After claiming he never endorsed the broken windows policy during the debate, Berkshire DA candidate Shugrue explains a second instance where he publicly supported it.

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Pittsfield, Mass. attorney Timothy Shugrue is running for Berkshire district attorney in the Sept. 6 Democratic primary. In her bid to unseat first-term progressive Andrea Harrington, Shugrue described her as inexperienced, called her reform efforts a “terrible experience” and said the bureau must once again prosecute lower-level crimes, dismiss less business and work more closely with law enforcement. During a debate on Pittsfield Community Television earlier this month, Shugrue claimed he never approved of the police’s controversial practice of smashing windows – a claim that WAMC investigated and refuted. Shugrue appeared to back the concept — one he attacked as racist weeks later — in a July WTBR interview. In a statement to WAMC, Shugrue said he forgot about the comments and should have made his opposition clear at the time. On Thursday, WAMC sat down with Shugrue in his Pittsfield office to discuss a quote from his 2004 DA campaign where he again appeared to endorse the broken windows police, as well as his recent campaign press release that says that Harrington let down the Berkshire youth.

SHUGRUE: Well, the thing that I saw differently was, and I’ve talked to a lot of people who were on this community outreach program and this education program, they call it COE, outreach program and of community education, which had existed for many years. . There is also before that, with the WCC, there was also the youth advisory council which I know Miss Harrington is talking about and which she used, but it is a council which has been established for many years within of this office. So it was a program that existed. What worried me was removing the educational aspect that was in all schools in Berkshire County. And it starts from third to seventh grade, and it deals with anti-bullying, self-esteem, all kinds of awareness programs for children. Much like the MAD and SAD programs were earlier when they dealt with drug and alcohol problems in children. So I thought that was a really important part, and I think it was a, I think it’s a necessary part for prevention purposes. So I’m a big proponent of using these prevention goals in the school system. I know a lot of kids liked it, I know the teachers liked it. I would therefore like to reinstate this program as it existed before Ms. Harrington removed these programs.

WAMC: Harrington’s predecessor, Paul Caccaviello, who I know is a donor to your campaign, when he lost in the Democratic primary in 2018, he ran a general election campaign. Let’s say you lose in the primary – At this point would you accept that as the end of the line for you? Or would there be a future with a Mr. Caccaviello-style written campaign?

I don’t foresee there being a written campaign. If you tell us that there are 100 votes difference, then it may be a different situation. But I don’t expect it to be. I don’t foresee either side of us being like this. I hope voters will speak up and I’ll take it from there. And that’s why we put in the effort. We did five and a half months, I worked very hard, I work almost 90 hours a week, I am at all possible functions. So we’re putting our effort and time into it now. So that’s what we’re hoping for, that the election will happen, but I don’t foresee that happening.

There was a bit of a back and forth about this broken windows police idea that came up on the PCTV debate where at the time you vehemently said it wasn’t something that you had approved or talked about, and it turns out that he had, and you provided a comment on the context of that. I just kind of wanted to put it out there – You know, at this point, do you think, based on your history and based on your historical positions on this issue, that this issue is settled? Or is there something about you and the broken window police?

Well, I hope that got put to bed because I never changed my philosophy and my politics. What I’ve said from day one is that I think it’s important that we prosecute people involved in drug use, but not breaking windows. You see, there are two parts of broken windows. And I don’t approve of broken windows at all. I never approved of that. [WTBR host William] Sturgeon talked about it, and I’m an older guy and I was going to talk to him. I didn’t get a chance to explain the second part of that. I’m talking about sweating the little things, having little crimes. I think it’s important, and I’m going to stick with that position. I said this from day one, I think it’s important to get help for people with substance use disorders. If they have an addiction problem, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, I want to talk about it. I don’t want convictions, I want a diversion program. And so everyone knows it, it is not because one is accused that one is condemned. I don’t want convictions in these cases. But I want to give people the opportunity to get help, because I know heroin addicts won’t find the addiction help they need without someone directing them. So I was hoping we could use the resources and the probation service that allows you to get addictions counselling. Organize it for them, you give them the chance to stop using drugs. And so that’s the big point about it. The second part was about flights. $1,200 was a lot of money, and anything under $1,200 and over $1,200 becomes a crime. Anything below that, those cases are thrown out. And that’s a lot of money for people like Carr Hardware. I know, for example, even Walmart, I think they lost $1.5 million out of town at the Pittsfield store last year. So there are a lot of thefts. But there is also a problem with that. Let’s discuss, why does someone steal? Is there a substance use disorder? I would bet you that most of the time there are. So we need to address the substance use disorder and also look at the underlying root cause. What causes this, is there post-traumatic stress, is there something before that allows people to do this because traders and stores find that people come back three or four times after their stuff has been rejected and keep stealing it. So that’s a problem. I want to help people for this. And I’ve been saying that since day one. Mr. Sturgeon just said he compared it to broken windows. But what the shattered windows, what people don’t realize is what the New York police have done that we will never condone is that they use racial profiling. They use racial prejudice. They harass people. They gave severe punishments. We don’t want any sanctions on this. We want to help people. That’s what I’ve been saying since day one. So it was badly acted and played. This is not what we want. That’s not what we’re talking about. We are talking about diversion. I talked about prosecuting serious crimes, but also at the same time creating a diversion. I did criminal defense work for 28 years. I’ve dealt with people on a daily basis, how to get them through this process with help so they end up half-hearted. I had great success with this.

So here I hold a copy of North Adams’ 2004 transcript of your DA campaign against then-incumbent David Capeless. Here is a quote from that article: “’The fight against crime and the protection of citizens must take place on the streets and in the courtroom and the public must be aware of the problems of the region and the potential solutions,’ said said Shugrue. A district attorney must be accessible and visible, he said, and noted the crime prevention strategies of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “If Giuliani could take to the streets again, then there’s no reason we couldn’t too,” Shugrue said. “We need to be visible, people need to know what’s going on, and the more information you have the better.” People need to feel safe and they’re not doing that right now. In this context, it certainly seems to be quite objectively a police endorsement of broken windows given that Mr. Giuliani, certainly at first, would have been most associated with this police theory.

Okay, but that was before we found out what they were doing. We didn’t know that. The whole idea of ​​attacking petty crimes and dealing with these issues, he did it 180 degrees from what I’m saying. So when this was written 18 years ago, we had no idea it was racial profiling. We didn’t know they harassed and punished people excessively. We found out, and that’s why we don’t. That’s why I took the other difference 180 degrees, which is to say, listen, we’re going to tackle these issues and help people, not harsh punishments, not harass people, and don’t not use racial profiling and racial bias in marginalized communities and to prosecute them. Once we found out what they were doing in New York, we definitely didn’t accept that. So the idea of, let’s take a look at the problems that we have in Berkshire County, let’s address them, use the diversion programs to help people. I think it’s important to do both things as a district attorney: prosecute serious crimes, at the same time also helping people who are struggling with a substance abuse disorder or an underlying issue. It could be mental health issues that explain why people steal and what happens. So I just think kicking the box isn’t the answer. And I said it. And if you remember, in 2004, I ran against the alumni network. I raced against the David Capeless and people who were pushing this kind of tough philosophy. I showed up on a social platform, but Pittsfield wasn’t ready for that in 2004. We saw the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018, and the county is ready, but I’ve been talking about it for many, many years . In fact, I talked about it as a defense attorney, getting rid of minimum obligations. And that’s why we were so happy with the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018, a lot of those things are gone. The school zone cases, all the drug cases with marijuana were just atrocious in the 80s and 90s that we had to deal with.

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