Local Leaders: Man Declaring War With Police Doesn’t Speak For Us

Screenshot from video of Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross speaking to the crowd outside the Roxbury police shooting on Friday.

Hours after a Boston police officer was shot in the face and police shot and killed the suspect, some of those standing outside the crime scene tape in Roxbury were furious.

In a widely viewed video, an unidentified man was recorded demanding answers of Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross, who approached the crowd to tell them what he knew about the traffic stop-turned-fatal shooting. In the three-minute video, the man asked why the supsect, Angelo West, was killed after shooting Officer John T. Moynihan.

“Y’all don’t have no protocol, any other way?’’ the man is heard saying. “You got to shoot somebody?’’ Gross interjects: “Did you hear the part where he shot the officer in the face?’’


The man also said he was pushed around by officers, and said he wouldn’t cooperate with Gross in the future. “It’s war right now,’’ the man said.

But three days later, community leaders say the anger depicted in the video isn’t shared by all.

Because no one in the group is seen in the video — which was removed from YouTube on Monday — it’s unclear how many people in all spoke to Gross.

“The aggression you saw in that conversation, from what I saw, is not representative,’’ said the Rev. David Wright, executive director of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston.

Fatal police shootings in Ferguson, Mo., Cleveland and elsewhere have only heightened the anger whenever police shoot someone, Wright said. Most people in Boston want more transparency and more of a voice when it comes to their police. But they aren’t threatening war like the man in the video, he said.

“It’s been an in-your-face movement, but also a respectful in-your-face movement,’’ Wright said.

Representatives from Black Lives Matter Boston met behind closed doors on Sunday. They haven’t yet spoken publicly about the shooting. Nobody responded to an emailed request for comment about the video.


Jorge Martinez, executive director of Project RIGHT, which works in Roxbury and North Dorchester, credited Gross with “real community policing’’ in his talk at the crime scene.

“I thought the chief handled it very well,’’ Martinez said. “He was very direct. He gave them the information very respectfully. I think he was hoping he’d get some of that respect back.’’

It wasn’t surprising that Gross was up against the yellow tape talking with residents, said Emmett Folgert, a longtime community activist in Dorchester and the executive director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative.

“That’s something good about Boston,’’ he said. “Efforts to communicate are present, and it’s not just in this situation.’’

It can often take a year or more for investigations into police shootings to wrap up. Rather than wait for the district attorney to finish his work, Boston police on Saturday showed a video of the confrontation between West and officers to local clergy, civil rights activists, and elected officials, the Boston Globe reported. Police Commissioner William Evans has told reporters that the video clearly showed the six officers approaching West’s car without guns drawn and West shooting Moynihan, who is in stable and improving condition at Boston Medical Center.

“It’s understandable the investigations take a long time,’’ Folgert said. “But I like that the video was shown to some community leaders. I think it’s a good idea.’’

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