Fed’s probe fatal shootings by Boston Police

By Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) – Federal investigators are reviewing two fatal shootings by Boston police officers after receiving complaints from victims relatives who said the shootings weren’t justified.

The shootings occurred in 2004 and 2001.

Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole confirmed that one of the shootings involved the case of Bert W. Bowen, 40, of the city’s Roxbury neighborhood. Bowen was shot three times by police on June 27, 2004, when he fled following a traffic stop and after allegedly pointing a gun at officers.

The second shooting involved Rene Romain, 19, who was shot at the Mattapan MBTA Station on July 14, 2001, after he allegedly threatened police with a knife, O’Toole said.

In both cases, the Suffolk District Attorney’s office found that the shootings were justified.

O’Toole called the federal review of the shootings “routine.” She said that last summer US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan’s office asked Boston police for their files related to the shootings.

“Quite frankly, we welcome the scrutiny,” O’Toole told The Boston Globe. “I’m not going to be presumptuous in any way, but I’m confident these investigations were conducted very professionally and thoroughly.”

Sullivan declined to comment on the ongoing reviews.

Bowen’s father Winston Bowen, 74, said he didn’t believe that his son’s shooting was justified.

“If he was running away from police, they could have shot him in the leg and that would have been it,” he told the Boston Herald. “There was no reason for the police to kill him.”

Romain’s mother Carline Seide-Murphy told the Globe that she submitted the complaint to the US Justice Department’s civil rights division in 2003. She said Justice Department lawyers asked her for documents and she sent them police reports and medical reports.

One of those reports indicated that the surgeon who operated on her son before he died found the fatal bullet entered from the right buttock, she said. Boston police have said Romain was shot in the front.

“To shoot him like that, in the back, it’s wrong,” she told the Globe.

An investigation by then-Suffolk District Attorney Ralph C. Martin’s office found that the medical report was wrong and that Romain had been shot in the abdomen after threatening police with a knife.

-Associated Press