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ACLU Massachusetts Calls For Independent Investigation Into Williamstown PD Over Illegal Searches

A brick building with white columns sits under a blue sky
Josh Landes
The municipal offices of Williamstown, Massachusetts.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is calling for an independent investigation into the Williamstown Police Department after it admitted officers illegally searched the names and records of local police reform advocates. 

As WAMC first reported Friday, the WPD acknowledged that community members who had called for reforms had their records illegally accessed by officers. It came during months of local debate over allegations of sexism and racism in the department.

William Newman, an attorney in the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Western Regional Office, told WAMC in a statement the ACLU seeks an independent investigation, adding: “Police misconduct—including the misuse or abuse of police tools—must be considered with the utmost  seriousness. There can be no accountability without transparency.”

To date, none of the people whose information was improperly accessed have taken legal action against the town or police department.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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