Editor’s Note: Submitted by the campaign to elect Donna Patalano.
ASHLAND — Middlesex District Attorney candidate Donna Patalano yesterday, June 28, announced her plan to review and investigate allegations of abuses of power by public officials, police use of force, and officer-involved shootings through the creation of a Professional Integrity & Ethics Bureau.
“In April, a young man was brutally arrested in Cambridge. The video was shared widely on social media, and is deeply unsettling. This was not an isolated incident, yet the public has no way to know what process is being undertaken to investigate incidents like these,” said Patalano. “We deserve to know that investigations into use of force are thorough and independent. Without a clear process made available to both law enforcement partners and the public, we can’t have meaningful accountability.”
The Professional Integrity & Ethics Bureau will consist of a Public Integrity Unit, a Conviction Integrity Unit, and a Training Unit, and will be led by a Chief of Professional Integrity & Ethics.
The Chief will be responsible for managing the units and establishing a Community Accountability Board to include community leaders in the conversation about reform and provide a forum for feedback. The Bureau will include attorneys with experience as defense counsel to ensure that cases are being reviewed with a well-rounded perspective.
The Public Integrity Unit will review and investigate allegations of abuses of power, police use of force, and officer-involved shootings. The Unit will follow a written protocol to provide both the public and law enforcement partners with transparency as to process, procedure, and timelines.
“As public officials entrusted with law enforcement, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Patalano said. “We have a responsibility to protect both the public and constitutional rights, and the Professional Integrity & Ethics Bureau will do just that.”
Patalano created the state’s first Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) during her time as Chief of Professional Integrity & Ethics in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
The Middlesex CIU will accept requests for review from civil rights advocacy organizations, defense attorneys, police, attorneys & staff within the office, the trial court, and individuals petitioning for review (usually through a pro se application), and will make the protocol for reviewing claims will be available on the Middlesex DA website. The website will include a portal for submitting innocence claims and requests for review.
Patalano is challenging incumbent Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan in the September 4 primary.
In her most recent position as the Chief of Professional Integrity & Ethics at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Patalano developed and implemented training programs for all Assistant District Attorneys in Suffolk. She has been counsel of record for more than 120 Appeals Court cases and appeared more than 20 times in front of the Supreme Judicial Court.