Bostonians have begun their annual sojourns to Cape Cod. But for those who look forward to spending time in Provincetown — gay men in particular — this season begins under the shadow of the past year’s ugly incidents.
P-Town police — particularly the seasonal cops hired each summer — were accused on several occasions of using excessive force, or showing indifference to alleged homophobic assaults.
The most publicized victim, popular radio DJ Barry Scott, is still facing charges stemming from the police break-up of a party July 14. Scott, who ended that night beaten and bloodied, is charged with disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Rather than accept Scott’s story — that police beat and arrested him without provocation — the Cape’s district attorney’s office, under Michael O’Keefe, continues to prosecute the charges against him.
In fact, Scott has been forced to appear in court 11 times already, as the charges drag on. He admits that the ordeal has been extremely unpleasant. It has also been costly — to the tune of $30,000 so far.
To help on both fronts, a group of about 40 people gathered at the South End home of Dr. Stephen Ralston this past Thursday evening to show support for Scott and donate to his legal fund.
State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, whose district includes Scott’s Boston home — and, she notes, “many people who vacation in Provincetown” — was among the attendees.
“There can’t be a place in the Commonwealth where some groups of people are afraid to go,” says Wilkerson. “Whether it’s gay people, black people, or anyone else.”
Scott and others at this past week’s event deny they are behind recent whisper campaigns to boycott P-Town this summer. However, Scott concedes that he feels trepidation about spending time in the town, and can understand if others feel the same. “I have been going to Provincetown since 1983,” he says. “The leaders there failed me. They supported the wrong side.”
His friends, however, are not failing him: the recent event raised $6000.
Anyone interested in pitching in can do so at mysite.verizon.net/antiviolenceproject.