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Boston-Area Students Protest Police Killing of Sayed Faisal at City Hall and CPD Headquarters

A group of students and activists protesting the police killing of Sayed Faisal marched down Massachusetts Ave. toward Cambridge Police Headquarters.
A group of students and activists protesting the police killing of Sayed Faisal marched down Massachusetts Ave. toward Cambridge Police Headquarters. By Ryan H. Doan-Nguyen
By Ryan H. Doan-Nguyen and Yusuf S. Mian, Crimson Staff Writers

A coalition of Cambridge students and activists held a rally on the steps of Cambridge City Hall Monday in the tenth Boston-area protest against the police killing of Sayed Faisal in just over a month.

The protest culminated in a nearly 1.5-mile march to Cambridge Police Headquarters.

Faisal, a 20-year-old Cambridge resident and University of Massachusetts Boston student, was shot and killed by a Cambridge Police Department officer after he allegedly approached officers while wielding a knife following a five-block foot chase through Cambridgeport.

The killing of Faisal by CPD has raised allegations of racism and police brutality, sparking protests throughout the city and internationally, including at least five at City Hall.

Activists from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who organized the protest, reiterated demands for the officers involved in the shooting to be named, fired, and prosecuted.

CPD spokesperson Jeremy C. Warnick declined to comment.

The names of the officers will be released following the conclusion of the Middlesex District Attorney’s investigation into the shooting.

After protesters read the demands at Cambridge City Hall, more than 100 took control of Massachusetts Ave., Vassar Street, and Broadway en route to police headquarters. As volunteers in neon orange vests on bicycles redirected traffic, four CPD motorcycles and two cars accompanied the crowd.

Chants of “Justice for Faisal! Justice for Tyre! Justice for everyone killed by the police!” and “No good cop in a racist system!” filled the night air, with passing cars honking in support.

Throughout the rallies at City Hall and police headquarters, protesters circulated a petition by MIT students in support of the protesters’ demands.

“We call on students from universities all around the Boston area to join us in this fight,” the petition reads. “We must show the Cambridge City Council that thousands of students are united in the fight to win justice for Faisal and all victims of police brutality!”

Students from MIT, UMass Boston, Harvard, and other Boston-area schools attended the rally.

Jeffrey J. Shen, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation and a student at MIT, said he hopes student organizing will lead to a change in city policies.

“When we organize in our classrooms, on our campuses, in our student groups, there is nothing Cambridge can do to stop us,” he said.

In an interview, Rafeya V. Raquib, a student at Boston University and organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said the party plans to continue organizing among Boston students.

“We really wanted to get students out here, get them organized, get them energized to really fight for something that affects them,” Raquib said.

Jack Pierce, a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston — which Faisal attended — said the school has “a history of fighting back against the racist police,” referencing students’ participation in the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests against the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

Shen told The Crimson that Faisal’s killing resonated with students partly because the shooting occurred near MIT’s campus.

“This matters a lot to us as students because Faisal was killed just a few blocks from MIT. It could have literally been any MIT student,” he said.

“Our communities don’t feel safe with the police killing with impunity,” Raquib said at the rally.

—Staff writer Ryan H. Doan-Nguyen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ryandoannguyen.

—Staff writer Yusuf S. Mian can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @yusuf_mian2.

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