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THE BOSTON GLOBE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1999 In Reading, race shapes reaction to harassment claims worked at Christy's Pizza for 15 years and is the brother of the" town only lemale police olticer. wouldn't say it's lily-white. I think it's well-rounded and 'I wouldn't say it's lily-white. I think it's well-rounded and hard-working. It's a Yankee TOM SULLIVAN, Reading resident a xanKee lown.
"Racism's never been a problem here. I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body," Sullivan said. "To me, it doesn't mattpr if von're black, white. V. blue, or ereen.
I don't care." Up the road on Route 28, Lynch stares out at the rain from his gas station's front window, and slowly shakes his head. That's not the Reading he knows, he said. Lynch said he was an acquaint-j ance of Bill Russell, the Celtics legend who lived in town and perceived whose 220-member graduation class at Reading High School in 1990 had about a dozen minority members. The traffic stops that have put this town in a spotlight stemmed from by-the-book police work not racism. "In this day and age, I don't think Reading is an isolated place," said O'Connor, who works in his family's trophy store downtown.
"The town's borders aren't as restrictive as they might have been a long time ago. The residents here aren't insulated from the world around them. This is just a nice place to live." Named for a village in England, from which original settlers embarked in the 1630s for Lynn and Salem, Reading is a former manufacturing town that once produced ice boxes and neckties. But the construction of highways like Route 128 and Interstate 93 hastened its evolution as a bedroom community of Boston. According to most recent census data, just 55 of its 22,186 residents were black.
"It's a close-knit community," said Tom Sullivan, 38, who has READING Continued from Page Bl Ids was governor. "But I don't think it's clear-cut racism." The trigger for Reading's introspection is an FBI probe into whether two town police officers violated the civil rights of a black federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent after a traffic stop. DEA Special Agent Paul L.D. Russell Jr. has said he was harassed and detained even though he was driving an unmarked car with a police radio and showed the local police his badge and credentials.
A black Lynn police officer said this week that he, too, was treated like a suspect while on police business in Reading late last year. Though he was not in uniform, Officer Richard Sims was driving a marked squad car and showed his badge. Town Manager Peter I. Hech-enbleikner said Reading, whose 41-member police has no black members, does not tolerate harassment of anybody. If there is proof to the contrary, he said, punishment will be handed out.
most of them bused in from A recent church breakfast to celebrate the Rev. Martin Luther King birthday, expected to draw about 25, attracted nearly 100. "Because of the fact that there are just too few people of color in this town, we felt it was important for the town to raise its awareness about people of color," said Jean Russo-Parks, associate pastor of the Old South United Methodist Church and the wife of Paul Parks. "I don't think what happened to those two police officers was an isolated incident at all," she said. "The Police Department made it their business to find out who my husband was.
They're very uncomfortable with a black man living in Reading." Not so, said Sean O'Connor, "In the town of Reading there are somewhere around a little bit over 5,000 traffic citations written a year," Hechenbleikner said. "That's much higher than any other community around us. "What that says to me is that we have a very activist Police Department," he said. "I think that's one of the reasons we have a very low crime rate. And I don't think that has anything to do with race, ethnicity, or anything else." But in a town where the faces on downtown sidewalks, like the faces in Town Hall offices, are nearly all white, Reading is realizing it is important to seek diversity where it can be found.
Officials said about 100 of the town's 4,000 students are minorities, a rigid, unomciai, segregauon. "I was never welcome in this town and I'm still not welcome here," Lynch said. "Bill Russell had a nara time nere. tie naa no use ior-Reading. It's a rough town for a black person.
"I wouldn't say the whole town is i 3 i nA nn RITA (WILLIAM) HESTER Was killed Nov. 28 Police seek information inAllston slaying I Boston police are looking for information in the stabbing death of a 34-your-old transsexual in Allston last Nov. 28. Rita (William) Hester was found about 6:30 p.m. on the floor of her apirtment at 21 Park Vale suffering from multiple stab wounds.
I She was Dro- uau. always aaj mat wiicii vjuu c- ated the Earth he put 60 percent ji. 1 UnAS goou in a. i nope inais ue neie, too." BUILDING If We Told You the Name of the Fancy-Shmancy Department Store 1 Boston Police AaaA of if RIME Beth Israel Dea- That These Goods Were Made For, There'd Be A Line All the Way Around the and HALF OF 'EM WOULD BE LAWYERS! See, we promised (PROMISED? I signed my life away!) Ever to breathe a word to anyone about the fancy-shmancy uptown, upstairs Ultra-Classy Department store that these goods came from. So dont be looking for hints about the store name.
They aren't there. time later. Hester was L5T1 IN last seen by friends at the Silhouette But I can scream about the Great labels you'll see inside the clothing! And these are just the ones that I you'll see tons of other boutique labels, too. Mi UH UhrhlLlJHW Tl mmm Lotmge on Brighton Avenue about 5 p.m. Sergeant Detective Herbert Spellman said there was no sign of forced entry into the apartment and that the suspect or suspects probably fled through the rear door.
Police are looking for anyone who may have seen something that evening. If you have any information on the case, please call 800-494-TIPS. Callers who provide information leading to an arrest and indictment of a suspect could be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. All information is confidential. LYNDA DE JONG cn Armed robbery suspect caught in police chase in Roxbury By Zachary R.
Dowdy GLOBE STAFF Finity Studio Mendocino 3 PIECES lam.pae Emanuel Buffalo una en er Max Studio Andrea cJovine WM WIS Two Boston police officers chased down and nabbed a robbery suspect who allegedly pointed a gun at a clerk in a Back Bay Dunkin' Donuts and then fled in a car yesterday morning. Jerome Britt, 36, of Roxbury is to be arraigned in Roxbury District Court today on charges of armed robbery, resisting arrest, and unlawful possession of a firearm, said Cliff Connolly, a police spokesman. Britt was being held without bail at the Area D-4 police station in the South End last night. Police were searching for Novella Copeland of Roxbury, who they said drove the red 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity in which Britt fled. Connolly said Britt demanded money from a clerk at a Dunkin' Donuts on Massachusetts Avenue just after 8 a.m., pointing a gun in the clerk's face.
When the clerk refused to hand over money, Connolly said, Britt reached over the counter and took an undetermined amount of cash from the register drawer. "He took the whole cash drawer and scooped the money and took off out the door," Connolly said. Soon after, police broadcast a description of the car and occupants, and Officer David Melvin of the Area D-4 station in the South End spotted the car in Roxbury at Marcella and Highland streets. When he approached the car, Britt allegedly ran away, leading fl Diane iron Furstenber MJtS if i I a. TPftTwr "R-vnTTTnl An fruit.
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Melvin and Officer James Gunn of MY 11 M1 ft II i the Area B-2 station in Dudley Square through backyards and over fences until he was caught. The alleged accomplice drove away but crashed into a utility pole and abandoned the car, Connolly said. He said a gun found in the car was turned over to the ballistics unit for testing. I'1'.
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