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American Muslims demand answers over police killing of 'mentally ill' Sudanese-American man

Yassin Mohamed, 47, reportedly displayed signs of mental illness [Getty/ Archive]

Date of publication: 26 May, 2020

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A Muslim rights group is demanding answers over the shooting of a Sudanese-American man who displayed signs of mental illness.

American Muslims are demanding answers after the killing of a Sudanese-American man in the southeastern US state of Georgia, earlier this month.

Forty-seven-year-old Yassin Mohamed was shot and killed on 9 May by a sheriff's deputy, after allegedly throwing rocks at law enforcement officers.

The incident was one of several encounters Mohamed had with law enforcement officers in the 24 hours leading to his death, causing many to question whether he was suffering from a mental illness.

"We're unclear as to the mental state of Mr Mohamed, and until the culmination of the investigation we won't know for sure," Murtaza Khwaja, the legal and policy director for the Council on American Islamic Relations in Georgia, was quoted by Al Jazeera as saying.

"What we do know is that law enforcement is treating this a mental health crisis," Khwaja added. 

In one incident, Mohamed was restrained by police officers and medical workers and taken to a hospital. Mohamed reportedly refused treatment.

A report filed by one police officer regarng his interaction with Mohamed noted that he was experiencing a "mental episode", according to All On Georgia.

In another run in with law enforcement, Mohamed attacked a police officer with a plastic pipe. 

"I'd like to stress that Mr Mohamed was subdued by law enforcement without the use of lethal force," Khwaja said, referring to the attack with the pipe.

The fact that deadly force was not used in this earlier instance "illustrates the very point that far too often goes ignored, police officers choose to resort to lethal force when there are many other alternatives at their disposal", he added.

It was during Mohamed's seventh incident with police officers that he was shot and killed.

Read also: Leading Muslim civil rights group calls for justice over 'modern-day lynching' of unarmed black jogger

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) says an investigation into Mohamed's shooting will be handed to the district attorney

According to the GBI, the investigation will be handed over to the district attorney for review once completed, before the prosecutor decides if charges should be filed.

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