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Family calls for 'complete and transparent' investigation of Usaama Rahim's death

Usaama Rahim's mother and brother in Roslindale

Usaama Rahim's mother, Rahimah (l) and brother, Ibrahim (r) in Roslindale parking lot.

Usaama Rahim's mother, brother, wife and other relatives this afternoon stood in the Roslindale parking lot where he was fatally shot on Tuesday, listening as the family lawyer said they hoped to "work productively and cooperate" with local and federal investigators to determine exactly why Rahim died there Tuesday morning.

Ronald Sullivan, also a Harvard Law School professor, said during a press conference in front of the CVS that the immediate family was reserving judgment until it had more evidence on which "to form a reasoned and informed opinion." Among that evidence: A surveillance video from the nearby Burger King that Sullivan said the family was hoping to see sometime today. Suffolk County prosecutors and Boston Police showed the video to local Muslim leaders yesterday.

Among the issues Sullivan said he wants to examine: Exactly how the undercover officers who said they wanted to talk to Rahim approached him - and whether Rahim, whom they said came at them with a large knife felt he was free to leave or whether he felt he was being detained at a time when, authorities say, officers did not have a warrant for his arrest. The FBI and Boston Police say they felt Rahim based an imminent threat based on a 5 a.m. phone call to his nephew, David Wright, in which he allegedly vowed to kill a local police officer - with one of the three military-style knives officials say he had bought from Amazon.com.

Family members did not speak at the today, but Sullivan vowed they would, soon. First, he said they had to get through the process of burying Rahim, 26. Sullivan declined to say where.

However, Sullivan acknowledged that brother Ibrahim's initial Facebook comments, that his brother was shot in the back by three police officers, was wrong - and was based on third-party comments he had seen on social media.

Although Rahim's immediate family declined to criticize police and the FBI, others did not.

Imam Abdullah Faaruuq, of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah in Roxbury, said he was praying for both the Rahim family and the officers who shot him - because, he said, they murdered Rahim.

"I don't think their intent was to capture him and keep him alive," he said. Pointing to Whitey Bulger, he said law-enforcement officers have shown "if they wanted to take him down without killing him, they know what to do."

A woman who said she was Rahim's aunt, who gave her name only as Karen, said that while she did not know exactly what happened in the parking lot, she would not be surprised if Rahim were carrying the knife for protection as a black man in a country where black men are being "slaughtered."

She added, "If it weren't for him being Muslim, we would not be hearing 'terrorism,' we would not be hearing 'ISIS'."

Media scrum surrounds family members as they try to get to their cars to leave the parking lot:

Media with Rahim family in Roslindale
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Comments

I guess you can't please everyone.

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I thought the attorney sounded very reasonable compared to the catching elephants comments from the previous gentleman, but he doesn't seem to grasp the concept of a threshold inquiry. You don't need a warrant or probable cause to approach someone and speak with them to investigate any potential unlawful design.

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If you review the news coverage since Tuesday you will read a lot of claims about the deceased, his association with a terror network, his intent to behead persons, knives he bought, and phone calls he made, but not one violation of law or even probable cause. So the important thing here is to review the case with the cooperation of the US Attorney, JTTF, FBI and BPD transparently and learn from mistakes if any.

Boston Globe opinion writer makes a similar case.

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yeah, seems like this dude was totally innocent and they were way off the mark to suspect him of anything.

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I never said he wasn't suspicious.

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oh.

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He wasn't in the process of being arrested. Law enforcement, according to the media, approached him about comments he had made a few hours earlier. According to reports, he pulled a knife and not only refused to put it down but went in the direction of the police. If not for that, we might not know of this kid's existence today. Instead, he did what he did, they dd what they did, and Roslindale is in the world news.

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"His association with a terror network, his intent to behead persons, knives he bought, and phone calls he made" all add up to probable cause. You might be confusing an existing warrant with probable cause to make an arrest, which they seem to have had with this knowledge. They certainly had it when he pulled a knife that's illegal to carry under MA law, and they definitely had it when he threatened one or more people, which is illegal in every state.

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The FBI and Boston Police told us this. None of us have any independent confirmation of it yet.

That's basically what the family is saying. You might believe the authorities unquestionably. That a family who has just lost somebody does not, in a city where the FBI, at the least, has given people reason to doubt its word (John Connolly, anyone?) shouldn't be that surprising.

