On December 24th, 2020 Katie Lawson, a registered Democrat from Brockton, was driving in the Stop and Shop parking lot at the South Bay Shopping Center when she had one of the strangest encounters of her life. A woman she identified as Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins in an apparent fit of road rage allegedly impersonated a Police Officer and then erratically fled the scene, blowing through a red light with no regard for the safety of other drivers on the road.
After speaking with Ms. Lawson a number of days ago, she agreed to share her first hand account of what happened and the lengths she went to in an attempt to seek help in the following written statement:
“On December 24th, 2020 (Christmas Eve) at about 1:30pm, I had an encounter with the Suffolk County DA Rollins, one I would say was very disturbing. My passenger and I were trying to exit the South Bay Shopping Center onto Mass Ave, we were attempting to use the exit that is right next to the stop and shop and not at the traffic light. A series of cars were trying to leave the parking lot and merging into the lane that is in front of stop and shop that leads to the exit. As I followed along with the rest of the traffic trying to merge out, a large black Chevy Tahoe, plate #4GN881 approached my car as I attempted to merge in front of it. At this time, the driver (alone in the truck) then rolled down the window, and proceeded to say ” You don’t want to try me today lady, you really don’t” as she said this she moved the Tahoe just a few inches from my car. The driver of the Tahoe, identified as Suffolk County DA Rollins, then proceeded to say “You want me to give you a ticket, I will give you a ticket” as she turned on the strobes and sirens. During this encounter I asked DA Rollins to “just go” several times and she did not. Apparently, when she felt like she had done enough or said what she felt like, she then went right back to her call. She had her cell phone in her hand the entire time, breaking the hands- free law. It was disturbing how naturally she went back to her call, as if she had done this more than once…”
“…At this time, I went behind the Chevy Tahoe and asked my passenger to take a photo of the plate # due to the encounter being disturbing to me. The Tahoe took a right onto Mass Ave heading towards BMC, the light was red, and DA Rollins was in the right turn only lane. She then proceeded to blow through the red light going straight from the right turn only lane (directly in front of metro credit union and the MBTA station) and failed to use a turn signal. This can be verified by traffic cameras at that intersection…”
As soon as we were made aware of Ms Lawson’s compliant almost a week ago we began the tedious process of attempting to investigate her claims and get copies of any and all videos of the shopping mall and intersection where a number of both private and public cameras are located. At this time we have a pending records (FOI) request with the City of Boston, as well as having reached out to the Credit Union, Stop and Shop, and Eversource and Southbay Security for their footage. Additionally we plan on requesting the records of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ work phone as they are public record. At this time we have not been able to obtain any footage. We attempted to hold off publishing until we could confirm the story through this footage, however after other media outlets choose to publish without further investigating the claims, it was decided that our advantage of quietly pursuing the footage had been spoiled and the likelihood of the footage being released were little to none. In addition, with the D.A’s seemingly erratic and nonchalant public responses to the accusations, the decision was made to share with our readers all the information we have been able to obtain. Ms Lawson continues in her statement to speak about her reporting the incident and her struggles to be taken seriously by the Attorney Generals Office:
“…As soon as I came home, I called the Boston Police Department and was transferred to the station that handles the South Bay Shopping center area, I wanted to report the incident. When I provided the plate # to the officer that answered the non-emergency # he told me that it came back with no information. I asked what he meant by that and was told that unmarked cruisers can come back “unknown”. I still did not feel right about the situation so I asked who I could speak to in order to file a complaint. I was then directed to the dept of Internal Affairs, spoke with Sgt Redacted and explained the entire incident. The following Monday, December 28th, Sgt Redacted called back to ask me for the female driver’s stature, I told Sgt Redacted that I thought it was DA Rollins, explained she was wearing a baseball cap with a logo on the front and a black hoodie or coat (the top half anyway). A few hours later, I received a call from Sgt Redacted letting me know that the Tahoe was registered to the Suffolk County DA’s Office. And at that time it confirmed that I was correct DA Rollins was the driver of the car...”
“…I am so disturbed by her behavior. I am not even sure what kind of ticket she was trying to give me. I did not commit any traffic violations but if I did according to her “progressive prosecution” plan it would not have been a big deal offense.
It is something to ponder that the same woman that issued a watch list of 136 police officers accused of misconduct behaves in a manner that should list her as the 137th person on the list.
