Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey Says Fireworks Are Problematic Because Police Kill Unarmed Black Men

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Do you want to use fireworks in the City of Boston this summer?

Acting Mayor Kim Janey doesn’t want that to happen.

Massachusetts is an outlier in fireworks policy in the United States. It is the only state in the country where all forms of consumer fireworks are illegal. And Janey, the former Boston city council president, wants her city and the state to enforce that law — in part because of what she sees as trauma sparked by the killing of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers.

Janey did an interview with liberals Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on GBH’s midday program Boston Public Radio last week. During it, Eagan asked a listener-submitted question about what Janey plans to do about increased fireworks use in the city, saying that the increased use triggered children and dogs. Last June, reports stated that there was a 2,300 percent increase in fireworks-related complaints to the city in May 2020 as compared to May 2019.

Here is what Janey had to say

“Very good question, Pam, and you are not alone in your frustration. It started very early and went a long time and so for all the reasons that you stated this is a serious concern and we are looking at that already and trying to be proactive around that. I’ve raised this already with my team. I raised this last month in March that we need to get ready for summer. 

“On top of all of that, it wasn’t just the fireworks. You know, we had COVID. We were still in the throes of COVID and also demands for justice surround the killing of unarmed black people and so a lot of hurt and open up wounds there, so it was just serving to retraumatize people over and over again. So it is a huge issue. 

“We certainly need, you know, fireworks are not legal in Massachusetts, so we definitely need to stop people from bringing them over the border from other states into Massachusetts and certainly into our city and we’ll be looking to crack down on that by being proactive in trying to get ahead of it before summer even gets here.”

During the interview, Janey made no distinction between different kinds of fireworks.

The City of Boston follows the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when it comes to fireworks policy, according to the city’s Web site. The penalty for fireworks possession in the state is a fine and mandatory confiscation of fireworks. The offender never gets the fireworks back. Fines range from $10 to $100 when there is enforcement of the rule.

For those caught selling fireworks in the state, the penalty is stricter, according to the city’s web site. It carries not only a mandatory confiscation of the fireworks but also a fine of between $100 and $1,000. Additionally, the officer may arrest the accused offender without a warrant and the offense carries up to a one-year prison sentence.


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