I didn’t know Tommy Rose, but I see him every day.
For the last 3 years I have been assigned to Boston Police District A-1, where Tommy’s plaque hangs on the wall in the lobby, just feet from where he was fatally shot in 1993. Not far from Tommy’s plaque is one dedicated to Francis Johnson, killed on St. Patrick’s Day 1969 , shot in a bar in the old “Combat Zone” responding to a report of a fight. Many more police officers from the downtown district have given their life for the citizens of Boston but these two are the only ones since the opening of the current building.
The man who murdered Tommy Rose tried to kill a couple more cops on Friday in Rhode Island. He had already killed a civilian and Tommy and was still allowed to walk the streets, so what did he have to lose by killing a couple more?
Since Officers Rose and Johnson died, many more police officers across the state have given their lives for their communities. One of them was my first Field Training Officer, Michael Briggs. Mike was killed by Michael Addison, another graduate of the Massachusetts criminal justice system. According to court records, Addison was still a 16-year-old juvenile in 1996 when he pointed a revolver in another Dorchester, Massachusetts, high school student’s face. The gun misfired; Manuel Andrade was spared. Firearms expert Marc Dupre testified that the gun was in poor condition, but it was capable of firing a bullet. He said it might have been able to fire after several squeezes of the trigger or after moving the cylinder slightly. Addison was one of the first juveniles to be indicted under Massachusetts’ new youthful offender law, which allowed him to be prosecuted as an adult and face potential adult penalties. He was subsequently charged with assault with intent to kill, assault and battery, and possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit. On July 21, 1997, he pleaded guilty to the three charges and was committed to state Department of Youth Services custody until his 21st birthday, followed by a suspended term of adult incarceration of from two to three years.
According to court records, while out on bail awaiting trial for the 1996 offense, the day after his 17th birthday, Addison was charged with armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon when he robbed, kicked, and stabbed Tredaine Purdy with a knife in the lower back at a park in neighboring Roxbury on March 20, 1997. Addison pleaded guilty in December, 1997, to armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon—the armed assault with intent to murder charge was dismissed under the plea agreement—that resulted in Addison being sentenced 2–3 years (to run concurrent with the prior sentence) in secure juvenile facilities and state prison in Massachusetts, with three years of supervised probation to follow release from prison on his 21st birthday.
Addison was freed early, in September 2000, and met with his probation officer who was preparing paperwork to transfer his probation to New Hampshire. However, Addison skipped town without the requisite permission. In November, 2000, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was brought to court in June, 2001, and was released on bail pending a hearing on the matter. However, he failed to appear for the hearing, and a second bench warrant was issued for the probation violation in July of that year.
At the time of the Briggs shooting, Michael “Stix” Addison was a resident of Manchester, New Hampshire. Addison had previous encounters with Officer Briggs in New Hampshire. In 2002, Addison was arrested by Briggs near the Queen City Bridge in Manchester.In March 2003, Addison received first aid from Briggs after a shooting incident, assistance that ironically may have saved Addison’s life. The shooter, Thomas Williams, was arrested July 15, 2003, and pled guilty in March, 2004. In October, 2006, he reached a deal for a shortened sentence contingent upon his testifying for the prosecution in the Officer Briggs murder case.
In October 2003, Addison was again arrested in Londonderry, NH, and charged with false imprisonment, criminal restraint, prowling and criminal threatening. Addison pled guilty to false imprisonment of Brian St. Peter in the dispute over drug money, a misdemeanor; he was sentenced to six months in the Rockingham County House of Corrections. The other charges were dropped in the plea deal, but on August 6, 2004, Addison stipulated to the fact that he was in violation of his Massachusetts probation by virtue of the false imprisonment. His probation was revoked and he was sentenced to two to six months in the Suffolk County House of Correction for violating the terms of his probation.
For two years following that incarceration, Addison was apparently uninvolved in criminal activity until the crime spree in the week preceding the Officer Briggs shooting. According to court records, Addison was convicted of participating with Antoine Bell-Rogers in three separate felonies in the six days preceding the Briggs shooting.
