There’s a reason they held this turkey until Friday night — it’s ugly.
The report also clarifies three things about the critical wounding of transit cop Richard “Dic” Donohue, Jr:
- Another cop did it;
- It’s a miracle he was the only cop wounded; and,
- They’re still trying to cover it up, and protect the cop who did it.
The Donohue shooting is probably the single most ate-up thing of the many wretched failures and blunders that took place during the bombing response. The uncontrolled mobbing, panicked lockdown, and contagious firing of the police response stands in stark contrast to the incredible job done on the medical side of things by a seamless combination of professional responders and citizen volunteers.
Indeed, it was a citizen who located the surviving suspect within a half hour of the time the cops gave up on their lockdown and dragnet-search, which found nothing but did delay the finding of the suspect and did impede the medical response by keeping staff away from the hospitals, and actually impeded the ambulance carrying their own guy to the hospital.
Here’s the summary:
A firefight ensued between the suspects and responding officers. As the shooting continued, additional officers arrived on scene from Watertown, BPD, MSP, Cambridge PD, and Transit PD. Over 200 rounds of ammunition were expended between the two sides.
The report talks about the shooting, but the suspects only had one gun and a few magazines. They did, however, have some homemade explosives, including “grenades” (which were mostly ineffective) and at least two more pressure-cooker bombs, which have to be taken seriously. For example, this was embedded in one of the cars on the scene:
Note that it not only tore through the door but it bent the much stronger structural-steel doorsill/rocker panel, typically one of the strongest components of a unibody. These two Up Brothers might seem like harmless buffoons, until you realize that by this point in time, they’ve shot a cop dead at point-blank range and that was after they killed three people with these bombs, and wounded 200-plus more, including 16 who suffered traumatic amputations.
The Tsarnaevs were violent criminals, terrorists, and they needed and deserved to go down hard. The police response wasn’t always helpful towards that end, and there are a lot of lessons that a cover-our-hiney approach will prevent from being learned.
In the course of the firefight, the first suspect was wounded. When he ran out of ammunition, he threw his gun and charged at a Watertown officer who subsequently wrestled him to the ground in the street. Meanwhile, the second suspect was able to enter the SUV and put the vehicle in gear. While fleeing the scene in the stolen vehicle, he struck the first suspect and dragged him a short distance with the vehicle, compounding his injuries.
Above: the scene. Below: Tamerlan, dead. He’s been rolled and searched by this point.
As the second suspect fled the scene, a responding officer from the Transit PD was shot and critically wounded. The officer was transported to Mount Auburn Hospital, where medical professionals resuscitated him and performed life-saving surgery.
Did you notice that? Let us lay out the facts for you:
- The two sides of the firefight were the Tsarnaevs (with one black-market, defaced-serial-number Ruger pistol between them)… …and in the other corner, an uncoordinated swarm of cops from at least five agencies.
- The Tsarnaev with the gun (Speedbump, aka Tamerlan) shot his gun dry and threw it at the cops, and charged the cops. But the firefight, now one-sided, continued. Because the police were arrayed in a 360º Idiot Ambush around the suspects, they all perceived incoming and returned fire. Fortunately, they can’t shoot for $#!+.
- A Watertown cop tackled Tamerlan and took him down. But the one-sided, leaderless, uncontrolled “firefight” continued.
- Then brother Dzhokar (Flashbang) got in their jacked vehicle and took off… running over Speedbump and mortally injuring him. (Yes, he was killed by his and his brother’s incompetence, not the random, unaimed contagious fire of dozens of cops).
- As Flashbang exited, stage left (in Boston, all sides of the stage are left…), the police drumfire finally connected with someone — Dic Donohue, a Transit police officer. Note the passive voice: Donohue “was shot.” No wonder they’re all gun banners here, they never get the word about the people doing the shooting.
The deeper you drill down in the report, the worse it gets. It wasn’t a planned law enforcement response: it was lawless chaos, reminiscent of the Keystone ineptitude of the LAPD Chris Dorner response.
Take the swarms of cops in Watertown:
Thousands of law enforcement officers arrived in Watertown from across Massachusetts, other New England states, and New York. Many of these law enforcement officers did not come in re- sponse to a mutual aid request, but self-deployed to the area once it became widely known that one of the Marathon bombing suspects was at large in the town. These officers staged at the parking lot of the Arsenal Mall in Watertown; although officers received basic logistical support, including food, water, and toileting, few were provided oversight, situational awareness, or guidance. While most officers did not deploy into the field from the staging area on their own, there were a significant number of occasions when officers responded based on information or calls they heard on their radios, at times placing themselves and the officers with the authority to respond at risk.
Realizing that Donohue was critically wounded and exsanguinating, cops (CWCID) started treating him even before paramedics arrived (which was almost momentary). That part of the response went well… until they tried to transport him.
Officers on the scene tended to Officer Donohue to slow the bleeding with pressure and a tourniquet.
Many had already been en route from the Officer Collier murder scene in Cambridge.
