Washington: A camera footage capturing the final moments of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr., a Black Muslim man killed by Phoenix police in 2017, re-surfaced amid global outrage over racism. The graphic video shows 43-year-old Muhaymin pinned down by several Phoenix police officers, with at least one officer placing his knee on Muhaymin’s back and neck. The officers are seen mocking his faith.
Muhaymin’s death, which is similar to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, took place in January 2017, but the video has now re-surfaced in the wake of anti-racism protests around the globe. Advocates and Muhaymin’s family said that three years after his murder, they are still waiting for justice, reported the Huff Post.
To date, none of the officers involved in Muhaymin’s death ― identified as Oswald Grenier, Jason Hobel, Ronaldo Canilao, David Head, Susan Heimbigner, Kevin McGowan, James Clark, Dennis Leroux, Ryan Nielsen and supervisor Steven Wong ― have been arrested or charged whereas all them are still employed by the Phoenix Police Department.
Throughout the disturbing video, Muhaymin can be heard crying out in pain as several officers pin him down and hand cuff him. Muhaymin is heard saying “I can’t breathe” multiple times.
“Please, Allah,” Muhaymin says as the police officers cuff him. “Allah? He’s not going to help you right now,” one of the officers responds as he holds Muhaymin down. “Just relax.”
“Please help me,” Muhaymin says several times again.
In previous videos, Muhaymin can be seen vomiting before his body goes limp.
“I don’t feel a pulse,” an officer can be heard saying off-camera.
“Oh, he’s dead,” said another before he turns his camera off.
The medical examiner’s office later ruled Muhaymin’s death a homicide by cardiac arrest, aggravated by coronary artery disease, psychiatric disease, acute methamphetamine intoxication, and physical exertion during law enforcement subdual. On the contrary, the family’s expert witness, a forensic pathologist, said that asphyxiation due to compression of his trunk and body was the cause of death.
After publication of this story, the Phoenix Police Department responded to HuffPost’s request for comment, offering its interpretation of the officer’s “Allah” statement. The department claimed that officers did not mock or target Mr. Muhaymin based on his religion, race, or any other factor. The spokesperson claimed the officer’s words were, “Allah? We’re trying to help you right now dude so relax.”
In the videos, officers are also heard abusing Muhaymin with words “motherfucker” and a “dumbass.”
“The murder was violent and brutal and disturbing and the circumstances surrounding how police killed Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. are abhorrent,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director at Muslim Advocates. “They profiled him because of his race, they disregarded his disability, they mocked his Muslim faith and they treated him as subhuman because of his income, and it’s just inexcusable.”