Boston police, in cooperation with the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, shot and killed a man accused of trying to behead a police officer and apprehended a suspect connected to him on Tuesday. Now a leader within the black community in Boston has somewhat backed up the police's assertion during that event.
According to Denise Lavoie of the Associated Press, Boston police claimed that they fatally shot 26-year-old Usaama Rahim after he menaced them with a large military-style knife and refused to drop the weapon. Darnell Williams, head of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, saw the police video on Wednesday and could "150 percent corroborate" their account.
"[Rahim] was not on a cell phone and was not shot in the back," Williams said, disputing two "inaccurate" allegations made by Rahim's brother, prominent Muslim scholar Ibrahim Rahim.
Williams stopped short of claiming that the police shooting was justifiable, saying he's not ready to draw that assertion. However, Boston Muslim leader Imam Abdullah Farooq told the Associated Press that the video was "inconclusive," claiming that the images were of poor quality and lacked any clarity on whether police had to resort to deadly force.
"They might have approached him in a different way," Farooq said.
Two law enforcement officials told Maria Cramer, Evan Allen, Laura Crimaldi and Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe that both men had conspired to kill a police officer.
"We believe the intent was to behead a police officer," one official said on Wednesday. "We knew the plot had to be stopped. They were planning to take action Tuesday."
The second source revealed to the Boston Globe that the suspects had been under surveillance for several weeks. In addition, the Boston police, FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force found out about the plot thanks to gathered intelligence.
"The Boston police and the FBI have declined comment on the specifics of the plot," Cramer, Allen, Crimaldi and Wangsness wrote.
According to the Associated Press, the shooting sparked an expanded investigation, leading to the arrest of David Wright in Everett and a search in Rhode Island. Christina DiIoroio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for the US attorney's office, told the Associated Press that the charges against Wright would be filed in court.
Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said in a press conference that Rahim "was a threat," adding that "he was someone we were watching for quite a time."
"The level of alarm brought us to question him today," Evans said. "I don't think anybody expected the reaction we got out of him."
According to the Associated Press, authorities quickly showed the video to black and Muslim community leaders as part of efforts to dispel any rumors surrounding the confrontation. Evans noted that the meeting "was all about pulling the community together."
The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told the Associated Press that Rahim was spreading online propaganda for ISIS, which prompted the surveillance from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
"[Rahim was] communicating with and spreading ISIS propaganda online," McCaul said. "These cases are a reminder of the dangers posed by individuals radicalized through social media."