Local Muslim clerics and black community leaders in Boston are backing up the police account of the confrontation that resulted in terror suspect Usaama Rahim getting shot by law enforcement.
Usaama Rahim’s older brother, Ibrahim Rahim, posted messages on Twitter and Facebook, alleging that police had shot his brother in the back while calling their father for help. The “respected” Islamic scholar also said that his brother’s last words were “I can’t breathe.” That story unraveled Wednesday when the police showed video of the confrontation to community leaders.
Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, said he could “150 percent corroborate” the police account. The images clearly show that Rahim “was not on a cellphone and was not shot in the back,” Williams said.
The FBI complaint refers to a recorded conversation between Rahim, 26, and Wright, 24, in which Wright made a comparison to “thinking with your head on your chest.” The FBI said that was a reference to Islamic State propaganda videos showing severed heads on the chests of beheading victims.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said officers confronted the suspect because “military and law enforcement lives were at threat.”
The video, which police did not make available publicly, shows that Rahim menaced the officers with a large military-style knife and that they initially backed away before shooting him when he refused to drop it, police said.
Terror investigators had put Rahim under surveillance because he had purchased knives and talked of an imminent attack on “boys in blue,” the FBI disclosed on Wednesday.
The FBI has released its complaint against David Wright, accusing him of conspiring with Usaama Rahim for a week “to engage in a violent attack.”
The agency said Wednesday that it has evidence supporting charges of obstruction and conspiracy against Wright.
The complaint says Wright and Rahim had purchased three fighting knives and a knife sharpener as part of their conspiracy, which allegedly began on May 26.
The FBI says that on Tuesday, a week later, Rahim allegedly called Wright saying he would go after “boys in blue,” randomly killing police officers in Massachusetts on June 2 or June 3.
One Islamic cleric said the video was “inconclusive” because he couldn’t see a knife in the poor-quality video, but reluctantly admitted that Rahim was not shot in the back.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah said that, although the video was vague, he could tell “it wasn’t at a bus stop. He wasn’t shot in the back….he was approaching them. They did back up…”
The reason the officers backed up was because they saw the suspect whip out a machete.