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than what the officers said to have had here. So I wouldn't say there (was not one violation of law or even probable cause). That isn't really true.

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The Globe reported the JTTF said they had no probable cause to make an arrest.

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They had enough probable cause. I understand waiting for more (which they did). But they had PC to make an arrest from what I've read.

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JTTF said they did not have probable cause to make an arrest. THEY said they approached him to have ask questions, not arrest him. Maybe you have more insight into this than the FBI, State Police, BPD and US Attorney.

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Seems like that video really exonerates the police/FBI, etc. according to the community people that have seen it and commented to the press.
The family will disagree, but all I can say is the cops should thank God for that video.

I'll wait for the video before I solidify my opinion, but I'm pretty sure I know which way I'm going.

Good stop by the authorities.

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They say you can't see the knife in the video. I hope you can. It might put the self-defense issue to rest.

They followed this guy for three years and didn't have probable cause to make an arrest. So they confront him after three years of surveillance, in a public place, to ask him questions on the day he tells his friend by phone he's going to attack a policeman today or tomorrow, and what exactly did they anticipate?

They believed him to be dangerous, to police in particular.

What exactly was their plan?

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For an attempted murder charge, the police need an "overt act" in order to make the charge stick. They have an easy charge for Threats to commit a crime (just a misdemeanor with no right of arrest), but that's not the charge they want. Now Rahim most certainly made an overt act by taking that knife with him, but the police did not know that. By talking to him and frisking him (which they would have the right to do), they would then have the PC to arrest for the attempted murder charge. But they probably needed to know that he at least had the knife to even be close to having the PC for that charge.

Many cases though the "overt act" isn't as strict so you never know. You see this in many child rape charges where someone agrees online to have sex with a child. The "agreement" online is seen as enough for the (attempted) rape charge as the overt act. In this case they may not have had enough though until they found out if he were armed or not. But it was clear that they couldn't wait any longer for that to happen.

So reasonable suspicion for a frisk for weapons turns into the suspect taking his weapon and charging the cops (allegedly).

I don't see how the police can be faulted too much on this one.

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A police officer never ceases to be a citizen. Some of my best arrests, and those I witnessed, took place on the sidewalk after merely asking, "Hi, how are you? What's your name?" Far from rocket science but it takes the right person to pull it off. Great that this terrorist won't be breeding.

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Cite your source that Usaama Rahim's homicide was justified. Police officers at the scene have said so. The video is inconclusive. I don't see any decisive evidence here.

After years of surveillance, most recently 24-hour surveillance, they still had no probable cause to make an arrest... before they shot him dead.

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The police can talk to anybody they want to, just like you can. They don't need a warrant to talk to anybody.

The police can defend themselves against somebody attacking them with a huge knife, just like you can. They don't need a judge's permission for that.

I'm glad for your sake it was them and not you this guy attacked with a huge knife. Because it sounds like, instead of defending yourself, you'd stand there splitting hairs with him until he split yours.

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Great that this terrorist won't be breeding.

1. We haven't seen any compelling evidence that Usaama Rahim was a terrorist. He has not conducted a single terrorist act nor has anyone in law enforcement alleged that he has. If you take the police at their word, there is evidence he wanted to be a terrorist.

2. People don't inherit views genetically. Taking glee that someone's premature and violent death means they wont have children must be about something else.

Greta Van Susteren, an attorney at law, calls Usaama Rahim a 'terrorist.' She could say "alleged want-to-be terrorist" and be accurate. Anything more is libelous.

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Who happened to be either public officials (police officers) or others who want to exercise their rights to free speech?

Someone who wanted to behead others to silence their views can safely be called terrorists in my opinion.

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What statute would you arrest a person for 'wanting to kill someone'?

The police said they had no probable cause to make an arrest.

If you think there is a law that was broken that says "You cannot want to kill someone" tell us what it is.

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From what I read, it wasn't I want to kill someone, it was I'm going to kill someone. Ability to kill, the treat to kill, an overt act/statement to put that plan in place to kill. Tons of case law that would support PC for this.

And all this is besides the point. The cops didn't arrest him, they talked to him. And the guy had a knife and attacked them before he could attack the people he said he was going to attack.

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With your logic the Iowa guy who made threats to the mosque is innocent. Is that how you feel?

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Ledford is due to face a charge of transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure a person in U.S. District Court in Boston on June 24. The charge carries a possible five-year prison term if he is convicted.

