Image by Tak Toyoshima
Everybody knows that in Hollywood, accuracy is the name of the game. Take, for example, the Nicolas Cage film about 9/11, whatever it was called, and how it dutifully showed federal and city officials ignoring multiple warnings that may have helped authorities prevent Osama Bin Laden from leveling the Twin Towers. In that grand tradition of Tinsel Town truth-telling, we learned last week that Mark Wahlberg, who once said he could have personally thwarted the 2001 attacks if he had only been a passenger on one of the rogue airplanes, is set to release an upcoming film about the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon.
The timing of the announcement was impeccable. In addition to capitalizing during the death penalty trial of admitted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as well as in the run-up to the second anniversary of the initial tragedy, last week the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in conjunction with other key researchers and stakeholders, released its “After Action Report for the Response to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.” The 130-page assessment has some glowing moments, and we’re sure that Wahlberg will pack lots into his movie about the bravery and heroism on display; at the same time though, we also hope he includes some of the less savory revelations therein. We can picture it now …
A tough guy copper from a department more than 50 miles outside the Massachusetts border, whose assistance no one asked for, suits up in his garage before jumping in his pickup to go join the “thousands of law enforcement officers [who] arrived in Watertown [not] in response to a mutual aid request, but [because they] self-deployed to the area once it became widely known that one of the Marathon bombing suspects was at large in the town.”
MEMA sets the scene: “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 … 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.”
SERIES OF SHOTS
Bullets fly from every angle: “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 … 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.”
“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 determined that the occupants of the vehicle were a BPD officer and MSP trooper in plain clothes, both of whom were unhurt.”
Wahlberg, playing Boston Police Department Commissioner Ed Davis, reflects on his success through the lens of the MEMA report: “There was no command or management structure formally assigned to manage incoming mutual aid personnel. Officers were not assigned roles within the operation or provided briefings on the situation or command structure. This caused logistical issues, command and control issues, and officer safety issues.”
Davis, Wahlberg, and all the officers who were involved in the response but have since gone on to stack chips off the tragedy in the private sector and in Holywood go out for a big steak dinner.
[Media Farm is wrangled by DigBoston News + Features Editor Chris Faraone]