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Hayden wins nasty Suffolk DA primary

District Attorney Kevin Hayden speaks at a Suffolk County district attorney forum at the Suffolk County House of Corrections. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
District Attorney Kevin Hayden speaks at a Suffolk County district attorney forum at the Suffolk County House of Corrections. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden has defeated Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo in Tuesday's primary after a bruising campaign. With no Republican running for the position, he'll become the next elected DA following the general election.

Both candidates recently faced serious accusations about their character. Arroyo defended himself after a Boston Globe report said that investigators looked into two separate sexual assault complaints made against him when he was a teenager. Arroyo never faced criminal charges and said he was not aware of the complaints, despite the Globe's reporting.

Hayden is accused of trying to bury a police misconduct case involving a transit police officer accused of pointing a gun at a Black motorist during a road rage incident. Hayden said the case was never closed and he appointed a grand jury to look into how the case has been handled.

Hayden, 54, has been acting Suffolk DA since January. Gov. Charlie Baker appointed him to the role after former DA Rachael Rollins was sworn in as Massachusetts U.S. Attorney. Hayden is a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and former chair of the Sex Offender Registry Board.

Arroyo, 34, is a Boston City Councilor and public defender. He campaigned on promises to continue with many of the reforms implemented by Rollins. Arroyo said he helped write Rollins so-called "do not prosecute" list of minor crimes where prosecutors could seek alternatives to criminal charges.

Both Arroyo and Hayden agreed on several policy issues and reforms, but there were a few major differences. Hayden did not support Arroyo's proposal to eliminate cash bail for minor offenses or his plan to get rid of qualified immunity, the doctrine that protects some police officers accused of misconduct. Hayden said his focus would be on boosting community engagement and prosecuting gun crimes.

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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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