State Rep Rips Patriots Day: ‘No Interest’ to ‘Do the Right Thing’

Rep. Timothy Whelan wishes the film honored Officer DJ Simmonds's sacrifice.

patriots day officer

Patriots Day star Mark Wahlberg and Officer DJ Simmonds.

State Rep. Timothy Whelan blasted Mark Wahlberg’s Boston Marathon bombing movie Patriots Day for failing to recognize Officer Dennis “D.J.” Simmonds, who died a year after the finish line attacks.

The Brewster Republican called on the film’s director to honor Simmonds, who was injured during the Tsarnaev brothers’ late-night shootout with police in Watertown, and succumbed to his head injury in April 2014. Simmonds, whose family applied for and received a line-of-duty death benefit from the state, is neither portrayed nor mentioned in the film, which opens December 21.

“This information was brought to the attention of the production crew,” Whelan, a 26-year veteran of law enforcement, told the Herald. “It appears there was no interest on their part to step up and do the right thing and recognize officer Simmonds and his selfless sacrifice and give the loved ones he leaves behind bit of comfort.”

In a statement, Whelan said director Peter Berg “has an opportunity to right a wrong and honor the fifth victim of that tragic series of attacks in April 2013.”

“DJ Simmonds, and his response in the face of danger which ultimately cost him his life, represents the words BOSTON STRONG we have come to adopt as a sign of our community pride and resilience,” Whelan said.

A production spokesperson told the Globe that the film’s two-hour running time limited how many individual stories could be told, and that instead, Patriots Day is dedicated “to everyone involved.” There is, however, a “memorial loop” of victims Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, Krystle Campbell, and MIT officer Sean Collier. Simmonds’ exclusion was the cause of “collective disappointment” in some law enforcement circles, Whelan said.