Rally held for 20-year-old Muslim student killed by police near Boston
A rally was held Monday afternoon for Sayed Arif Faisal, a 20-year-old Bangladeshi student who was allegedly shot and killed by police near Boston.
The rally was organised by the Bangladesh Association of New England (BANE) in front of Cambridge City Hall, in an effort to seek justice for the University of Massachusetts student who died from a police shooting on 4 January.
Police were called that day when Faisal was seen with a large knife after climbing out of a window and behaving erratically. He was later seen harming himself with the knife. A neighbour who witnessed the incident said she did not see Faisal instigate an attack, but heard five gunshots coming from the police, according to local news reports.
Police said they only used lethal force after they at first tried to subdue Faisal using sponge bullets.
Monday's rally was one of several that have taken place since the shooting. Others have been held at the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
"He was a very meritorious student. He was going to the University of Massachusetts. They were hoping someday he would become an engineer or a doctor but now all hope is gone," said Sayed Mujubullah, Faisal's father, through an interpreter during a demonstration at Cambridge City Hall the day after the shooting.
Last week, Faisal's family released a statement through the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Massachusetts, reading, in part, "Our only son, Sayed Arif Faisal, who we lovingly called Prince, is no longer with us nor in this world. We are completely devastated and in disbelief that our son is gone. Prince was the most wonderful, loving, caring, generous, supportive, and deeply family-oriented person."
They went on to describe their son as law-abiding and non-violent, and they said they wanted to know what had happened to him.
"Prince was a normal law-abiding citizen who had no record of any kind with law enforcement. He was never violent towards anyone," they said. "We want to know what happened and how this tragic event unfolded. We will cooperate with law enforcement and the Middlesex District Attorney's office as they investigate to have an understanding of this devastating event."