Phoenix, AZ – Activists renewed calls for charges against the officers involved in the death of 43-year-old Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin Jr. as he was being arrested by the Phoenix police in 2017 after additional bodycam was released on Thursday (video below).
A group called Muslim Advocates released a longer version of the police bodycam video of Muhaymin’s arrest on Aug. 20 that showed the suspect calling out for Allah as he violently resisted arrest, The New York Times reported.
The group claimed the version of the video that was released by police earlier had omitted the section where Muhaymin suddenly got religious.
But the Muslim Advocates’ version of the video doesn’t show the moments that led up to the suspects’ arrest that were included in the first version.
The incident occurred on Jan. 4, 2017 when police responded to the Maryvale Community Center on 51st Avenue about a homeless man who was refusing to follow the rules, the Arizona Republic reported.
A lawsuit against the city filed by Muhaymin’s sister said a city employee refused to allow her brother to enter the public restrooms in the building because he was carrying his service dog with him.
The dog did not have a leash and Muhaymin was not able to produce the paperwork to prove the dog was a service animal, police bodycam video showed.
Bodycam video showed that the staff member told police it wasn’t the first time that Muhaymin had brought the unleashed dog into the community center and that in the past, he had let the dog run around inside the building.
Then he tried to talk to Muhaymin calmly about how they could resolve the matter without employees having to call the police on the homeless man on a regular basis.
“This is the thing, I want him to understand that he can’t come in here with the dog that way. He can’t,” the city employee said in the video.
“He needs to be on a leash even if it’s a service dog,” the officer explained to Muhaymin.
The lawsuit claimed Muhaymin was suffering from PTSD, claustrophobia, and schizophrenia, the Arizona Republic reported.
Muhaymin was eventually allowed to go inside and use the bathroom, but while he was in there, police did a warrant check on him and discovered that he was wanted, The New York Times reported.
When he came out of the bathroom, police asked him to stop and put his hands behind his back because he had a warrant and the suspect began to resist immediately, the video showed.
“You gotta put the dog down,” police told him.
The homeless man told officers who had no one to take care of his dog if he was arrested.
Police eventually took a resisting Muhaymin into custody by force while he howled like an animal, the video showed.
Officers marched him out to a police vehicle to transport him to be booked into jail, but when they got to the police car, Muhaymin turned violent again.
“Why are you doing this?” he asked the officers repeatedly when they went to search him.
He resisted and struggled and howled like an animal the entire time, the video showed.
Additional officers who had arrived on the scene helped take Muhaymin to the ground and, eventually, hobbled him.
The suspect continued to violently resist arrest and the video showed officers Tased him multiple times before he was restrained, with one of them commenting at one point that he was “out of juice” when his battery died.
The later video released by Muslim Advocates showed that at one point Muhaymin called for “Allah” while he was fighting the officers.
The organization has accused officers of mocking the suspect with their response, but Phoenix police defended the officer and said he was trying to defuse the situation, The New York Times reported.
“In fact, the officers did not mock or target Mr. Muhaymin based on his religion, race, or any other factor,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Mercedes Fortune told the newspaper in an email. “When Mr. Muhaymin is heard to say ‘Please Allah,’ the officer responded, ‘Allah? We’re trying to help you right now dude so relax.’”
David Chami, one of the attorneys for the Muhaymin family, said they believe the Phoenix police intentionally omitted the religious reference from the bodycam video that was released, The New York Times reported.
As he fought with officers, Muhaymin told them multiple times “I can’t breathe,” the video showed.
Then the video showed the suspect throw up, so police called for an ambulance.
“They get him in handcuffs and he was thrashing about, and they realize he was going into medical distress,” Phoenix Police Spokesman Sergeant Jonathan Howard told reporters at the time, according to the Arizona Republic.
A moment later Muhaymin stopped moving and officers grew concerned, the video showed.
“I don’t think he’s breathing,” one officer said, bending over to check the hobbled suspect who remained face down on the sidewalk.
“I don’t feel a pulse,” another officer said in the video.
“Oh, he is dead,” an officer said just before the video ended.
Muhaymin was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Arizona Republic reported.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office investigated the incident and cleared Phoenix Police Officers Ronaldo Canilao, Oswald Grenier, David Head and Jason Hobel of any criminal wrongdoing.
The panel of county prosecutors who reviewed the case released a letter on Feb. 22, 2018 that said “the officers did not commit any act that warrants criminal prosecution,” the Arizona Republic reported.
The lawsuit by Muhaymin’s sister also named six additional officers who were on the scene for her brother’s arrest.
The family’s attorney said he thought the additional clip with the “Allah” reference should be enough to have the investigation into Muhaymin’s death re-opened, The New York Times reported.
“We think this type of information will help maybe get somebody to take a second look whether these officers should still be patrolling this neighborhood,” Chami said. “There’s no doubt that the city manipulated the narrative.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content and Obscene Language: