It will be hard for them to make this victimhood narrative fly, since people who have seen the surveillance video don’t bear out their story. On the other hand, with a willingly complicit mainstream media (Lisa Wangsness, call your office) and police officials afraid of more “racist police” stories, they might be able to get everything they want.
A Boston imam and the aunt of the 26-year-old Roslindale man killed by police and the FBI on Tuesday say he was not a terrorist and blamed his “murder” on the media, an investigation gone awry and the strained relationship between cops and black men.
“I ask that God overlook the shortcomings in the people who continue to exist that murdered the young man,” said Imam Abdullah Faaruuq of the Mosque for the Praising of the Lord in Roxbury yesterday. “I know that’s probably not what they intended in their hearts. But this is how they’re trained — to shoot at the critical mass, in an open space with cars going by.”
Authorities have said Usaamah Rahim was shot around 7 a.m. Tuesday after being ordered to drop his military-style knife before he responded, “You drop yours.” He was under 24/7 surveillance by the Joint Terrorist Task Force and was considered armed and dangerous, and allegedly plotting to behead police.
Rahim’s supporters, however, said they had no evidence he had been radicalized, according to family spokesman Ronald Sullivan, an attorney and Harvard law professor. Rahim’s aunt said her nephew felt threatened as a black man in America.
“There’s a lot of black people and black men who are angry at the cops right now and putting things out on social media about the cops and maybe you know, just not being happy with the cops,” said his aunt, who gave only her first name, Karen. “When you add the factor of Islam, now everyone in the media wants to add terrorism to it — if it wasn’t for him being Muslim, then we would not be hearing terrorism, we would not be hearing ISIS, and that’s what I want to say.”
Sullivan insinuated that Rahim shouldn’t have been approached by police in the first place without a warrant and said he was looking into whether authorities made an unconstitutional stop.
“If in fact there was an illegal arrest, that is something that has to be dealt with,” he said. “If in fact the conduct of law enforcement constituted the functional equivalent of an arrest, that is a standalone issue that has be dealt with.”
After the press conference, Black Lives Matter Boston posted on its Facebook page: “We, at Black Lives Matter Boston, are sickened to once more have to call out in grief over the violent taking of another community member at the hands of the white supremacist state.”
An FBI affidavit released this week indicated that Rahim was hellbent on “committing violent jihad” and wanted to “go after” the “boys in blue,” in an apparent reference to attacking police officers.
U.S. Rep. William Keating said yesterday Rahim had been on the Joint Terrorism Task Force’s radar since 2012.
Keating said during a private meeting with the FBI on Wednesday he was told social media was among the ways Rahim stayed informed of those who were sympathetic to radical ideologies. Asked if there were others who the FBI believes were linked to this plot, Keating said he was told the investigation is ongoing.
“They’re going to exhaust every avenue,” Keating said. “(The FBI) said it was an active investigation and clearly went on to talk about social media and how he was involved in that. There are going to be things that they cannot discuss because they don’t want to alert others they may be looking at.”
Faaruuq said authorities were “reckless” when they gunned down Rahim and that, if they wanted to, they could have taken him into custody without killing him.
“You can capture tigers and lions and bears, oh my,” he said.
“I think it was reckless that they would be out in the parking lot shooting. I think it was foolish for the young man if he did wield a knife in front of five officers.”
Faaruuq also blamed the media for the violence, not Islam.
“Nothing of the religion teaches that. The media teaches our children. Our homes and our religious organizations no longer influence,” he said. “They are on the Internet and watching the media and watching the ‘Rambo’ movies more than they are influenced by what we teach them.”
Rahim’s family went to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s Office last night to watch a video of the shooting. Sullivan said he and the family “don’t have any further reaction at this point” when asked about the video.