Civil Rights Attorneys Vow to Pursue Justice for Mother of Boston Man Fatally Shot by Police Officers
Boston, MA (August 31, 2017) – Today, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office announced its decision not to pursue any criminal charges against the Boston Police officers who fatally shot Terrence Coleman, a young Black man who suffered from mental illness, outside his home in the South End, on October 30, 2016.
“Unfortunately, the decision by District Attorney Dan Conley continues a disturbing national pattern of prosecutors failing to hold police officers accountable for fatal shootings of Black men,” said Sophia Hall, a Staff Attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (“LCCR”), who along with Fick & Marx LLP represents Terrence Coleman’s mother, Hope Coleman. “The investigation that led to that decision was not truly ‘independent,’ because the DA’s office works closely with Boston Police every day,” added Hall.
“All I want is justice for my son,” said Ms. Coleman, who on the night of her son’s fatal shooting had called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital for medical attention. But, tragically, he was shot and killed by Boston Police officers who responded to the family home with EMS personnel.
“Terrence Coleman did not need to die, and his death confirms the urgent need for meaningful reform in how police departments train officers to deal with mental health issues,” said Oren Sellstrom, Litigation Director at LCCR.
Because every fatal police shooting demands legal accountability, LCCR and Fick & Marx will review the District Attorney’s investigative file concerning Mr. Coleman’s death. “No mother should have to see her child shot by the police, and we will assist Ms. Coleman in pursuing justice for her son, herself, and the community,” said Attorney Daniel Marx.
“The DA’s decision not to pursue criminal charges does not mean that the police use of deadly force was appropriate or necessary. The ultimate decision about whether the police should be held legally responsible for Terrence Coleman’s death can only be made following a truly independent assessment of all the facts — not a confidential investigation by prosecutors, but a public trial by a jury of Boston citizens,” Attorney William Fick concluded.
The failure to hold police accountable for this fatal shooting was featured on the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, WBUR, Boston.com, NBC, BNN, the Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, NECN and US News. Associated Press coverage was syndicated nationally.