Statement on the Fatal Cambridge Police Shooting of Sayed Arif Faisal

I want to begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the Faisal family as well as all who knew Sayed Arif Faisal. This is a jarring, tragic event that has stunned the Cambridge community — I have been at a loss for words since last Wednesday. This has been especially striking and shocking for the Bengali community in particular and my heart goes out to the entire community as well as the Faisal family. It’s devastating to lose someone so young, at 20 years old, that’s just a baby, barely even launched, and I cannot imagine what his family and friends are experiencing in this moment. 

I want to thank those who spoke tonight, attended today’s rally, you have supported this family in their time of loss and crisis. I hope that you stay with them, as the months ahead during this investigation and inquest. They will need you and your support and energy and commitment, as they have lost this incredible light in their life.

Along with my council colleagues, and the City’s leadership, we are fully committed to transparency throughout this investigative process, and as you heard from our commissioner, our police department will be fully cooperating with the District Attorney’s office to discover what happened on January 4th. This process will not be short, for those of us who were at the protest earlier and heard from the family’s attorney, this can take up to a year for a court to hear the findings on this case when an inquest will be held.

I want to say while the facts are still being gathered, we all have questions, I have all the same questions as the ones we heard tonight, and today at the protest, and they aren’t easy ones to answer. For the past week, I’ve found myself really jumping to a very angry place and I want to name that because I have been really struggling with the community, alongside the community about how and why this happened. But also we need to let the details unfold through this inquest process, while at the same time working to ensure this never happens in our City again.

As the mayor and City Manager said, over the next several weeks, there are several conversations planned to help our community begin to unravel and discuss openly. I hope residents can join us Thursday night at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School from 6pm — 8pm for a community conversation and next Wednesday at 3pm in Sullivan Chamber for a special city council meeting where I think there will be a lot of questions and an open dialogue about where we go next. I know these conversations can’t change what has transpired and they won’t bring Arif back but I hope they serve as an open forum for discussion about next steps and how we move forward to a system where public safety means public safety for everyone. Again, my deepest condolences to Arif’s family, and my commitment to ensure an open and transparent process. 

For more information about any upcoming meetings or events, click here.

To watch my full statement, click here

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, January 12 from 6pm – 8pm: Community Meeting at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School (102 Putnam Avenue) where City Leadership and the District Attorney will share information about the investigation process and any updates thus far.

Saturday, January 14 from 2pm – 3:30pm: Community Support Meeting for the Cambridgeport Neighborhood at the Morse School (40 Granite Street) hosted by the Peace Commission and the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association.

Wednesday, January 18 from 3pm – 5pm: Special City Council Meeting (Sullivan Chamber in City Hall) to discuss the tragic events of January 4th and steps forward.

You can attend the Special Council meeting in person, watch online via Zoom or the Open Meeting Portal, or tune into Cityview Channel 22.