Dismayed by DA O’Keefe


To the Editor:

I read with interest and some dismay our distinguished District Attorney Michael O’Keefe’s comments in reporting by Nelson Sigelman (Nov. 24, “District attorney blames Washington for lack of criminal deportations”) regarding the pending deportation of Reinaldo Braga Barbosa, an allegedly illegal Edgartown resident, back to his native Brazil, where he is charged with murder.

Mr. O’Keefe’s finger-pointing to the responsibilities of President Obama regarding this incident is an example of political overreach.

We learned from the reporting (Nov. 24, “Brazil murder suspect living on Martha’s Vineyard arrested in Edgartown”) that Mr. Barbosa had been able to work and live in the U.S. and on our Island for years. According to Mr. Sigelman, the investigation began on Nov. 9, when Oak Bluffs Police received information “from multiple sources that Martha’s Vineyard resident Reinaldo Braga Barbosa, 35, of Edgartown, may be wanted for murder in Brazil.”

According to the article, from that point on there was a rather rapid sequence of events, where within 10 days ICE officials and other authorities went into action, resulting in a request from federal authorities that Mr. Barbosa be handed over for extradition to Brazil to stand trial for murder.

The rest of the article chronicles Mr. Barbosa’s criminal activities on Martha’s Vineyard, going back to 2014, where in an unfortunately routine manner, despite repeated violent activities, he was put back into our community by local law enforcement officials and our court system, with no apparent thorough examination of Mr. Barbosa’s legal status or background.

Mr. O’Keefe, was it really President Obama’s job to make sure that Mr. Barbosa was an illegal?  

Also, where did Mr. O’Keefe get the information that  “the President of the United States … has demonstrated that he does not wish to have even criminal defendants who are illegal deported from this country”?

I think it will be necessary to fact-check Mr. O’Keefe’s statements, as we need to do with Mr. Carson and Mr. Trump.

Gaston Vadasz

West Tisbury