Bangladeshi shot dead by police in US, family demands justice

Syed FaisalCollected

Syed Faisal Arif was the only child of his parents and would study computer science at the Boston campus of University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US. His parents had great aspirations for him, but all their dreams have been ended with a bullet. He was shot dead by police. The Bangladeshi community there is demanding a trial of this killing.

Faisal is from Datmara union of Fatikchhari upazila in Chattogram. He went to the US in 2015 with his family. Faisal's father Md Mujib Ullah says his dreams have been shattered by his son's death. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said, "My son had no bad habits. No one in our family was involved in any sort of crime ever. Back home too, our family has a good reputation. I demand an investigation into this killing and a trial."

The young man Faisal (20) was killed on Wednesday (4 January) afternoon, local time, on Chestnut Street in Cambridge, reported CBS. The report said that around 1:15 Wednesday afternoon, a resident of Cambridge called 911 to say that a man had jumped out of an apartment window. It looked like he was holding a large knife.

The police arrived at the spot and saw the person behind a building on Sydney Street. It was later learnt that this was the 20-year-old Syed Faisal. Faisal saw the police and tried to flee, weapon in hand. It was found to be a foot-long knife.

The report went on to say that he rushed towards the police with the knife. The police opened fire and Faisal was hit. He was taken to the Massachusetts General Hospital where he died while undergoing treatment.        

The Middlesex district attorney's office is investigating the incident. Attorney Marianne Ryan said that when Faisal was threatening with the knife, several attempts were made to stop him, but allegedly he came rushing towards the police.

It was said that a police officer has used a non-lethal weapon to stop Faisal, but that did not work. He rushed towards the police with the knife. A police officer opened fire and Faisal was hit.

Meanwhile, at a gathering on Thursday afternoon at the City Hall premises, community leader Yusuf said, "There is no scope to remain silent. We must raise our united voices against this brutality." Boston Awami League general secretary Iqbal Yusuf said he was 'stunned' by such behaviour of the police. If people are killed in police fire here, that means no one is safe in the US, he said.

The protest meeting was also attended by the president of Bangladesh Association of New England, Parveen Chowdhury, secretary Tanveer Murad, wounded freedom fighter Yusuf Chowdhury and others.

Faisal's uncle Selim Jahangir, speaking to Prothom Alo over mobile phone, said "Everyone at the protest meeting had one demand -- a fair investigation and trial. Our family wants that too. The mayor of Cambridge Sambul Siddiqui will return from abroad on Monday and will meet with the community leaders in the afternoon. Before that there will be a demonstration."

Salim Jahangir said that till 12:30 Friday night, the police hadn't handed over Faisal's body to the family.