Rachel Rollins, the former top prosecutor in Boston, was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts on Monday, making her the first Black woman to serve as the state’s top federal prosecutor. After officially standing down as Suffolk County district attorney, Rollins took the oath of office in a private ceremony in the Boston federal courthouse, according to the Associated Press.
Last month, the US Senate narrowly confirmed her, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the deciding vote. Following her nomination, Rollins said she received racist threats. And just a few days following the confirmation, the threats have risen dramatically.
Republicans had raised concerns about her, given her “radical” record, CNN said. They chastised her judgment as a district attorney not to prosecute several low-level crimes.
Following the deadly threats on Rollins, people are urging the Justice Department to do more to protect people of color in the federal justice system. Religious leaders and organizations have already written to Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting that Rollins be protected.
Rollins should have been given security shortly after she was confirmed, according to Rev. Jeffrey Brown, associate pastor of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
“We have lived through a period in which others have been killed as a result of their political beliefs. Brown told CNN, “I believe the threats will come because the atmosphere feels like they can easily target women of color.”
Rollins is currently seeking protection from the US Marshals Service, according to CNN sources. Several of the threatening posts on Rollins’ Instagram account have been analyzed by the news site, with one advising her to “hide your kids.”
The US Marshals Service’s chief of public affairs, Drew Wade, said in a statement that the department “takes seriously its mission to safeguard federal court officers around the country, including judges and prosecutors.” We examine security measures for these authorities on a regular basis and take appropriate action when necessary, but we do not divulge particular security processes for safety concerns.”
He remained silent on Rollins’ case. CNN reports that the Justice Department has yet to comment.
In recent years, threats against public figures have escalated. According to CNN, the US Marshals Service tracked more than 4,250 “inappropriate communications/threats to protected individuals” in each of the previous three fiscal years, up from fewer than 3,000 in the two years prior.
U.S. District Judge Esther Salas’ son and husband were shot at their home in July 2020. An attorney who had a previous case in front of the court was the culprit in the fatal shooting.