WASHINGTON, DC — On Monday afternoon, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona abruptly reversed course and announced that a Tuesday hearing on a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix over the police killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. would no longer be open to the public. Muhaymin was an unarmed, disabled, Black, Muslim killed by Phoenix police in 2017. Body camera footage shows officers mocking Muhaymin’s faith during his final moments. Tuesday’s hearing will decide whether a $10 million lawsuit filed by the Muhaymin family against the city of Phoenix and the officers involved will be advanced or dismissed. The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Public Advocacy Director Scott Simpson:
“The abrupt, last-minute decision to seal this previously public hearing without explanation is outrageous. The law clearly states that a court must justify why a hearing like this should be hidden from the public. This court made no such effort to comply with that mandate. The people of Phoenix and the public have a clear interest in the facts of this case and it’s deeply troubling that the court wants these proceedings to happen behind closed doors.
For more than four years now, no officer involved in the cruel and needless killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. has been held accountable in any way. Everywhere the Muhaymin family has gone for justice, they have been denied: by the City of Phoenix, by the Maricopa County Attorney and the Phoenix Police Department. This lawsuit is the family’s first, best chance at seeing any accountability. