For at least six years, the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association (BPPA) has published a boldly bigoted official union newsletter, the Pax Centurion. Full of screeds against minorities, women, progressives, gays, Muslims, and even crime victims, its pages have long drawn ire from activists and union members alike. Last week, though, the mostly obscure paper finally broke into the spotlight: Mayor Tom Menino called the Pax "garbage," Boston Police Superintendent Ed Davis condemned the rag on Twitter, and several big-brand advertisers yanked their sponsorships.
(Hours after this story went to press on Tuesday morning, the .pdf archives of Pax Centurion – which had been publicly hosted on the BPPA website, suddenly disappeared, without explanation. We are republishing the files on our site so that the public can scrutinize Pax Centurion’s twisted legacy.)
These recent developments show that neither the general public nor the paper's corporate underwriters had previously realized the breadth of its proudly vile content. The Phoenix reviewed the newsletter's archives, finding countless spiels that read like a Klan fanzine scribbled by a chimp pushing a crayon. A few examples (see "Conduct Unbecoming: The Worst of Pax" for more):
ON PREGNANT HOMELESS WOMEN: "And now the city, in its infinite wisdom, will be acting to enable these little trollops to have exactly what they want simply by getting knocked up."
ON MURDER VICTIMS: "I'm so sick of hearing how each gang member that gets shot is 'turning his life around' . . . because I have never actually seen one turn his life around."
ON MUSLIMS: "They want to kill you. Do you understand? THEY WANT TO KILL YOU."
In one editorial from 2010, Pax managing editor James Carnell attacked the mother of Manuel DaViega, who died in a police shootout that April. Carnell wrote: "All due respect to motherhood and fully understanding a grieving mother's attempts to put blame anywhere but where it belongs, but your son was a maggot and a scumbag."
The tirade incensed black and Latino community leaders, as well as officers of color like detective Larry Ellison. "I have to brace myself to read [Pax] every time there's a new one," said Ellison, the president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO).
The powder keg finally popped soon after the release of the May-June issue of Pax, which features, among other highlights, a rant against "racial huckster" Deval Patrick, and an article slamming "Disgusting J.P. Liberals." But it was an evisceration of an Occupy Boston activist that seems to have lit the fuse. As Carnell's latest carnage bounced around the Internet — even making its way onto jezebel.com — offended Occupiers and their allies alerted the tract's many advertisers, among them such major companies as Merck, Converse, Safety Insurance, Harvard-Pilgrim, and Legal Sea Foods. Some sponsors have already backed off, claiming that they were unaware of the newsletter's toxic content. Others told the Phoenix they are investigating, trying to figure out how their logo wound up funding so much race-baiting and gay-bashing.
UPDATE: The BPPA responds; provokes questions about Pax Centurion funding