Man buried, ques­tions re­main in po­lice killing

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Tina Susman tina.susman@la­times.com

A young man shot to death by po­lice who ac­cused him of plot­ting to be­head law en­force­ment of­fi­cers was laid to rest in Bos­ton on Fri­day as of­fi­cials, fac­ing ques­tions about the shoot­ing, vowed to make public the video of the in­ci­dent.

The fam­ily of Usaamah Rahim, 26, viewed the video Thurs­day night show­ing Rahim be­ing shot out­side a CVS phar­macy in Bos­ton early Tues­day. Po­lice say that they had Rahim un­der sur­veil­lance and opened fire when he lunged at them with a knife.

Ini­tially, Rahim’s fam­ily dis­puted the ac­count, and his brother, Imam Ibrahim Rahim, al­leged that his sib­ling had been shot in the back. But at a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day, fam­ily at­tor­ney Ron­ald Sul­li­van told re­porters that Ibrahim Rahim “sim­ply did not have all the facts at that time” and had made the claims about his brother’s death based on hearsay from uniden­ti­fied third par­ties.

Nonethe­less, the shoot­ing has raised ten­sions at a time of height­ened public de­bate over law en­force­ment shoot­ings of black men and boys and con­cerns over the ex­pand­ing reach of the rad­i­cal Is­lamic State. Of­fi­cials in Bos­ton said they ex­pected to re­lease the video af­ter Rahim was buried.

Law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties al­lege that Rahim and his nephew, David Wright, 24, who is un­der ar­rest, were fol­low­ers of Is­lamic State and had plot­ted at­tacks that in­cluded be­head­ing po­lice of­fi­cers.

Rahim was mourned at the Roxbury mosque where he used to pray.

His fam­ily has said they had no inkling he had be­come rad­i­cal­ized. They have not com­mented on the video.

At the fu­neral, a lo­cal imam, Ab­dul­lah Faaruuq, who ear­lier had ac­cused po­lice of reck­less be­hav­ior, stepped back from those al­le­ga­tions.

“I don’t be­lieve the po­lice acted ir­ra­tionally,” Faaruuq said, adding that he did not want to in­cite dis­trust. He said it was pos­si­ble the sit­u­a­tion “war­ranted what they did,” but also sug­gested that if it had been han­dled bet­ter, Rahim might not have been killed.

Au­thor­i­ties have not dis­cussed in de­tail how Rahim came un­der scru­tiny. Con­spir­acy charges filed Wed­nes­day against Wright al­lege that the men had been dis­cussing be­head­ings and a pos­si­ble attack on po­lice of­fi­cers, of­ten in generic terms.

A third per­son al­leged to have been in­volved in the con­ver­sa­tions, out­lined in an 11-page crim­i­nal com­plaint, has not been iden­ti­fied.

The com­plaint al­leges that Rahim bought three fight­ing knives and a knife sharp­ener on Ama­zon.com last month, then called Wright and told him “in guarded lan­guage” about a plot to kill peo­ple.

Dur­ing an­other phone con­ver­sa­tion in the hours be­fore his death, the com­plaint says, Rahim told Wright in part: “I’m just go­ing to … go af­ter them, those boys in blue,” a ref­er­ence to po­lice of­fi­cers. “Cause … it’s the eas­i­est tar­get.”

Au­thor­i­ties ap­par­ently be­came more con­cerned af­ter in­ter­cept­ing that call and moved in to con­front him.

Wright has been charged with con­spir­ing to de­stroy ev­i­dence; of­fi­cials say he told Rahim to get rid of his phone.

Elise Amen­dola As­so­ci­ated Press

RAHIMAH RAHIM, left, mother of Usaamah Rahim. Po­lice say they will re­lease video of his shoot­ing.

USAAMAH RAHIM re­port­edly said: “I’m just go­ing to … go af­ter them, those boys in blue.”

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