Boston police commissioner testifies on marathon bombings

Police officers with their guns drawn hear the second explosion down the street. The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Credit: Getty Images
The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. Credit: Getty Images

Boston police commissioner Ed Davis will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday to testify before a congressional committee about the Boston Marathon bombings.

Before leaving Boston on Wednesday, Davis spoke to reporters at Logan International Airport.

“We would have liked to prevent this,” said Davis, according to the Boston Globe. “Our job is to prevent these things. When something like this happens, you have to look at every single item of information that we have, everything we did in preparation, to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

Davis added, “The FBI, the intelligence agencies – I think everybody in America is looking into what they did before this happened, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But we have to wait until the facts are on the table.”

Davis planned to tell the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee that additional undercover officers, surveillance cameras and better communication between different law enforcement agencies are needed to increase security at high-profile public events, according to a copy of his planned remarks obtained by the Associated Press.

Footage from cameras near the marathon finish line on Boylston Street helped identify the two suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The former was killed in a shootout with police three days after the bombings; Dzhokhar is being held on terrorism charges.

“Images from cameras do not lie. They do not forget,” Davis was expected to testify. “They can be viewed by a jury as evidence of what occurred. These efforts are not intended to chill or stifle free speech, but rather to protect the integrity and freedom of that speech and to protect the rights of victims and suspects alike.”

At the same time, Davis encouraged continued protection of citizens’ privacy rights and civil liberties.

“I do not endorse actions that move Boston and our nation into a police state mentality, with surveillance cameras attached to every light pole in the city,” Davis planned to say. “We do not and cannot live in a protective enclosure because of the actions of extremists who seek to disrupt our way of life.”

As for questions about how much U.S. authorities considered Tamerlan Tsarnaev to be a possible threat, Davis said more analysis is needed.

“The facts and circumstances of who knew what, at what time, are playing themselves out. We don’t have the final report on that,” Davis said Wednesday. “But to date, I am satisfied with what’s happened.

“We are going to learn a lot about this. And I believe there is going to be a lot of criticism as there is always is after an event of this magnitude. Right now, we need to get the facts on the table … and make assessments that are based upon evidence.”

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


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