Boston, MA –Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is under investigation for allegedly insinuating she was a law enforcement officer and threatening a citizen during a road rage incident last month.
Rollins is also currently a finalist for the position of U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, which would put her in charge of over 200 federal prosecutors, WCVB reported.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently launched an investigation into Rollins in connection with a tense confrontation between her and Dorchester resident Katie Lawson, The Boston Globe reported.
The confrontation with Lawson was first reported by TB Daily News.
The alleged incident occurred at the South Bay Shopping Center on Dec. 24, 2020, as Rollins and Lawson, a state employee, were both trying to leave the parking lot in their separate vehicles, according to a complaint Lawson filed with the Boston Police Department (BPD).
Lawson, who investigators said does not know Rollins personally, said she was trying to merge in front of the district attorney’s black Chevrolet Tahoe as they were both heading for the parking lot exit, WFXT reported.
That’s when Rollins allegedly rolled down her window and yelled, “You don’t want to try me today, lady, you really don’t,” Lawson said, according to The Boston Globe.
“She pulled her car about three inches from my car and said, ‘Do you want me to write you a ticket? Because I’ll write you a ticket,’” Lawson recounted in an interview with WFXT.
Rollins then allegedly “put on the sirens, put on the strobe lights for like, probably a couple of seconds,” Lawson added.
“This is not the day to try me!” Rollins warned her, according to Lawson.
She said she asked Rollins to “just go” multiple times during the “disturbing” encounter, but that she refused, The Boston Globe reported.
“Apparently when she felt like she had done enough or said what she felt like, she then went right back to her (cellphone) call,” Lawson said.
She asked her finance, who was riding with her, to take a photo of Rollins’ license plate, The Boston Globe reported.
Lawson said Rollins then sped out of the parking lot, blowing through a red light in the process.
“I 1,000% thought that she was a police officer because the only person I know that can write you a ticket is an actual a police officer,” Lawson later told WFXT. “So, she implied, in my opinion, she implied that she was a police officer. I thought she was a police officer. That’s why I called the police department.”
But when she filed her complaint with BPD, police told her that the license plate her fiancé photographed belonged to a vehicle issued to the district attorney’s office, The Boston Globe reported.
Rollins denied having driven through the red light, threatening Lawson, or activating the lights on her issued SUV, according to the paper.
She sarcastically laughed off Lawson’s allegations during an appearance on the Howie Carr radio show on Jan. 9, The Boston Globe reported.
“I apparently spend my time patrolling the South Bay Mall with my lights and siren on,” Rollins said. “Have you ever been? It is a haven for emotionally disturbed people and people with substance abuse disorder. I made the bad mistake of going to Stop & Shop that day.”
She admitted that she had a brief encounter with Lawson in the parking lot, WFXT reported.
“I then hit a siren….and her head snaps up and I say ‘Stop you are in the wrong row of traffic,’” the district attorney claimed. “I then go back to my life that is the extent of that encounter. Absolutely no truth to me putting blue lights on and flying around South Bay.”
A WFXT news crew traveled to Rollins’ home on Jan. 8 to see if the plate number in the photo Lawson provided them matched the one on the district attorney’s government vehicle, WFXT reported.
When she spotted them, Rollins became irate and launched into an expletive-filled tirade – much of which was captured by the news crew’s camera.
“You’re in front of my house. How do you know where I live?” she said in the video, according to The Boston Globe. “That’s unbelievable. My kids are inside. … As a black woman in this moment and this country you’re going to put my f—king house on the screen?”
“If I get hurt or harmed because of this,” the district attorney ranted, pointing her finger aggressively at the news crew. “Or my kids are f—king killed?”
When the WFXT producer tried to explain they were only there to ask her a question, Rollins threated to call the cops on them.
“Who do you think you are? This is private property. Get out of here,” she said. “You know what I’ll do? I’ll call the police on you and make an allegation, and we’ll see how that works with you.”
Although she had not allowed the WFXT crew the opportunity to even ask her any questions, Rollins suddenly brought up the situation with Lawson all on her own, the video showed.
“So, the rantings of a white woman get you here and scare my children?” she raged. “I swear to God — I’m dead serious. I will find your name…I will have you arrested; I swear to God.”
Rollins then took to social media, claiming on Twitter that “a masked white man jumped out of a truck” parked in front of her home that day, speaking “inaudibly.”
“He opened his trunk and grabbed something, took it out and aimed it at me,” she alleged. “I was terrified and turned away.”
According to WFXT, the item that was “aimed” at the district attorney was a 25-pound television camera.
Earlier today a masked white man jumped out of a truck parked in front of my home, walked quickly to me while inaudibly speaking. He opened his trunk and grabbed something, took it out and aimed it at me. I was terrified and turned away. My children were there. I thought we— DA Rachael Rollins (@DARollins) January 9, 2021
Rollins further wrote that her children were present at the time, and that the situation “terrified” them, but WFXT insists there were no children anywhere near her when the encounter occurred.
The news outlet said it tried repeatedly to speak with Rollins about her tweets and what had transpired outside her home before it published its newscast, but that she refused to talk with them.
Her office later issued a statement to WFXT saying the district attorney “has led with unprecedented transparency and access” throughout her term, but that she was on edge due to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
“She responded not as an elected official, but as a mother, an aunt, and a caregiver who believes her primary responsibility is to love and protect her family,” Rollins’ office said. “District Attorney Rollins has long been an advocate for the protection of the privacy and safety of the families of government officials. She deserves the same.”
Rollins’ office further said she has a “very different version” of what occurred at the South Bay parking lot versus the account given by Lawson.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising that the DA must face such falsehoods,” the statement read, according to WFXT.
Healey’s office is still in the early phases of its investigation into the confrontation between Rollins and Lawson, according to The Boston Globe.
Other prosecutors told the paper that if the allegations against the district attorney are found to be valid, she could be charged with offenses including impersonating a police officer, making threats, running a red light, and violating the state’s conflict of interest law.
Rollins’ threats to charge people who cross her stand in stark contrast to the policies she has implemented since she started as DA in January 2019.
When she was elected, she announced that with rare exception, offenses of shoplifting, trespass, threats, and larceny under $250 would no longer be prosecuted, as well as disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and “minor driving offenses.”
She said breaking and entering would not be prosecuted, as long as the perpetrator makes sure the property is vacant. Alternatively, those who commit break-ins of occupied homes because they are cold or tired, but don’t damage anything, are also in the clear.
Offenders don’t have to worry about going to court over receiving stolen property or underage drinking, and aren’t be held accountable for wanton or malicious destruction of property, either.
Making threats is also permitted, with the exception of those related to domestic violence.
She vowed that drug possession would no longer be prosecuted in Suffolk County – even in cases where the suspect is a drug dealer.
Cases where an offender is charged with resisting arrest and nothing else are also turned away, as well as any instances where the person resists arrest while being charged with another offense on Rollins’ “Charges to be Declined” list.
She has even stopped rioters from being criminally charged and gone to the Massachusetts Supreme Court to fight for her right to drop charges on violent rioters.