The murder of a Muslim man with mental health issues at the hands of a police officer, after he reportedly threw rocks at the police car, has sent waves of anger and frustration among Muslim and Black communities.
“He was throwing rocks,” said attorney Quacy Smith, Fox News reported. “We don’t shoot people down in the streets that are throwing rocks. It’s unacceptable, and we need answers.”
“Rocks. Rocks. Not boulders. Not bricks. Rocks,” Smith said. “These are rocks no bigger than my 4-year-old son throws over the backyard to the neighbor’s house.”
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Ali Osman was killed around 6:45 p.m. Saturday in Phoenix. According to police release, two patrol units were driving through the intersection of 19th Avenue and Tuckey Lane “when their cars were struck by unknown items causing damage.”
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One of the patrol units went to investigate and saw a man “throwing rocks towards his patrol car,” according to the release.
Police said the man was told to stop, but he refused.
“That’s when the officer involved shooting occurred striking the man,” police said.
According to family members, Osman had no criminal history, and suffered from bipolar disorder, for which he was being treated.
“We need justice for Ali,” said Osman’s sister, Halima Osman. “What the officer tell me and what I see on the news is not much. When the officer call me, he tell me Ali was shot in the chest.”
The Somali Student Association at Arizona State University released a statement saying it was beyond devastated to hear of Osman’s death.
“We condemn any violence towards Black and Brown communities by Phoenix Police Department,” the statement was quoted by Middle East Eye.
“May Allah grant Ali the highest rank of paradise and may He ease the pain in the hearts of his family and loved ones, and bring swift justice for our community.”
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Black and Muslim communities in Phoenix are also angry and heartbroken.
“Obviously [the officer was not] in a state of danger. It’s reminiscent of the stories that you hear of Palestinian children being gunned down by these hyper-militarized Israeli soldiers and treated as if they’re the embodiment of an existential threat. And we have that in our own backyard,” Jacob Raiford, a political activist from Phoenix, told Middle East Eye.
On the other hand, the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) called for a “independent and transparent” investigation of the shooting.
“Because of the circumstances of this disturbing incident, we call on city officials to conduct an independent and transparent investigation in order to determine whether the actions of the officers were within policy guidelines and the boundaries of the law,” said CAIR Arizona Executive Director Azza Abuseif in a statement.
Osman became the latest Black American victim of police brutality in the US.
In 2020, a Wisconsin police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back in front of his kids.
The video showing the horrible incident spread across social media, sparking protests and leading county officials to institute a curfew.
Also, the killing of George Floyd sparked high profile demonstrations against racism across the United States and the world.