US police mocked African-American’s Muslim faith before killing him

New footage shows US police mocking African-American man’s Muslim faith before killing him
3 min read
21 August, 2020
Footage recently released by a US civil rights group shows police killing an African-American Muslim man with a knee on the neck while telling him, “Allah can’t help you now”
Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was killed by police officers in 2017 [Getty]

Horrifying footage has been released showing police officers in the US state of Arizona mocking an African-American Muslim man’s faith shortly before killing him in an incident very similar to the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Milwaukee.

Muslim Advocates, an American civil rights organization, uploaded the footage, taken by the bodycam of one of the officers involved, to YouTube on Thursday. It shows 43-year-old Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin Jr., being restrained by police officers and calling out to Allah as a police officer places a knee on his neck.

Like George Floyd nearly three years afterwards, Muhaymin also tells the police officers that he can’t breathe.

One police officer tells him, “Allah? He’s not going to help you now. Relax, dude. Stop moving. Stop resisting. You understand?”

Read also: An essential reading list on Black Muslim history

A few minutes later Muhaymin vomited and his body went limp. A police officer can be heard saying “he’s dead” before the footage ends.

Full footage of the incident has never been released before. Muhaymin is also heard saying “Why are you doing this?” as the officers scream obscene insults at him.

The incident began after Muhaymin, who was homeless and suffering from schizophrenia, tried to enter the bathroom of a community centre in Phoenix, Arizona’s capital and largest city.

He was accompanied by his chihuahua dog, which had been provided to him for emotional support. There was a dispute over whether he could take the dog into the bathroom and police were called.

Muhaymin’s sister, Mussalina Muhaymin, said in a statement, “Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was a man — a man with a family who loved him. He was attacked and suffocated by Phoenix police in a wanton, malicious and depraved manner for nearly eight minutes as he cried ‘I can’t breathe’ until his death.”

The Muhaymin family has filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.

None of the officers involved in Muhaymin’s killing were charged or disciplined, and in fact one of them was promoted after the incident.

“The lack of any criminal action is a constant reminder to our family that black and brown people’s lives and rights are not valued by the politicians and public servants of Maricopa County and the city of Phoenix,” Mussalina Muhaymin said.

Following an internal investigation, the Phoenix Police Department said that the officers involved “did not commit any act that warrants criminal prosecution,” also claiming that Muhaymin had kicked and punched at the officers involved, even though the footage of the incident does not show this.

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