Cambridge Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Sayed Faisal Will Not Be Prosecuted Following Inquest | News | The Harvard Crimson

The Cambridge Police Department officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Sayed Faisal in January will not be prosecuted after a Massachusetts judge found his actions to be “objectively reasonable.”

The finding by Massachusetts District Court Judge John F. Coffey comes at the close of a monthslong investigation by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office into the police killing of Faisal. On Thursday, District Attorney Marian T. Ryan released the full findings of the investigation, which for the first time named CPD officer Liam McMahon as the officer who shot and killed Faisal.

McMahon, a fourth-generation Cambridge police officer, has been with the department for eight years. He has never received a complaint, according to a January statement from CPD spokesperson Jeremy C. Warnick.

Full story: Cambridge Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Sayed Faisal Will Not Be Prosecuted Following Inquest | News | The Harvard Crimson

3 Replies to “Cambridge Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Sayed Faisal Will Not Be Prosecuted Following Inquest | News | The Harvard Crimson”

  1. Is justice truly served when officers who use deadly force are not prosecuted? This troubling case raises questions about qualified immunity and its potential unintended consequences on law enforcement. Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that shields government officials, including police officers, from civil liability when performing their duties, as long as their actions do not violate clearly established constitutional rights. While it was originally intended to protect officers from frivolous lawsuits, it can sometimes enable misconduct and hinder accountability. In certain instances, like with Sayed Faisal’s family, qualified immunity has made it difficult for victims and their families to seek justice when their constitutional rights are violated, which has sparked debates about its reform or abolition. This case showcases the ongoing discussion on how to strike a balance between protecting law enforcement from undue legal burden and ensuring accountability for misconduct. In this case, it is hard to say, as the police were necessarily justified in the shooting, but the article raises some good solutions. I agree with the article when they said that the initial responders to a mental health crisis should not be armed police officers, but this also raises questions like: how are dispatchers supposed to know which calls are mental health crises and which are not?

    1. This has always been a difficult issue to strike a balance on. Either Officers feel that they have nothing to protect them from being pursued legally for doing their job, not to say this is what happened in this incident, or families and friends feel that they cannot get justice for the death of their loved one. No matter what is decided one, or both, sides will be left feeling that they are being disregarded by the justice system. Regarding your questions about dispatchers knowing if a call is mental health related perhaps more training should be required. A dispatcher learning the signs of mental health issues could provide officers better insight on what they are responding to, and how to better react.

    2. Many good points Raegan. Officers should be protected from having to deal with many frivolous lawsuits, yes. Although in cases with deadly force there should be some form of justice (only in cases that are in an ethical/moral gray area). Another good point you brought up is how are dispatchers supposed to know whether or not a call is a mental health call? This question brings up many good points, because they most likely won’t know. If the responding officers do find it to be a mental health call there should be some protocol in order to best handle the situation. This could include having a mental health professional come out if possible. This is highly unlikely due to safety hazards, but it would be very beneficial.

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