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Healey Clears Rollins in South Bay Parking Lot Dispute

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said she will not bring charges against Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins after investigating an alleged disagreement in a Boston parking lot. But she has referred the matter to the state's Ethics Commission.

"After conducting interviews and reviewing the available documentation and videos, we find no civil rights violations or violations of criminal statutes," says the letter from First Assistant Attorney General Mary Strother.

Healey's office investigated a written complaint from Katie Lawson, of Dorchester, alleging that Rollins threatened to issue her a ticket and flashed her car's emergency lights as they were both trying to exit the South Bay Plaza parking lot in December.

Lawson told investigators that when she tried to merge into parking lot traffic on Christmas Eve, Rollins used her car to try to block her and told Lawson "Don't try me lady, today is not the day."

Strother's letter says Rollins denies threatening a ticket and Lawson says a Boston police detective inaccurately wrote in a police report that Lawson had claimed Rollins drove through an intersection with her emergency lights flashing. Strother also says the video footage of the incident was inconclusive.

Rollins' attorney Ronald Sullivan issued a statement saying the District Attorney is glad Healey conducted a thorough investigation and referred the matter to the Ethics Commission.

"The District Attorney understands that the Attorney General's office has made a routine referral of this matter to the Massachusetts Ethics Commission," Sullivan wrote. "DA Rollins welcomes this review after the Attorney General has found no merit to the allegations lodged against her and fully expects a quick resolution by the Ethics Commission as well."

A spokesman for the State Ethics Commission would not confirm or deny whether it received the letter or if it is investigating. When the commission receives a complaint, its enforcement division typically will do a preliminary review and determine if a full investigation is warranted.

Last year, the commission ruled that Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early violated the state's conflict of interest law by helping to alter the arrest report of a judge's daughter. Early disputed the findings and maintained that he acted appropriately. That complaint is still being adjudicated.

Rollins reportedly is under consideration to become the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. Andrew Lelling is leaving the post at the end of February and will take a job with a Boston law firm.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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