Expressing anger and frustration, several hundred protesters on Monday (January 09, 2023) demanded justice for a Bangladeshi American college student who was shot and killed by police in the Boston suburb of Cambridge last week, a shooting that has drawn attention from Bangladeshi media.
Sayed Faisal, 20, a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was shot on January 4 while advancing on officers with what police described as a kukri and after a less-than-lethal “sponge round” failed to stop him, authorities have said. A kukri is a short sword with an angled blade that originated in South Asia.
Protesters at the rally outside Cambridge City Hall organized by the Bangladesh Association of New England held signs saying “Justice for Faisal” and “Faisal needed help not bullets,” while his friends and teachers remembered his friendliness, his positive outlook and his intelligence.
An independent judicial inquest into the shooting has been initiated. The findings of that inquest will be forwarded to the Middlesex district attorney’s office to decide whether charges are warranted, a process that could take a year or more.
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Faisal, who was known as Prince by his family, was an only child who was never violent and had never been involved with law enforcement before, his parents said in a statement released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We are completely devastated and in disbelief that our son is gone,” the Cambridge residents said. “Prince was the most wonderful, loving, caring, generous, supportive, and deeply family-oriented person. He loved to travel, create art, and play sports with his friends.”
Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, City Manager Yi-An Huang, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, and Cambridge Police Commissioner Christine Elow are all expected to attend a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the shooting and answer questions from the public.
The City Council has also scheduled a special meeting on Jan. 18 to discuss protocols, processes, and training of city police.
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Authorities have not released the name of the officer who opened fire. The officer, who is on paid administrative leave, is a seven-year department veteran who has never been the subject of a citizen’s complaint, police spokesperson Jeremy Warnick said Monday.
According to the preliminary investigation, police received a 911 call early last Wednesday afternoon from a resident who reported seeing a man jumping out of an apartment window with a machete which he appeared to be using to cut himself.
Officers and paramedics found the man, identified as Faisal, bleeding in an alley.
Faisal saw police, who requested that he drop the weapon, and ran for several blocks.
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He then reportedly moved toward the police while still holding the weapon, even when they fired a less-than-lethal round at him. He continued to advance and one officer fired a gun, striking Faisal, who later died at a hospital, authorities said.