Worcester Police Fail to Protect Black Mother and Her Kids

You can read the full letter from Lawyer’s for Civil Rights, who is representing Ms. Latoya Lewis and her family regarding a racist incident at Pat’s towing earlier this month. According to the letter to the Chief of Police and City Manager, “On the evening of June 4, 2020, Ms. Latoya Lewis, a Black woman, and her three minor children suffered a verbal and physical attack by a white male gas attendant at a Sunoco gas station attached to Pat’s Towing, located at 5 Shrewsbury Street in Worcester.”

Ms. Lewis serves the City as a member of the Human Rights Commission, and was a speaker at the June 13 Say Her Name Solidarity March at East Park. Her initial post to Facebook about the incident caused several other community members to call for a boycott of the station.

This is not the first time that the station has come under public scrutiny. In 2013, the station lost it’s contract with the city and then lost a fight in federal court over that decision. In addition to pending trials involving the owners of the establishment, there were safety concerns. At issue at the time, according to a MassLive article from the time, was the number of police responses at the station. According to Chief Gemme, there were over 250 calls to the station over 5 years, including 2 kidnappings and 2 “vicious assaults and batteries.” Last week, Councilor Khrystian King introduced a motion requesting that the Commonwealth review the appropriateness of the station’s tenant status on state land. The item was tabled under privilege.

The letter from LCR describes a disturbing racist attack against Ms. Lewis and her children on the night of June 4, and subsequent lack of action by the Police and other city officials. LCR “urges Worcester to forcefully and publicly condemn these actions and to conduct a full-scale investigation of this hate crime.”