Dan Conley Didn’t Have a Great Monday

The mayoral candidate is getting bad reviews for his confrontation with voters Monday night.

District Attorney and well-funded mayoral candidate Dan Conley had a tense exchange with some voters at a meet-and-greet Monday night in Roxbury for which he’s getting some bad reviews.

Conley was at Flames restaurant in Grove Hall at a forum put on by Greatest MINDS, which seeks as its mission to build Boston’s reputation as a welcoming city for people of color. He was questioned by Cornell Mills, who began by noting that he used to work in Conley’s District Attorney office, then criticized the city’s low homicide clearance rate and Conley’s record on hiring of minorities for manager positions.

Conley began answering Mills by saying, “Full disclosure: I let you go from my office,” in a way that felt like a cheap shot. As Lawrence Harmon wrote in a withering Boston Globe column on the confrontation, “Maybe Mills had come solely to bait Conley. But Mills’s questions, per se, weren’t out of line … A visibly angry Conley offered partial answers, at best.”

The next question, from Blackstonian’s Jamarhl Crawford, focused on the D.A.’s investigations into instances where police shot and killed people of color. Conley was combative but at least engaged in an answer, though he didn’t impress Crawford, who has uploaded video of the session to YouTube along with some not-so-positive subtitles of his own.

Finally, Conley probably wouldn’t have earned such bad press if not for one last tactless move. Harmon writes:

As Conley prepared to leave, he leaned over me and said that he doubted that the presence of a columnist at this forum was “an accident,’’ intimating that I had been tipped off about a potential confrontation. Conley then referred to Mills and Crawford as “knuckleheads’’ and departed.

Harmon notes, for the record, that he wasn’t tipped off to any potential confrontation. A panel between major mayoral candidates isn’t exactly a strange place to find a Boston Globe columnist, these days. Conley’s performance wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a huge implosion. (He didn’t call another candidate “grandpa” at an AARP-sponsored debate, or something.)

But that last ill-tempered remark to a well-placed journalist sure didn’t do his press profile any favors. On the other hand, Conley got some good press elsewhere in the Globe today, in an article that notes he’s lost 10 pounds on the campaign trail. Reporter Beth Teitell also notes that “most of the electorate barely seems to care about the race at this point.” Conley might hope that’s the case this week.

  • penucheBro420

    Jamarhl Crawford is a knucklehead, though. Cornell Mills’ mother is in jail on corruption charges, and it seems like he wasn’t good enough to keep his job that she got him with the DA. I’m sure he could’ve worked at the DA’s office without her help even though he didn’t go to college and was arrested at least four times on 15 charges between 1991 and 2000 and assaulted a cop in 1997.

    If some guy who screwed up after I gave him a job to do a favor for his (black) corrupt mother started criticizing me about not hiring enough black people in leadership roles I’d be annoyed too.

  • FrancisMcManus

    Conley’s comment to Lawrence Harmon is very strange — why would he tell someone that he think he knows how they came to be there, implying that the questions were a setup? Lawrence Harmon knows how he came to be there!

    So we know Conley thinks he was setup and we know he chose to confront a columnist he thought was “in on it” to influence the coverage but also risk looking like a flailing man who usually holds all the power, extraordinary power.

    Which of the folks at Flames are putting the candidate on the spot for decisions he made and for which he should respond to questions and be accountable, and which of these people asked questions to damage Conley’s chances, with ‘do you still beat your wife questions.’

    I have a bunch of questions for Dan Conley about the David Woodhouse case. Weren’t the police who had tackled and arrested David Woodhouse responsible for his well-being while under their arrest? And so isn’t the time between his arrest and when they discovered he wasn’t breathing attributable to their negligence?

    How many cases has your office reviewed where BPD officers conduct on the job was being reviewed? How many times were officers conduct found to comport with standards and how many times was their conduct found to be in violation of rules or laws? What were the consequences?

    Would you institute a civilian board of review of police conduct cases as mayor?