District Attorney Marian Ryan began an investigation into the killing of Doug Sparks, who was shot to death by Tewksbury police officers on February 17. Ryan also held a press conference to announce the future result that her investigation will find. Sparks is not a sympathetic figure: he had a knife and a BB gun, and had stabbed two people (non-fatally, but still…) shortly before the Tewksbury police found and killed him.
According to eyewitness Suzanne Greenan, Sparks may have been shot while surrendering to police.
Greenan said that Sparks had at least one arm raised in the air, and that Sparks’ other arm could have been raised as well but was not visible from her vantage point. While this opens the possibility that Sparks was surrendering, it also means that Sparks may well have pointed the BB gun at the officers, virtually forcing them to open fire.
This exact circumstance is why badge cameras are so valuable to everyone, including police officers. A badge camera would remove any doubt as to what actions led up to the shooting, and would protect the officers involved, assuming they were justified in their use of force.
Ryan is charged with investigating this homicide and the main task should be to determine if the police were justified when they shot Sparks or not. That should chiefly hang on whether Sparks was a reasonable threat to the officers. If Sparks had his arms raised in surrender, then this might not be a justified shooting.
Two detectives are on administrative duty until Ryan’s investigation is complete, but they can rest easy knowing there won't be any real investigation despite the witness who called their version of the shooting into doubt.
Ryan held a joint press conference with the Chief of the Tewksbury police -- the department she is supposedly investigating. Ryan told reporters the reason officers shot Sparks was, “[Sparks] refused to follow the orders given to him by the detectives who had responded.” This statement would mean the shooting is justified.
Ryan’s determination that the shooting is justified was made without evidence and before any real investigation could have taken place. Once again Ryan is demonstrating an insurmountable bias towards police officers.
Ryan is the same DA who failed to even spell the names of the Lowell police officers involved in Alyssa Brame’s death in police custody correctly.