A box truck displaying an oversize sign in support of law enforcement has been occupying two prime parking spaces in Bedford Center since late Wednesday.
And the owner of Ken’s NY Deli isn’t happy about it.
“That [truck] has nothing to do with us,” said John Cronin. “We have been trying to get it moved out of here.”
“We have been made aware of the vehicle and associated complaints on The Great Road,” said Chief of Police Robert Bongiorno. “We are following up.”
Although much of the message on the sign is generic, the website it promotes includes a blog replete with support for the campaign of President Donald Trump.
Cronin was frustrated because of the assumption that he arranged for the display as a political statement. “People are giving us ‘one’ reviews on Yelp. They’re saying we don’t want Black people here. It’s snowballing, and it’s horrific. We are trying to put out the story on all of our media. But you can only do so much.”
He said his security video shows that the truck arrived around 10 pm Wednesday with a car right behind. The driver jumped out of the truck, climbed into the car, and drove off. The truck has been spotted in several communities inside Route 495 in recent weeks, including Arlington, Belmont, Burlington Chelmsford, Concord, Maynard, Melrose, and Westford. In each case, the truck has moved along after 3 days.
There is no apparent reason for the arrival of the sign in Bedford. The sign’s headline “Defend the Police, is a play on the word ”defund.” Although there have been some calls to reduce police funding in some cities following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May, there has been no such discussion in Bedford.
The message beneath the headline reads, “They are our friends, family, and neighbors. Like us, they work to provide for their families… Like us, the vast majority are good.”
Then the text takes a turn, apparently referring to the killing of Floyd: “As a direct result of this horrendous tragedy, we are in the midst of the greatest police reform in the history of the free world.”
A conference committee of the Massachusetts Legislature for weeks has been trying to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of police reform. Neither proposal requires cities and towns to reduce spending.
Friday at dusk, the weekly demonstration by the local group Stand Up for Black Lives of Bedford was in place on The Great Road side of the Common. Two of the demonstrators stood across the street, in front of the truck.
The website advertised on the truck’s sign includes several testimonials from area residents about the merits of police performance, along with a blog that features a number of videos in support of President Trump’s re-election campaign. There is also abundant derogatory material aimed at Democrats. A satirical video uploaded today depicts Sen. Kamala Harris, Democratic candidate for vice president, trick-or-treating in a costume of her running mate, former Vice President Joe Biden. The message at the end seems to be that Biden is a puppet for Harris’s aspirations.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763
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