Religious leaders who have viewed footage of authorities shooting a suspect outside a Roslindale CVS say the video corroborates officers’ accounts of the shooting.
After Usaama Rahim was shot Tuesday morning, a man who identified himself as his brother took to Facebook to say Rahim was shot in the back while talking to their father on the phone. That contradicted an account from police, who said they were forced to shoot Rahim after he refused to drop a military-style knife.
Police showed a surveillance video of the shooting to Boston-area religious leaders Wednesday. They said in a news conference that they did not see Rahim shot in the back or talking on the phone.
“What the video does reveal to us very clearly is that the individual was not on a cell phone, was not shot in the back, and that the information presented by others not on the case was not accurate,’’ Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts said.
Other faith leaders said the video was not high quality, but that they could tell Rahim was pursuing the Boston police officer and FBI agent who had approached him.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah called the video “vague,’’ but said that at least part of the investigators’ account was supported.
“It wasn’t at a bus stop,’’ he said. “He wasn’t shot in the back, he was approaching them.’’
Faaruuq went on to say that his focus is now on Rahim’s family.
“The family is pained and suffering, and however this pans out, a mother has lost a child. Her youngest.’’
The several religious leaders at the news conference repeatedly refused to answer questions about the investigation, and said they would allow law enforcement officers to do their jobs.
Unnamed law enforcement officials said earlier today that Rahim and an Everett man arrested last night, David Wright, plotted to behead a law enforcement official on Tuesday. The FBI said in a press conference that they had been monitoring Rahim 24 hours a day as a part of a Joint Terror Task Force investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations released a statement about Tuesday’s incident, expressing a need to question the case:
It is our duty to question every police-involved shooting to determine if the use of deadly force was necessary, particularly given the recent high profile shootings of African-American men. We are asking for an independent and thorough investigation, public release of the video and transparency, not only about the killing of Usaama Rahim, but also about the basis of monitoring and surveillance, which had not resulted in probable cause for any arrest or search warrant.
The alleged conspiracy to murder a police officer is deeply troubling and yet another reason why transparency in this incident is crucial.