BOSTON — For the past several days, 25 Investigates has been looking into an allegation involving Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Our team spoke exclusively with Katie Lawson, the woman making the claim, and reviewed a citizen’s complaint she filed with the Boston police department.
The complaint stems from an exchange she said she had with DA Rollins at the South Bay Mall parking lot on Christmas Eve.
According to Lawson, Rollins confronted her when she tried to merge her vehicle in front of the DA’s as both were trying to exit the mall parking lot.
“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,’ put on the sirens, put on the strobe lights for like, probably a couple of seconds,” the complainant told 25 Investigates.
According to Lawson’s complaint, Rollins told her: “Today is not the day to try me!”
“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. 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,” Lawson said.
She provided us with a picture that her fiancé took which shows the license plate on the vehicle she alleges Rollins was driving.
25 Investigates wanted to confirm the license plate number on DA Rollin’s government issued SUV. So an investigative producer and photographer went to her office to look for it. The did not see the vehicle. Later that afternoon, they went to Rollins’ street to try to locate it and encountered DA Rollins, who was with a plain clothed Boston police officer.
A 25 Investigates camera captured the encounter in its entirety, from the moment the photographer turned his camera on to when it is turned off.
The video shows DA Rollins walking toward our crew and engaging with our producer. In it, DA Rollins can also be seen and heard threatening to call the police on our producer. She says: “I’ll call the police on you and make an allegation, and we’ll see how that works with you.” Rollins and the police officer told the crew to leave the property, and they did.
Following the encounter on that Friday night, investigative reporter Ted Daniel asked DA Rollins about that comment in an on-the-record phone conversation. She never addressed it. Instead, she repeatedly said that at the time she didn’t know who our news crew was and believed they were there to harm her. She reiterated that assertion in this tweet she posted moments after we made her spokesperson aware that our photographer had recorded the encounter.
The masked man DA Rollins referenced was a 25 Investigates photographer. The “something” he grabbed from the trunk of his news vehicle was a 25-pound television camera. He was indeed wearing a face mask, as required by the Governor’s order due to the pandemic.
Our crew never went to Rollins’ door and never planned to, and they didn’t see children anywhere near her. The crew never took video of Rollins’ home.
DA Rollins was the first to make the encounter public. She tweeted about it three times on Friday and once the next day.
We wanted to give DA Rollins the opportunity to address this situation on-camera before we went to air with this story.
We made multiple attempts to schedule an on-camera interview. Our request was ultimately declined.
Rollins’ spokesperson issued the following statement to 25 investigates late Tuesday:
“District Attorney Rollins ran for office, was elected, and has led with unprecedented transparency and access. She has been and remains available to her constituents, colleagues, and members of the media and has never avoided a difficult conversation. Indeed, she had an on the record telephone conversation with you Friday night. She will continue to lead in this manner, fully understanding and expecting the scrutiny that comes with being an elected public official.
But this past Friday was something different. Some 48 hours after our country witnessed an attack on those very same elected officials, an unknown vehicle with an unknown man approached her in front of her home where she is the mother and guardian to three young girls. And 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.
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.”
As for Katie Lawson’s allegation, which is what originally brought us to DA Rollins’ neighborhood, the DA’s office would only tell us “The DA has a very different version of what transpired at South Bay. It’s disappointing, but not surprising that the DA must face such falsehoods.”
Following our encounter on Friday, DA Rollins went on The Howie Carr show in the evening and confirmed she did confront Lawson in the South Bay Mall parking lot while driving her official vehicle.
She told host Howie Carr: “I then hit a siren…. and her head snaps up and I say ‘Stop you are in the wrong row of traffic.’ 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.”
Katie Lawson has filed complaints with Boston police and the state’s Attorney General claiming DA Rollins overstepped her authority.
Both agencies tell 25 Investigates they examine all the complaints they receive.
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