“Overall, the response to the Boston Marathon bombings must be considered a great success,” the official after-action report opines. Yes, well, as we reported back in the day, no. The decision to put the whole city in lockdown, turning Beantown into a ghost town filled with militarized police was beyond ludicrous. It was frightening. The new report gives us a closer look at the cluster-you-know-what that was the police’s ballistic response to the bombers. The AP summarize the findings in that regard, citing a “lack of gun discipline” . . .
A transit police officer, Richard Donohue, was critically wounded in the initial confrontation with Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev on a Watertown street April 19, 2013. The report doesn’t say whether Donohue was shot by fellow officers. [ED: on that I’d bet the farm.]
The report also reveals that shortly after the shootout, which led to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s death, an officer near the scene fired on an unmarked state police vehicle after it was mistakenly reported as stolen. A state trooper and a Boston police officer in the vehicle weren’t injured.
Later in the day, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was discovered wounded and hiding in a boat, a police officer “fired his weapon without appropriate authority,” causing many other officers to believe the bomber was firing at them and leading them to open fire on the boat, according to the report . . .
“Although initial responding officers practiced appropriate weapons discipline while they were engaged in the firefight with the suspects, additional officers arriving on scene near the conclusion of the firefight fired weapons toward the vicinity of the suspects, without necessarily having identified and lined up their target,” or appropriately aiming their guns, the report said.
“Officers lining both sides of the street also fired upon the second suspect as he fled the scene in a vehicle,” the report went on to state. A timeline of events listed in the report noted that the transit officer was shot as the surviving suspect fled.
The report doesn’t name any of the officers from several agencies and jurisdictions that were involved in the Watertown incidents.
Transparency? Accountability? Nope. No one’s being held responsible for the post-bombing chaos. Which doesn’t bode well for future attacks.
Clearly, Boston, Bay State cops and the feds need a root-and-branch overhaul of their emergency response command structure. A whole bunch of firearms training wouldn’t go amiss either (unlike the bullets fired by sleep-deprived, gung-ho cops). The report’s authors agree.
usatoday.com sums-up their recommendations:
• Better discipline from officers on when to fire their weapons. The report found no weapons discipline from the slew of officers responding to the various crime scenes during the four-day manhunt. During the shootout with both suspects, the report found, the officers who responded initially reacted appropriately, but additional officers who arrived later fired toward the vicinity of the suspects without properly aiming their weapons . . .
• Better coordination among law enforcement agencies. The report found that more than 2,500 officers converged on Watertown, a Boston suburb, in the days after the bombing looking for the suspects. The report described a free-for-all of officers, who self-deployed to the towns where the suspects were spotted, including the suburb of Watertown, where shootout with the two suspects occurred and later Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found. The report found there was no command or management structure to manage what the officers were doing.
“This caused logistical issues, command and control issues, and officer safety issues,” the report said.
• The creation of a Joint Information Center to coordinate all the agencies working together and better communicate to the media and the public. The report found the release of public information was less coordinated in the days following the bombing, which led to conflicting information being released from different agencies.
The truth about the police response to the Marathon bombers was more-or-less chronicled in Harvard White Paper: Why Was Boston Strong? Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombing. Reading both reports one can easily conclude that Boston police and emergency responders couldn’t get out of their own way. Literally.
[h/t SS, Ralph]