Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The Cambridge Residents Alliance grieves with the family of Arif Sayed Faisal and stands with our neighbors and the supportive community groups such as Cambridge Heart, the Bangladesh Association of New England and the Muslim Justice League. We continue to be saddened and angry.

A young man of Cambridge is dead at the hands of our police force. As City Manager Yi-An Huang said at a coffee last week on behalf of the Cambridge Police Department, “this is not the outcome we trained for.” Then something has gone tragically wrong with our system of policing, and every member of our community has a right to know how and why. The district attorney will conduct her investigation and inquest over months, we are told. But there are simple facts to which our residents should have access now by seeing the reports of the only witnesses that are known – our police officers.

Therefore, we join the Boston Globe editorial board, our local press and others to demand the release of the report the officers made to the department. We should be able to know: what deescalation methods were used when Faisal was found outside his home harming himself; how many of our officers were present when Faisal was shot; how many shots were fired; and what happened that the officer felt it necessary to shoot his weapon.

Many residents are fearful of the police in general and with good reason: Young men like Faisal, immigrants and people of color, have been killed by police throughout this country. In this situation, feeling – and being – safe means bringing the facts to the people so changes can begin to be made. While we wait for this report to be made public, we continue to put our full support behind the community-led public safety alternative to the police that already exists in our city in the form of Cambridge Heart, staffed with eight crisis responders and an administrative team.

Cambridge Residents Alliance

The Cambridge Residents Alliance is a 12-year-old citywide organization with a stated goal of working to make Cambridge livable, affordable and diverse.