George Williams (Boston.gov)
The project coordinator for the City of Boston’s Task Force on Reparations was arrested last week inside City Hall and charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. He has since been fired.
Boston Police officers were called to City Hall at around 9:40 p.m. Thursday and met with members of the City Hall Municipal Protective Services who reported that an employee was trespassing in an office upstairs.
That employee was George Williams, 35, who the MPS officers said they had been having trouble with for the past three weeks, “with him trespassing in the building after hours, and at times becoming aggressive and threatening to other staff members inside of City Hall,” according to the police report of the incident.
The Task Force was established by unanimous vote in December 2022 by City Council and is made up of 10 members, “including two youth voices,” according to its City website page. The group is “working with a research partner to release a study on the legacy of slavery in Boston and its impact on descendants today” and to provide recommendations to the mayor “for reparative justice solutions for Black residents.”
Williams is one of two administrative staff, with the title “Project Coordinator.” His resume, which was shared on his LinkedIn page, states he worked on the Ayanna Pressley for Congress campaign in 2018 and also worked in 2010 as the assistant to the policy director in Pressley’s office when she was a city councilor. He was awarded a master’s in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2016.
The city has disclosed that he was fired following the arrest.
“He was a part-time contractor. His contract has been terminated,” Ricardo Patron, press secretary for Mayor Michelle Wu, told the Herald in a statement. “We remain committed to the work of the Reparations Task Force and that work will continue.”
That Thursday night, the MPS staff told BPD officers that they often found Williams entering the building after hours — which he was not allowed to do, they said — and bypass metal detectors and security to then sleep in offices on the upper floors. They also said that he was known to burn sage in the building, which they feared was a fire hazard.
Police allegedly located Williams in an upstairs office — which office is redacted in the police report — burning sage and incense. When they told him he needed to leave, the report adds, “he sat up without responding and appeared to be under the influence of some sort of narcotic.”
The next part of the report describes a series of alleged “unusual and uncooperative behavior” on the part of Williams:
That behavior includes: Williams, ignoring officers’ continued directions for him to leave, “stood up and started moving things around the office.” When a 5-foot, 3-inch officer picked up his backpack, Williams, described as 6 feet, 4 inches, allegedly “lunged” at her in an attempt to “snatch it back.”
Later, he allegedly picked up a broom and dustpan and began to clean before officers took the broom away, and then Williams allegedly “took the dustpan and shoved” it into an officer’s chest “and then swept, with his hands, dust and debris from the floor onto (the officer’s) shoes and uniform pants.” Finally, he allegedly took a wrapped and rolled-up rug and began to unwrap it to arrange it in the office.
The report indicates that throughout the encounter, “Williams attempted to make deliberate physical contact upon Officers” and that when they eventually moved to arrest him, “it took several Officers to hold and control Williams while he was being placed in handcuffs.”
When taken to the District A-1 police station for booking, the police report notes that he was cooperative.