. Because, if I tell you what we’re doing, then everybody knows what we’re doing.”

“We don’t advertise,” Captain Trapani said. “We give press releases when we feel there’s a need for the community to know something or when the media asks us.”

This seems to indicate that, while there may or may not be legitimate concern that there is a gang-violence problem (except in the case of buildings for reasons unknown), the advice from the authorities is as it usually is.

“We may not be up front with you. Trust us.”

With all that is going on, it is no wonder the panic-card of gang-related violence is being dealt.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Dangers Of Generalities And Panic-Proclamations To You.

“Hey, Sam, you think this is funny or something?”

No, although sometimes I have to laugh at the absurdity which endangers my present and future clients to avoid the necessity of banging my head through the wall.

But it is most assuredly not funny.

We will discuss just how not funny it is as we continue this topic on Monday’s blog.

In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

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