It seems that Ledford had photos of guns, specific threats, and demonstrated those threats towards a victim (mosques website), and those in the mosque would probably have the fear required to let a charge like this stand.

So a little different, although I admit I am not 100% up on federal crimes like the one the Iowa man is facing.

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Neither you, nor I, nor Greta S know whether or not he wanted to behead others. Sure sounds likely that he did, but we do not know that. That will all come out when the evidence is presented.

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If what they heard was true ( a phone call regarding murdering police officers), that is clear probable cause to make an arrest. At the very least it gives them enough for a Terry Stop frisk (which would have revealed the weapon).

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I don't know whether or not they had probable cause, but the Globe reported the JTTF said they had no probable cause to make an arrest.

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And you can google it yourself "probable cause to arrest for attempt to commit a crime case law" and you will find plenty of instances in MA with less probable cause than what is alleged here that was signed off by courts or judges on arrest warrants.

But by saying you had probable cause to arrest now, you can be questioned as to why you didn't tactically arrest this dangerous person (early morning no knock warrant/show of force, etc) and keep him alive. By saying you did not have PC it gives the task force sort of an excuse/out for those who did question them.

But in reality this was a case of the police not wanting to show their cards too early. If they did arrest him on an attempted murder warrant, or on PC to commit a felony, a judge most certainly could have said there was no attempted murder charge or terrorist threat. In the end they did the right thing, and these types of cases are never easy to solve, and are very easy to Monday morning QB.

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I always appreciate your explanations of how things actually work in the field. You add value to this site.

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Every piece of information so far suggests it was justified. It was in public and on video. In this country, at this time, do you think the police could execute someone at 7 am in a Boston parking lot without a single witness rushing to Facebook and Twitter to say he was murdered? Exactly one person did that, the guy's brother who was in California, and his lawyer today admitted he was wrong.

Instead we have a video that was sensibly shared with Muslim leaders, Boston clergy, and the Urban League, who all said it backed up the BPD account. We have the arrest of a second suspect with details about this man's involvement in a murder plot that convinced a federal judge to hold him. We have social media posts that appear to corroborate all of the above.

So maybe the question is, what's your source? An utterly discredited Facebook post?

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but a parking lot that is shared with a Dunkin Donuts. During the morning rush hour.

I would bet there's a bazillion witnesses.

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Please cite where he is innocent and this is a tragic "homocide".

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Please cite where he is innocent and this is a tragic "homocide".

Conversely, please cite where anyone (other than his brother, originally) is claiming that he was innocent or that this was an unjustified shooting.

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Proud defender of the Fourth Amendment!

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"Am I free to go?"
"Am I being detained?"
"Then I have nothing to say without an attorney present."

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yeah, seems like they will totally accept a reasonable investigation and conclusion based on facts.

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An investigation isn't warranted?

I think any such incidents should be fully investigated as a rule, and that investigation should be done by an external agency or organization.

The SJC does as much for life sentences as a matter of course. Death sentences, particularly extrajudicial ones, merit at least that much scrutiny (if only to better protect officers in the future).

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To quote Anonymous. No one said an investigation wasn't warranted.

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If bractune was implying 'An investigation isn't warranted' as SwirlyGrrl inferred he was, then SwirlyGrrl offered a response. (Otherwise forget it I presume.)

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i wasn't implying that an investigation isn't warranted. i was implying that based on what we've heard from them so far, the family isn't very interested in facts, and i expect that any investigation that comes to a conclusion other than the one they already have (shot in the back, It Was Because He's Muslim, etc) will be rejected out of hand. it's like how climate change deniers are always calling for "more research".

there does not appear to be a huge mystery to solve here. his nephew apparently already said that he was planning to behead people (and that he supported that plan.) yes, there should be an investigation, but the presumption that the COPS are guilty until proven otherwise, especially in this scenario, is completely batshit.

given the ridiculous way people have reacted to the evidence that we already know about (eg, saying you're going to behead people is not "probable cause" to talk to them(???)), it's not a lack of information or facts that they're lacking, but the ability to process that information in a sane and rational manner. some people cannot accept that there are horrible people in the world, and that sometimes they have to be killed to be stopped. no investigation will satisfy that kind of person.

