A Closer Look At The Search For Suspect 207:59
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Investigators work near the location, on Saturday, April 20, 2013, in Watertown, Mass., where the previous night a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested. (Katie Zezima/AP)
Investigators work near the location, on Saturday, April 20, 2013, in Watertown, Mass., where the previous night a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings was arrested. (Katie Zezima/AP)

Last Friday, there was a major show of force as police hunted down Suspect No. 2 — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, had been killed earlier in the day, but Dzhokhar had escaped.

Police shut down the city and told people to "shelter in place." Hours later, the lockdown would be lifted, even though Dzhokhar was still missing.

"We don't have house-to-house searches in the United States."

Thomas Nolan, former Boston police lieutenant

A resident checking on his shrink-wrapped boat in the backyard discovered Dzhokhar and called 9-1-1.

Shortly after, neighbors heard gunfire.

But now we're learning that Dzhokhar did not have explosives or weapons, as police had feared.

Thomas Nolan, who served for 27 years in the Boston police department, says he commends first responders for their overall handling of the bombing and investigation, but he condemns the armed house-to-house searches that took place in Watertown.

"We don't have house-to-house searches in the United States," Nolan told Here & Now's Robin Young. "I don't know that consent across-the-board was freely given. And consent that's obtained looking down the barrel of a machine gun is never freely given."

This Friday, April 19, 2013 image made available by the Massachusetts State Police shows 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, hiding inside a boat during a search for him in Watertown, Mass. (Massachusetts State Police/AP)
This Friday, April 19, 2013 image made available by the Massachusetts State Police shows 19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, hiding inside a boat during a search for him in Watertown, Mass. (Massachusetts State Police/AP)

The public should ask for answers about who authorized the searches of homes, and on what legal basis, Nolan said.

"I think that's a fair question to ask, so that the public can have answers to the question as to what was the basis, under the law, that this search - home after home, block after block - was conducted," he said.

Nolan also expressed concern over the gunfight heard at the boat before Dzhokhar was captured, now that it's known the young man wasn't armed.

"No matter how horrible the crimes were that he engaged in and he perpetrated, I'm going to suggest that that does not justify simply opening fire on someone who you're not sure if he's armed or not, and he hasn't engaged you," Nolan said.

Guest:

  • Thomas Nolan, criminal justice consultant. He's also a former Boston police lieutenant and 27-year veteran of the Boston police department.

This segment aired on April 25, 2013.

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