Josue Hernandez has a past. And now everyone knows it. To the apparent satisfaction of political opponents of the 25 year old organizer of Uniting Lawrence, a grassroots political organization pursuing a recall effort to oust Lawrence William Lantigua , a smear campaign was initiated. The method for creating this revelation was reportedly an unlawful act of releasing a 2004 booking slip and criminal reports from 2002 held at the Lawrence Police Department. Someone in the police department presumably, accessed Hernandez’ juvenile record and then mysteriously it along with a booking slip holding Hernandez’ social security and other personal information was posted on a face book page of a politically opposed organization.
Chief of Police John Romero delivered a measure of enlightened leadership, something otherwise lacking from City Hall thus far, regarding this insidious incident. He stated ” …we believe that this is not only a serious breach of rules and regulations, but also a crime” . Splendid. So let’s see the investigation bear fruit.
The release of personal information including the release of a social security number are indeed very serious transgressions. The law also affords protections related to the confidentiality of criminal records. Both of these were violated.
Why is this important to all Massachusetts residents? Because we are entitled to live freely in a nation of laws. When Mr. Hernandez stepped into a political foray he relinquished, to some degree, living exclusively a private life. This is the nature of politics. It can get ugly , but it can never be tolerated with criminal excess. What Mr. Hernandez should never have suffered is a serious infringement of his privacy which has no political merit other than to embolden misguided opponents who intend to inflict damage or an exacting revenge both of which exceed the rules of engagement in a political arena.
I am not a resident of Lawrence. However, I am a Massachusetts taxpayer and therefore as a law abiding citizen my interests are inexorably tied to the law abiding citizens and residents of Lawrence. We share a common privilege to be protected by our laws, to live peacefully , to engage government through lawful methods of petition, to vote freely and to be afforded due process.
The crises in leadership in Lawrence is no longer contained within its borders with this single act. Every Massachusetts resident is at risk if accountablity is not sought to the fullest intent of applicable laws. Those who have perpetrated this despicable act must be prosecuted. If not, this travesty of justice will confirm the spectre of anarchy that has gripped Lawrence and it will establish a precedent that such acts be tolerated and repeated.
I call on Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Governor Deval Patrick to deliver a clear response as required by their obligation to serve the people of Massachusetts.
Attorney Blodgett wrote these words which serves to remind us all of the responsibility of those in authority. ” I serve because I believe in the positive power of this office to promote safe communities, protect the rights of victims and hold criminals accountable for their actions”.
I appreciate Mr. Blodgett’s inspiring words I hope that he is fully aware that the pool of victims in this matter is much larger than what is immediately evident.