A Massachusetts man slain by law enforcement officers on Tuesday had discussed plans to behead police officers with an associate arrested the same day, according to papers filed in Boston federal court on Wednesday.
Usaamah Abdullah Rahim, 26, who was shot to death by police officers after allegedly confronting them with a large knife, had told David Wright “I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue,” an FBI agent involved in the investigation said in an affidavit.
Rahim had ordered several large knives from online retailers and had joked in wire-tapped phone conversations with Wright about “thinking with your head on your chest,” which Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Joseph Galietta described as “a reference of some foreign terrorist organizations to behead targets and place their heads on their chests in propaganda videos.”
Wright, who was arrested late Tuesday in the Boston suburb of Everett, advised Rahim to destroy his computer and smartphone to ensure there was no record of the plot, the affidavit said.
Wright is due in court on Wednesday to face a criminal charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Rahim had been under 24-hour surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, officials said.
Rahim had initially planned to travel out of state for his attack but early on Tuesday told Wright that he had changed his mind and would attack police officers in Massachusetts, according to the affidavit.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, local FBI officials and prosecutors met on Wednesday with leaders of the neighborhood where the shooting occurred to show them video of the incident.
“The individual was not shot in the back and the information that was reported by others that this was the case is inaccurate,” said Darnell Williams, chief executive of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, after the meeting.
The video, which Evans said showed the officers backing up before opening fire, was not released publicly.
The apparently foiled attack came six months after two New York City police officers were shot dead in their patrol car in an attack intended as retribution for police killings of unarmed black men.