I am not even sure the District Attorney, key word being “attorney”, can write a ticket and can she even use the strobes and sirens in that manner? Does she have authorized use of that truck? She also totally contradicted herself because she decided to threaten me with a ticket implying she was an actual police officer but then went and committed several traffic violations herself…”
“…I did attempt to call the AG, I was directed to call the civil rights dept, I did this and filled out a complaint online. I have yet to hear back from anyone at the AG office. The second option I was given was to call the DA’s office but I am not really comfortable with calling the DA’s office on the DA and expecting anything to come of the complaint. I should note that I have never had any encounters with DA Rollins or the DA’s office. As a matter of fact, I have not had any encounters with law enforcement ever and I could not tell you the last time I had a speeding ticket...”
Shortly after our request for the video was submitted to the City of Boston, Ms Lawson was finally contacted by the Massachusetts Attorney Generals Office however it is unclear at this time if they are investigating the matter. We also have reached out to the AG’s Office, however as of publication, we have yet to receive a comment or even confirmation that they are actively pursuing this matter. Boston Police would not comment at this time further than confirming they did receive a compliant and that is being taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated. Ms Lawson concludes her statement with these thoughts expressing her concerns of retaliation as well as if this type of occurrence has happened elsewhere and just gone unreported.
“…It is important to take note that DA Rollins never identified herself, she implied that she was a police officer. I also question how many times this has happened in the past – She abused her power, she used sirens and lights in a manner that was simply to intimidate and bully herself out of a parking lot. I cannot help but think what goes on behind closed doors with more serious matters. The Suffolk County DA Rollins abused her access to strobes and lights to get out of a parking lot? A parking lot? What other types of situations have occurred in which the DA has used her power to bully and intimidate others? I would strongly urge anyone that has been a victim of DA Rollins behavior to speak up. I have also been told that there will be a chance that I face retaliation for speaking up, but I have still decided to go with it. However, if my family or I are subject to ANY interactions with law enforcement they will all be discussed with our attorney…”
ROLLINS RESPONDS… KINDA
After the story broke, District Attorney Rachael Rollins took to Twitter, claiming that she was falsely accused, likening Ms. Lawson to the likes of Amy Cooper, Miya Ponsetto, and Carolyn Bryant Donham basically comparing herself to Emmett Till. She went on to complain about the following media coverage claiming her kids were “terrified” even though the family has been featured in a Netflix special that featured her home.
Following the Tweet, DA Rollins joined Howie Carr where she attempted to justify and explain her account of the events of Christmas Eve. She admitted that she was in fact in the vehicle at the time of the encounter, and that she did use the siren that is installed in her State issued vehicle. In a strange characterization of her constituents, she claimed that South Bay was full of people who were ‘EDPs’, otherwise known as crazy people, and drug addicts insinuating that the complainant was one of the two. She went on that she was completely unaware of the complaint and had no knowledge of who the complainant even was.
As the show progressed, D.A. Rollins proceeded to make a comment of not being able to write tickets, a claim that was not publicly released in the article, and that the Radio Show was completely unaware of, exposing that she in-fact was in possession of more knowledge of the incident than what she was claiming. She continued to deny the accusations, continually deflecting the questions using the issues such as the staggering increase in violent crime and murder that has flourished under her tenure as well as the riots, brining up the death of a Capitol Police Officer in an attempt to change the subject. Finally at the end of the interview, she was asked if she would be willing to obtain the video in the area to confirm her side of the story to which she strongly objected, saying she thought that it would be “inappropriate”.
Our investigators yesterday spent almost an hour walking the area of Southbay where this incident occurred, finding additional cameras for us to request footage from and attempting to verify D.A. Rollin’s claims that the complainant was driving erratically in the wrong direction in the heavily impacted parking lot. They reported that there were two reasonable scenarios. One was that the complainant could have been driving erratically and in the wrong direction, but that there couldn’t not have been heavy, bumper to bumper traffic such as the D.A. described. The other option is that there was bumper to bumper traffic heavily impacting the lot, however given this scenario it would be highly implausible that the complainant could have managed to turn into oncoming traffic in the wrong direction or even if she did, manage to turn her self around in time to follow and photograph the car that the D.A. was driving. Again we are continuing to try and obtain footage to confirm what the actual events of the incident are, however they have been unsuccessful so far.
Later yesterday night in a very strange set of Tweets about thirty minutes apart, D.A. Rollins incoherently tweeted two drastically different accounts of an altercation she experienced outside of her home. In the first tweet she claimed that a white man had jumped out of a truck in front of her home, and quickly walked towards her. She then went on to claim that the man who was walking towards her, opened his trunk and retried an unspecified object and aimed it at her. Again seemingly mentioning her children in an attempt to gain sympathy. She ended the tweet dramatically, “I thought we”… failing to finish her sentence and leaving a cliff hanger to all who read it. In the second tweet, which was posted thirty four minutes later, D.A. Rollins again recounted the story, this time calling the truck “weird” and failing to mention the race of the man. She also changed her claim that the man had walked towards her, this time only claiming he had turned in her direction with something in his hands. The one thing she keep consistent was the use of her children to illicit a sympathetic response. Twitter users even went as far as to ask if the D.A. had been drunk tweeting, something that has been alleged before when she has seemingly gone off the rails online.
