When Charles Stuart lied and said a Black man killed his pregnant wife in October 1989, Ray Flynn believed him. So did virtually every white person in Greater Boston.
That was a mistake. What happened next on Flynn’s watch as Boston mayor was an even bigger mistake. Boston police unleashed a furious manhunt that essentially turned every young Black man into a potential suspect and ended with the arrest of Willie Bennett, a Black man who had nothing to do with the crime. After Stuart jumped to his death from the Tobin Bridge in January 1990, it became clear he deliberately tapped into the biases and fears of white people to distract attention from himself as a suspect in the murder of his wife, Carol DiMaiti Stuart.