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Cambridge Police will wear body cameras after fatal shooting of college student

Cambridge Police announce changes after fatal shooting of college student
Cambridge Police announce changes after fatal shooting of college student 02:31

CAMBRIDGE - Cambridge police have announced some big changes after an officer shot and killed a man who was armed with a knife. Police officers in the city will now wear body cameras.

The killing of 20-year-old college student Arif Sayed Faisal at the hands of Cambridge police in early January created public outcry.

"They're at least listening to us, what our demand is, it's great," said Pervin Chowdhury of the Bangladesh Association of New England.

Some activists demanded to bring body cameras to the police department to create more transparency and perhaps provide more answers about the confrontation that day. City councilor Burham Azeem is among the supporters.

"Body cameras don't prevent situations like this, but transparency, and knowing what happened is so important," Azeem said.

Police say Faisal charged at officers with a knife, and when a sponge bullet didn't work, an officer fired a gun.

That officer's name has not been released as activists have demanded. The police commissioner said, "the department has not identified any egregious misconduct or significant policy, training, equipment or disciplinary violations."

Activists insist the city is now bowing to pressure.

"I think they recognize that there is hundreds and hundreds of people that have become activated by this fight, that aren't going to let up and that are going to put more pressure on the city so they are trying to provide half measures," said Suhail Purkar of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

The city manager says in a few short weeks they are moving ahead with a review and reforms that include the body cameras. They're also looking at alternative responses to emergency calls outside the police department, evaluating less lethal options, hiring an independent consultant, and strengthening mental health resources.

Activists, who held a series of meetings with city officials, insist mental health is at the core of this case which should have been handled differently by police.

"I still want to know why they have to shoot him; they know when the neighbor called the neighbor told them he's trying to hurt himself," Chowdhury said.

The officer involved in the shooting is on paid leave. It could take months for a final report on the investigation to be released by the district attorney.   

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