We did reach out to to the D.A.’s Office for comment as well as Rollins directly. As of the time of publication, we have not received any comment about the first allegation against her or any further details on the “strange” man incident at her home. We have now however been able to confirm that Boston Police have no records of an incident, 911 call or report to corroborate her claims of this attack by a “white man”, and further the D.A.’s own police detail reported that they didn’t have any knowledge of an incident of that nature occurring at her home.
Our Conclusions Based on the Facts Available
Due to the limited information available, including possible exculpatory video evidence, we are basing our conclusion on the actions, reactions and other details we do know. We are not going to confirm either side the story, that is up to you our reader, but we will provide you the facts below that have led us to our conclusion.
- After speaking with Ms Lawson multiple times and reading her statement, multiple staff members of our organization agreed that she seemed competent, reliable and truthful. He story remained consistent under questioning, and she had no ulterior motive, and if anything would face public scrutiny and possible relation from Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
- Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins admits to being in the location and driving the vehicle that was mentions in the Boston Police Complaint.
- Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins admits to using the emergency equipment in a manor not consistent with responding to an emergency as the equipment was intended.
- People that work with Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins have contacted us stating that the comment reported in the complaint as well as her general attitude are believable given past encounters. One staffer relayed a interaction with the D.A. where she practically threw a fit over the slowness of an elevator, demanding to know, “Who runs this building, I want to know, I’m serious!”
- During the Howie Carr interview, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins claimed to not know who the complainant was or have even read the complaint, stating she knew very little about it until it was published. She later contradicted herself mentioning an accusation she threatened to write the complainant a ticket while impersonating an Officer, something that both Howie Carr never mentioned or even knew about, and that at the time had not been made public.
- Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins quick response to the accusations named in the fist published article are outside the norm in past issues she has faced such as this. The normal approach that politicians would take in this type of situation would be a standard denial in the form of a press release and encouragement to allow the investigation to finish.
- Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins refused to agree to review security cameras when speaking to Howie Carr. Cameras that easily could completely exonerate her from these accusations.
- Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ multiple Tweets show a person attempting to paint themselves as a victim and draw public sympathy however at no point does she publicly deny or mention the accusation in her writing.
- Our investigator found that Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ account of the incident with traffic patterns, heavy traffic and space were highly unlikely, as where Ms Lawsons account was reasonable and much more likely.
- After contacting Boston Police they confirmed that there was no incident, report or 911 that they were aware of and Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ reported that no incidents had occurred. This again brings into question Ms Rollins’ credibility after her claims that a “white man” had aimed something at her in a threatening manner in front of her home.
With all of these facts in front of us, it is only logical to have skepticism at Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ claims that this incident did not occur in the manner stated in the complaint. We eagerly await obtaining video that could either exonerate or incriminate Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. We also await phone records that could confirm the accusation the D.A. was using her mobile device, if in-fact it was her work phone paid for and provided by the Commonwealth.
At the least, we feel that the improper use of emergency equipment should be aggressively addressed. Additionally the question should be asked of why this situation occurred. If she was in a state owned vehicle what business what she attending to at the Southbay Mall on Christmas Eve. Does the D.A. often bring her children with her when conducting official business or does she instead misuse state vehicles for personal means often. Why was her Boston Police provided driver not operating the vehicle, and why does she need a glorified chauffeur if she is perfectly capable of driving herself. Lastly, under what authority does the D.A. or her office have the legal right to use lights and a siren, given that MGL Ch. 90 Section 7E no where mentions the legal authority of a D.A. or her staff to respond. The section provides ample exceptions such as a Police Chaplin or Medical Examiner however no where does it state that the D.A. may use this equipment.
Finally, even if this is not a valid complaint we should take a minute to reflect on the character of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. A woman who claims to be for the people, yet viciously attacked Ms Lawson who simply asked her to be held to the same standards as everyone else, a woman who claims to be an advocate for transparency for police yet when those standards are applied to her, she goes on the attack and plays the victim, a woman who was willing to insinuate a constituent was a crazy person or drug addict simply because they shop at a mall that many of her voters go to weekly for groceries and basic necessities, and lastly a woman who’s own staff says these accusations are in line with behavior and a general attitude that they have witnessed first hand.