Did Media Hype 'Gang Violence' in Boston Memorial Day Wkend?

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Did the media hype gang violence reports in Boston over Memorial Day weekend? (Credit: JJIE, screenshot)

Based on stories from Boston newspapers Boston Globe and Boston Herald and the UK Daily Mail, one might believe serious gang violence took place on Boston’s Carson Beach over Memorial Day weekend.

But, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange suggested that the media sensationalized the alleged “gang  violence.” And, Boston’s police commissioner claims that any crime that weekend on Carson Beach wasn’t linked to gangs.

The Boston Globe’s May 31 article reported that more than 1,000 youths related to gangs organized “unruly gatherings” on the beach via social media.

The Boston Herald’s June 1 article reported that “up to 1,000 youths” were on the beach, but that the nine arrests made over Memorial Day weekend were “mainly for disorderly conduct.”  The Herald went on to report Massachusetts police spokesperson David Procopio stated:  “The initial fights were between members of rival Boston street gangs, and hundreds of other youths had gathered, some of whom were acting disorderly.”

The UK Daily Mail reported on the alleged gang violence, claiming that “more than 1,000 youths from rival gangs clashed” on the beach.  According to the Daily Mail, it took a “massive law enforcement response from at least five agencies to get it under control.”

As the Daily Mail tells it, the gang members set up “their beach gatherings” with social media sites and the “clash” led to “no reports of serious injuries” but “a handful” of arrests.

WBUR noted that Drudge Report picked up the story with the headline “Teen Gangs Unleashed on Boston Beach.”


However, the Boston Globe reported that Boston’s “top police official,” Commissioner Edward F. Davis, questioned that there was any gang violence.  Davis reportedly stated:

‘‘It looked like there were three or four different fights breaking out with a lot of people running to see what was going on.  We’re looking at the gang angle to see if that was the case but at this point in time we’re questioning that.’”

Universal Hub also questioned the gang violence storyline, and suggested that instead the teenagers were on the beach because it was a hot holiday weekend.

“So why would 1,000 teens show up at Carson Beach? Because it was hot. And a holiday. And you can get there by subway.

“Were there troublemakers getting into fights? Yes. Did a lot of the kids stand around and watch? You bet. Does Boston have a gang problem? Yes.

“But when some moron runs onto the field at Fenway, we don’t accuse all 35,000 people in the stands of being complicit, even though a lot of them are cheering him on. We shouldn’t demonize every last person on that beach yesterday. Where is the outrage about the two young men who were shot to death and the four others who survived getting shot over the weekend?”

In a June 2 op-ed by Joan Vennochi for the Boston Globe, Venocchi reported Davis has denied the gang violence. Instead, what really happened appears to have been a bunch of “kids on the beach,” and a “fight…between two groups of girls,” but not “a thousand gang members invading the beach.”

Boston NPR radio station, WBUR, reported June 1 that “about 1,000 young people” were at Carson Beach May 30 and there were “some” fights, but the original “gang warfare organized” on social media story isn’t accurate.

WBUR reported a Boston Police Department spokesperson confirmed: “At this time, our intelligence does not indicate that were was a gang issue [Monday] but we are continuing to share information with State Police to determine specifics.”

Likewise, State Police spokesman David Procopio is quoted as saying ” some…physical confrontations and physical violence” may have been gang-related, but that the “hundreds” of people on the beach weren’t gang-related.

iMediaEthics has written to Boston Police Department for comment and more information and will update with any response.

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Did Media Hype ‘Gang Violence’ in Boston Memorial Day Wkend?

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