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Give it a rest. He wanted to BEHEAD people, and engaged in a conspiracy to do so. Video also shows he was not shot in the back, did pull out a large knife, and did confront and taunt police with it. He was far from being an innocent choir boy just minding his own business.

smh.

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He wanted to BEHEAD people

So you say. And so others say, too. And you're probably right. And a transparent and thorough investigation will probably reveal just that.

So why are you objecting to calls for a transparent and thorough investigation?

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As I recall, Whitey wasn't armed when he was captured.

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He was siting on an arsenal but didn't have a piece on him when collared.

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How much more transparent can the BPD be on this? They gather evidence and share it almost as soon as it's processed and reviewed. They're an example to the rest of the US law enforcement community on how to handle situations like this.

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They should keep it up. Is anyone complaining about the actions of the BPD here?

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When you accused them of screwing up by only bringing two officers and questioned why they didn't have an arrest warrant.

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Were there 2, 3 or 5 law enforcement officers in the parking lot in Roslindale when the person of interest was shot and killed? Which ones discharged their weapons?

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If you look at the other thread again, you will see that my exact quote was " somebody screwed up.", not "BPD screwed up," Recall that BPD wasn't the only agency involved. The JTTF is quoted as having said that there was an active plot to behead someone and that they didn't have probable cause to arrest the guy. Can those two things both be true at the same time?

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See my opinion above. I think they did have PC to arrest, but don't want to say it now. They just wanted to be careful.

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You don't need probable cause to detain anyone for 24 hrs.

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But how can you legally hold someone for 24 hours without PC/arrest?

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on the banks of the Hudson as the twin towers fell?

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Who the hell are you even talking to?

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You would have helped Timothy McVeigh or Eric Robert Rudolph or John Salvi.

So there. I run rings around you logically!

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That this cave troll never responds? She gets her $0.10 per post and then gallops away.

Which Koch brother pays you, deary?

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I love it when someone starts tossing off Koch Brothers vast right wing conspiracy accusations. The uber-PC WGBH doesn't seem to have a problem with them, but I guess the checks clear regularly.

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/remove-david-koch-from

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I'm not sure I see your point. Do you think the Kochs don't benefit from funding GBH? I'm sure they wouldn't do it if they thought it wouldn't provide some modicum of control, even though WGBH proclaim loudly that they are not editorially compromised.

My point was about astrotufing. Care to respond to that?

Your fallacy is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

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... on GBH (and, even worse, NPR).

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The Koch Brothers are having tremendous influence over at WGBH. The even older and more-liberal ex-Cambridge City Councilor that they appointed to replace Emily Rooney was near tears when the Tsarnaev jurors came back with the death penalty. Comical to watch, much funnier than the late night programs now on offer. Although I was watching in another town, I almost called Boston EMS for the host, who appeared to be in shock that a jury in a state that last voted 54-35% for the death penalty would actually return such a penalty. Apparently he hadn't blown in from New York when we last voted. The Koch's should save their money.

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Schadenfreude is when you enjoy someone's misery. What's the word for taking a victory lap when no one knows there was a competition?

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@Chris Lynch, your comment is somewhat cryptic but there is no enjoyment here for the 5 killed and 264 maimed by the Tsarnaevs. I can only offer prayers. There is tremendous personal pride, however, that a jury of twelve, cobbled together from the Greater Boston area, ignored the pleas and fake "polls" of the far-left media and issued the death sentence. Rare praise too, for President Obama for seeking the maximum sentence. If "schadenfreude" is taking pleasure in the misery of Islamic terrorists and their liberal apologists, count me in.

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By my calculations, the guy that got shot would have been 12 years old on 9/11. I doubt he was in on it.

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... that 'they' are all guilty, for some suitable value of 'they'.

So an old guy dressed in military fatigues is riding the subway, and suddenly he hauls off and decks an old Asian guy who had been peacefully sitting next to him. "That's for Pearl Harbor, you yellow scum," he says. The Asian guy says, "I'm Korean, not Japanese, asshole." The guy in fatigues shrugs and says "Japanese, Korean, same difference to me." A big guy in a cowboy hat steps up and roundhouse kicks the guy in fatigues. "That's for sinking the Titanic and killing 1,500 innocent people." The guy in fatigues picks himself up off the floor with a "WTF?" look on his face. The guy in the cowboy hat points to the name tape on the old guy's fatigues, and says "Steinberg, Iceberg, what's the diference?"

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