Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis stood by the decision to shut down the city Friday as a manhunt ensued for one of the Boston bombing suspects.
“It was based solely on public safety. There were no pressures on any other issue. We were trying to limit the number of people killed or injured,” Davis said on Monday’s Morning Joe. “We had an active bomber running around the city, so we closed the city down.”
The lockdown, which mandated that more than a million people to stayed their homes for roughly 12 hours on Friday, was lifted shortly before the second suspect was apprehended. A Watertown resident, who left his home once the lockdown was lifted, spotted a bleeding person in his boat and alerted police, leading to the capture of 19-year-old suspect Dhokhar Tsarnaev.
“It was the right decision,” Davis said.
Some have criticized the lockdown, an unprecedented public safety ruling. Former New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman told Politico he finds it “hard to imagine what could justify directing the entire population of the city to ‘shelter in place.’”
Maryland’s Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, supported law enforcement’s move in an interview with Politico, but lamented the massive disruption.
“When you have lives at stake, it’s up to law enforcement,” Ruppersberger said. “But it’s an accomplishment when someone shuts down an entire community and people can’t go outside and are told to stay away. We have to stand up as Americans to this… We’ve got to continue to go to baseball games, continue to go to events. We can’t allow these people to shut us down.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick defended the authorities’ decision in a Friday press conference that ended the lockdown.
“There was a firefight out here last night: some 200 rounds and explosives,” Patrick said. “So we were very justified, based on what we knew about the investigation in taking what we knew was a big step.”