At the time of an officer’s death it is always the same thing, the community comes together and grieves, the politicians make somber speeches, promises are made, newspapers print stories of the family.
But time passes.
The newspaper articles yellow and wrinkle. The papers move on to stories about how officers make too much money on details and overtime. The politicians who promised to put 1000 more cops on the street instead cut our educational benefits, collective bargaining rights, and attack our health care. The public forgets. Margery Eagan explains to listeners that being a fisherman is more dangerous than being a cop and that cops just shouldn’t make that much money.
Not long after, a cop is involved in a shooting. Only this time he survives. The suspect dies. The cycle repeats: the community comes together, only this time to remember someone who was “just turning his life around” and to condemn the cop. The politicians again speak with somber tones, but this time it is about how the police need to work “with” the community so “tragedies” like this don’t happen again. Newspapers write about the incident and interview the family and friends of the dead suspect. They mention that the shooting is being investigated and invariably have to mention the races of the parties involved. The questions come up again:”Why couldn’t he just shoot him in the hand?” When the cop is cleared by the District Attorney’s office the story is either relegated to a small blurb on an inside page or claims of a “coverup” keep the story running on page 1.
I was told once early in my career by a veteran cop after a tough incident: “This too shall pass.” He was right. Time goes by and the newspaper articles fade away, and the politicians are on to something else. The world forgets.
But we don’t.
It’s called institutional memory. When an organization remembers its history and customs and celebrates its own. Cops have that. That’s what makes us different. When the Massachusetts criminal justice system failed the Rose family, the cops didn’t.
A single rose lays across the top of Tommy’s plaque at A-1 and every February 19th the dispatchers ask all Boston officers to remember the sacrifice Officer Rose made on that day. His name and hundreds of others are carved into the stone at the Police Officer’s Memorial in Washington D.C.
Lets remember Tommy and Francis and Mike when we vote in November. Vote out the politicians who want to give people like Terrell Muhammed and Michael Addison a second chance at life. Make sure Massachusetts politicians don’t kill another cop like Tommy or Mike.
CRANSTON, R.I.—A man who spent 15 years in prison for killing a Boston police officer is in trouble again for allegedly fleeing a traffic stop in Rhode Island.
Cranston police say 47-year-old Terrell Muhammad was arrested over the weekend after officers staked out his home.
Police chased him through city streets on Friday after he fled a traffic stop after running a stop sign. He allegedly pointed his car at cruisers. Officers eventually broke off pursuit.
Muhammad faces charges including assault on a police officer. He was granted bail at Monday’s arraignment, but was held as a Superior Court violator.
Muhammed was released in May 2009 after serving about half his sentence on a voluntary manslaughter conviction for the 1993 shooting of a Boston officer. It could not be determined if he had a lawyer
By Travis M. Andersen, Globe Staff
The children of a Boston police officer killed by 47-year-old Terrell Muhammad say they’re sickened by his recent arrest in Rhode Island on several charges including assaulting a police officer.
“I think he’s probably going to end up killing somebody else,” Boston Police Sergeant Thomas F. Rose Jr., 34, said today in a telephone interview.
Muhammad fatally shot Rose’s father, Boston Police Sergeant Thomas F. Rose, Sr., 42, while trying to escape from the Government Center police station in 1993.
Muhammad, who was convicted in 1994 of manslaughter in the Rose killing, was released on May 2009, The Associated Press reported.
On Saturday afternoon, Cranston, R.I. police arrested Muhammad on charges that included reckless driving and assaulting a police officer, after he allegedly drove his car directly at two officers during a high-speed pursuit on Friday, Cranston police said in a statement.
Thomas Rose Jr. noted today that Muhammad, who also pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 1986 shooting of a Dorchester store clerk, now presents a danger to residents of a neighboring state.
“Now [after being arrested] down in Rhode Island, he’s a national terror,” Rose said.
Rose’s sister Allyson, 22, is set to enter the Boston police academy December. She also expressed outrage in a brief interview.
“It’s sickening actually to read,” she said.