Families Of Past Police Shooting Victims Seek Justice Department Action


In 2012, New York City student and taxi driver Mohamed Bah, 28, was depressed, but he refused to go to the hospital. His mother, Hawa, called 911. Instead of paramedics, police in tactical gear swarmed his apartment building, reports the Washington Post. Once inside, they opened fire. When Mohamed was finally loaded into an ambulance, he was dying from eight gunshot wounds, including one to the head. The three officers involved were quickly cleared by a grand jury. Hawa Bah is urging authorities to reopen the investigation, joining a flood of families who view this year's debate over police use of deadly force as an opportunity to demand justice for past shootings.

Buoyed by the Black Lives Matter movement, discouraged families that had put down their protest signs are picking them up again, while others are clamoring for vindication from the Justice Department, say civil rights lawyers and police reform advocates. “We now know that when authorities want to be transparent and efficient with information, they can,” said Daryl Parks, a civil rights lawyer who represents relatives of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Corey Jones, who was killed by police in Palm Beach Gardens, Fl. “Most of the families now feel a little bit better, in that justice seems to be a little bit better had.” A DOJ official could not confirm the trend, saying the agency lacks “the capacity to statistically analyze” complaints about civil rights violations. Parks and others noted that there's a high bar for persuading the Justice Department to pursue civil rights charges. Bah is hopeful because new information has raised serious questions about the police account of her son's shooting.

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