A Boston Police officer who shot a man eight times on a deserted Newmarket Square street early on Feb. 22, 2019 was justified because the man had just shot the officer's partner twice after they woke him up and then tried to drive away, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office announced today.
A report that cleared Officer William Hull of any wrongdoing on the death of Kasim Kahrim from shots fired by BPD Officer William Hull, was authored by now former DA Rachael Rollins, but was released today by acting DA Kevin Hayden. The DA's office investigates all shootings by Boston Police officers.
After a careful consideration of the facts and the law, I conclude that Officer Hull acted reasonably and lawfully when he discharged his weapon. The facts clearly establish that Mr. Kahrim used deadly force upon Officer Whalen, by shooting at and striking him in his right hand, placing both officers in real and immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury. The involved officers had an absolute right to protect themselves and each other after being shot at and nearly killed.
Under these circumstances, Officer Hull's use of deadly force was a lawful and reasonable exercise of self -defense and defense of others. Accordingly, I have determined that criminal charges are not warranted.
According to the DA's report on the incident, Kahrim had pulled onto Gerard Street from Norfolk Street shortly before 2 a.m., drove towards Massachusetts Avenue for a block or so, then pulled over to the side and parked. Hull and his partner, Ofr. Mark Whalen, spotted the Sienna minivan parked on the deserted industrial street, its lights on and motor running, and pulled over behind the minivan to investigate.
Concerned that the driver could be in medical distress, Officer Hull began tapping and then banging on the driver's window with his flashlight, hoping to rouse the person. After repeated tapping and banging , Mr. Kahrim finally awoke. He seemed surprised to find the officers there.
They requested, and Kahrim handed over, his license, which the officers took back to their cruiser to check against a criminal-record database. When they returned to the car, the report continues, they noticed Kahrim fidgeting with one hand as if grabbing something:
Officer Hull ordered Mr. Kahrim to slowly unbuckle his seatbelt, keep his hands visible, and exit the vehicle. Mr. Kahrim moved his right hand back, but not towards the seatbelt release button. Officer Hull observed Mr. Kahrim place his right hand back in his pocket. At that moment, Officer Hull then drew his department- issued firearm for the first time during the encounter, as he was in fear for his safety and the safety of his partner. Officer Hull continued to give commands to Mr. Kahrim to keep his hands visible. Officer Whalen grabbed Mr. Kahrim’s left hand and Mr. Kahrim pulled Officer Whalen towards the inside area of the car. Officer Hull then observed Mr. Kahrim remove his right hand from his pocket with a firearm and he was then "looking down the barrel ." He shouted that Mr. Kahrim had a gun and Officer Whalen then drew his department-issued firearm for the first time during the encounter. Officer Hull then "observed a flash...and heard a crack..." as he was shouting verbal commands to Mr. Kahrim. Officer Whalen also observed a revolver in Mr. Kahrim's right hand. Mr. Kahrim held his arm at a 90-degree angle against his stom ach and pointed the firearm at Officer Whalen while firing. The officers observed Mr. Kahrim discharge his firearm from the area of his stomach towards the officers. He never extended his arm fully.
The report continues:
Immediately upon hearing a gunshot and seeing a flash, Officer Whalen felt pain in his right hand and dropped his department-issued firearm onto the street. Officer Whalen notified operations of "shots fired" and retreated to the rear of Mr. Kahrim's vehicle before retreating further to the rear of his cruiser. Upon seeing the flash and hearing the sound of Mr. Kahrim's gun firing, Officer Hull then discharged his firearm multiple times in the direction of Mr. Kahrim. As he fired, Officer Hull moved in front of the minivan toward the sidewalk, and continued to discharge his weapon. After he reached the sidewalk, on the passenger side of Mr. Kahrim's vehicle, Officer Hull's firearm went into lock-back, signaling he had discharged all the bullets in his weapon. Officer Hull moved to the rear of the minivan and reloaded his firearm in the process.
Kahrim managed to drive away, even as Hull shot another five or six rounds at the minivan.
Mr. Kahrim left the scene on Gerard Street by taking a right onto Allerton Street and traveled at a high rate of speed to end of that street. He then took a right onto Magazine Street and finally a left onto George Street. Mr. Kahrim's vehicle crashed into the corner of another vehicle at 90 George Street and came to a complete stop after traveling approximately .53 miles from the initial encounter. Numerous Boston Police units responded to the area and one of those units was flagged down by a George Street resident and located Mr. Kahrim in his car at approximately 2:25 AM. Officers observed a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver at Mr. Kahrim's feet, which was secured and later tested. Boston EMS pronounced Mr. Kahrim's death on scene at 2:27 AM.
In total, Hull fired 20 shots at Kahrim and his vehicle. The report adds:
Officer Whalen was taken by ambulance from Allerton Street to an area hospital. He was treated for gunshot wounds to his right hand and wrist, as well as two graze wounds to his left arm. Officer Whalen was also treated for ballistics burns on his hands and face and foreign particles in his eyes, which were most likely gunshot residue. Due to the nerve damage he sustained to his right hand and wrist, Officer Whalen has undergone multiple surgeries to regain the mobility and use of his hand and will continue to undergo treatment and physical therapy.