BOSTON (CBS) – Three weeks into protests nationwide and locally over the death of George Floyd, a protest starting in Government Square instead focused on officer-involved shootings here at home.
The group Mass Action Against Police Brutality organized a rally outside Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office, calling on Rollins to reopen investigations into the death of Burrell Ramsey-White, Usaamah Rahim, and Terrence Coleman.
Ramsey-White was pulled over by officers in plain clothes and an unmarked cruiser in 2012 when he sped away, leading police on a chase, eventually getting out of the car and pulling a gun on officers, according to investigators. An officer shot him in the torso, killing him.
In 2015, Usaamah Rahim was shot by police officers and FBI agents outside a CVS in Roslindale. According to law enforcement, Rahim was suspected of plotting terror acts including “beheading” local police officers. When approached by officers, they say he pulled a knife, prompting them to shoot. “Come to me Rachael, please, I’d like to tell you about my son,” his mother Rahimah Rahim said to a crowd at Tuesday’s protest, telling the crowd her son was not a terrorist and had instead just “liked” posts on social media.
In 2016, 31-year-old Terrence Coleman was shot and killed by Boston Police officers in the hallway outside his home in Boston. His mother, Hope Coleman, had called 911, worried that her son — who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia — had been outside on the stoop for days and would get pneumonia. When EMTs responded, police later followed. According to law enforcement, Coleman pulled a knife on officers during an episode, prompting them to shoot.
“I would’ve never called 911, but I did what a mother has to do, I called for help,” Hope Coleman told a crowd at Tuesday’s protest. “Now I don’t have my son.”
The crowd formed outside Rachael Rollins’ office, chanting, “Reopen the case!” They then marched to the South End, ending at Peters Park, but stopping for reflection at the locations where both Burrell Ramsey-White and Terrence Coleman were shot and killed.
Hours after the protest, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins released a statement pointing out her creation of a DIT, or a Discharge Integrity Team to investigate officers’ use of force when she first entered office in January 2019. Her statement read, in part, “Although the specific investigations that have been raised by the protesters today appear to involve deaths all occurring under prior administrations, I am committed to discussing these cases with DIT. If any new information or evidence is available, I ask that it be directed to my office.”