At 12:51 a.m., Officer Donohue was loaded into the Watertown Fire ambulance for transport, but egress from the area was challenging given the numerous police vehicles parked in the vicinity and blocking street access. To circumvent the congestion made by the multitude of police vehicles and allow for the two paramedics to remain in the rear of the ambulance with the patient, a Watertown PD officer drove the ambulance to Mount Auburn Hospital, the nearest medical facility. Mount Auburn Hospital was approximately two miles away from the shooting scene, but did not have a trauma center. Nevertheless, the EMTs aiding Officer Donohue believed he would not survive a longer ride to a facility with a trauma center, and directed that he be brought to Mount Auburn. Officer Donohue had to be resuscitated upon arrival at the hospital, but the medical team at Mount Auburn was able to save his life.
That was a good and nervy call by the EMTs. A hospital that might not save him, now, was a better call than bringing his bloodless dead body to a better hospital that could have saved him if it wasn’t so far away. And more police CWCID, a cop took the wheel of the bolance so both EMTs could work on the patient. That probably broke elebbenty-twelve rules, and they ought to give that guy (and the EMTs) their shiniest medal.
The shooting of Donohue was only the first case of uncommanded, indisciplined, contagious fire. They did it again when they mistook other cops for the suspects, even though neither the cops nor the vehicle (a black full-size domestic pickup; the suspect vehicle was a small silver Mercedes SUV) bore any resemblance to the suspects. (Shades of Dorner, again). In this case the cops had, not quite a mad minute, but a number of mad seconds, and fortunately ceased fire before their eyes-wide-shut marksmanship could hit anybody.
An unmarked black MSP pickup truck is incorrectly reported as a stolen vehicle. The occupants of the pickup truck are a MSP Trooper and a BPD officer, both of whom are in plainclothes. As the vehicle drives down Adams Street in Watertown, a few blocks from the scene of the shootout, an officer on scene fired at the vehicle and its occupants. No one is injured.
But the random assemblage of random, ill-assorted, leaderless and unaccountable cops weren’t done. They collapsed into firearms incontinence again again, when they had the unarmed, wounded Flashbang (Dzhokar, nicknamed because he’d burned himself badly with one of his own IEDs) cornered in a boat.
Officers immediately responded to the home. The first officers on scene requested support from tactical teams and EOD units. A large number of law enforcement officers self-deployed to the scene after overhearing radio traffic about the location of the suspect. Within moments, more than 100 officers had gathered in front of and behind the home.
Note that the cops had eyes in the sky, and the eye in the sky had a thermal image of the wounded Flashbang:
Several moments later, a responding officer fired his weapon without appropriate authority in response to perceived movement in the boat. Other officers then opened fire on the boat under the assumption the initial shot was fired at them by the suspect. Shooting continued for several seconds until a senior officer ordered a ceasefire.
After the MSP Airwing’s infrared camera confirmed that the suspect was alive, law enforcement officials made several attempts to coerce the suspect from the boat.
In both of the last two incidents the report seems to minimize the firing. Audio of the incidents doesn’t sound like one guy or a few guys firing.
One of the findings of the report is, not surprisingly, an absence of weapons discipline:
Weapons discipline was lacking by the multitude of law enforcement officers in the field during both the firefight with the two suspects near Dexter and Laurel Streets, and the standoff with the second suspect who was hiding in a winterized boat in a residential back yard. 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 aimed their weapons. Officers lining both sides of the street also fired upon the second suspect as he fled the scene in a vehicle.
Note what the report said. Cops from both sides of the street shot at the vehicle as Flashbang ka-thump-a-thumped Speedbump and fled. That’s when poor Donohue got shot. But look at this false diagram which was submitted as evidence in the Flashbang trial — it suggests that cops were shooting at Tamerlan when they hit Donohue. Nonsense, they were just firing blindly in the vague direction of a car, and Tamerlan was already down for the long count. This diagram is a complete fraud, yet it was submitted as evidence and widely publicized — that’s how far they’re going to CYA whoever plugged Donohue. A politician’s nephew?
Shortly after the firefight, an unmarked MSP black pickup truck was erroneously reported as stolen. This vehicle, with two occupants in it, was then spotted driving on Adams Street, near the scene of the shootout, and fired upon by an officer. Upon further inspection, it was deter- mined that the occupants of the vehicle were a BPD officer and MSP trooper in plain clothes, both of whom were unhurt.
Weapons discipline was again an issue during the operation to capture the second suspect who was hiding in a boat parked in a residential backyard. An officer fired his weapon without appropriate authority in response to perceived movement in the boat, in turn causing many officers to fire at the boat in the belief that they were being shot at by the suspect. Each of these incidents created dangerous crossfire situations.
Massachusetts police training on firearms is so poor to be nonexistent, or even counterproductive. (Remember Framingham PD, which blew a non-suspect’s head off because they teach keep your finger on the trigger and your M4 off safe?) Mostly, they teach rookies to hate and fear firearms, so it’s not surprising that most of them fail to master them.
Fortunately, their combat marksmanship was even worse than their fire discipline, preventing from doing more than hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage (which has gone unreimbursed: patch your own bullet holes, peasants) and crippling just one unlucky cop.
The biggest failing is that there are no lessons taken on board from this. Despite the occasional words of self-criticism, the report makes no attempt to identify the irresponsible cop who plugged Donohue, probably because the investigators didn’t really want to know. Overall, the report is saturated in smug self-satisfaction:
Overall, the response to the Boston Marathon bombings must be considered a great success.
You keep using that word….