scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Protesters demand DA Rollins reopen cases of police killings of Black men

Demonstrators march through downtown Boston after gathering outside of Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins' office in Boston Tuesday evening. Organized by Massachusetts Action Against Police Brutality, the demonstrators demanded Rollins re-open cases where Black men in Boston were killed by law enforcement.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Around 100 protesters marched to Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office Tuesday, demanding prosecutors reopen investigations into the death of Black men killed by law enforcement, particularly Terrence Coleman and Usaamah Rahim.

Mass Action Against Police Brutality, organized the protest that began around 5 p.m. outside Rollins’ office on Bulfinch Place where speakers demanded justice for Coleman and Rahim.

Coleman, whose mother said he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was shot twice in the abdomen by Boston police officers in October 2016 after his mother called paramedics because he refused to come inside her home.

Rahim was shot and killed by law enforcement in Roslindale in June 2015 when authorities disrupted an alleged terrorist plot to shoot and kill police officers.


Hope Coleman, Terrance’s mother, spoke at the protest , asking that police respond nonviolently to people with mental illnesses.

“If I had known they were going to kill my son, I never would’ve called 911,” she said, according to WCVB-TV. “And look at me now. I have no son. . . My son needs justice.”

Hope Coleman held up her fist as she marched with other demonstrators after gathering outside of Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins' office in Boston Tuesday evening. Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Mass Action organizer Brock Satter said the country is demanding justice for hundreds of Black Americans who have been killed by law enforcement.

“For mothers who have lost their children to police violence [seeing George Floyd’s murder] is like reliving the experience of their own loss,” he said in a statement announcing the march. “Most have never even seen a day in court to address the criminal acts done to their loved ones. Across the country families are crying out Justice for All! Re-Open the Cases!”

Michelle Thomas gathered with other demonstrators.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

On Tuesday night, Rollins issued a statement, reiterating her campaign pledge of 2016 to reexamine excess use of force by law enforcement.

Since then, she created the Discharge Integrity Team, a four-person panel that meets “at least monthly” to discuss cases involving the use of force.


“As a newly elected DA and an outsider to my office and our local law enforcement partners, I have personally taken over the function of supervising and reviewing officer involved cases of this nature,” she said. “Since taking office we have reviewed several matters.”

She cited the case of State Trooper Matthew Sheehan, who was indicted in September by a grand jury charging him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon, for firing a semi-automatic rifle at an all-terrain vehicle and injuring the driver in February, 2018, the statement said.

The fatal shootings of Coleman and Rahim occurred prior to her taking office, but Rollins said she is willing to review any new information brought forth by members of the public.

“If any new information or evidence is available, I ask that it be directed to my office,” she said. “We remain committed to making sure that every decision made by the Suffolk County DA’s Office—irrespective of when or under whose administration—are based solidly in law, thoroughly investigated and are reasonable and just.”