Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational and Fund, Inc. (LDF) sent a letter to Mayor Kate Gallego of Phoenix, Arizona, and Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel calling for the investigations into the killing of Muhammad Muhaymin, Jr. to be reopened. The letter comes after community members and advocates across the country have demanded that investigations stemming from Mr. Muhaymin’s killing be reopened and for timely and appropriate discipline or criminal charges be made against the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) officers involved.
On January 4, 2017, PPD officers were called because Mr. Muhaymin needed to use the restroom and sought to enter a public restroom in a community center with his emotional support dog. The manager of the community center physically blocked Mr. Muhaymin from entering the restroom and ordered him to leave his support dog outside. When Mr. Muhaymin refused, the manager directed an employee to call 911. Multiple PPD officers arrived shortly thereafter.
Despite being aware of Mr. Muhaymin’s mental health disability, newly released video footage has revealed that PPD officers failed to deescalate their encounter with Mr. Muhaymin.Instead, after being handcuffed, frisked, and placed on the ground, multiple PPD officers pressed Mr. Muhaymin’s face and body into the concrete — with one officer’s knee on his back and other officers pressing their weight onto his head, neck, and legs. Painfully similar to George Floyd’s death, this lasted for eight excruciating minutes, all while Mr. Muhaymin cried out in pain, gasped for air, and repeatedly told officers “I can’t breathe.” Mr. Muhaymin vomited, lost consciousness, and died.
Mr. Muhaymin’s death represents yet another needless death of a Black person, at the hands of police.
Read the letter here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.