Reading selectman apologizes for anti-police comment during board meeting

Reading selectman apologizes for anti-police comment during board meeting

READING, Mass. — A Reading selectman member is apologizing for an anti-police comment he made during Tuesday evening’s board meeting.

“As an elected select board member, I’m feeling pretty intimated by the police officers in this crowd,” Andrew Friedmann said during a discussion on the hiring of a new police chief.

That led to laughter from those attending the meeting, which included around two dozen police officers.

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“You laugh at that, you think this is funny, but I have to live in this town and all of you drive around town with guns,” Friedmann replied.

An audible gasp from the crowd was heard before all of the police officers walked out of the room.

On his way out, one of the officers said, “We’re all taxpayers too.”

In a statement to Boston 25 News, Friedmann said, “I deeply regret my statement and recognize it was wrong. It was one of those comments made in the heat of the moment wish I could take back.”

When asked if he is concerned with police having weapons, he said, "no, absolutely not. It was just a gut reaction it was stupid and unfounded and again I feel really bad about saying it.”

The town’s former police chief, Mark Segalla, was placed on leave in December 2018 for an alleged domestic violence incident. He resigned in June of last year. Deputy Chief David Clark has been running the department since then.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first time the select board has allowed public comment on the police chief hiring process, which is what drew the large number of officers in attendance.

Boston 25 News reached out to Clark who told us he and the department have no comment.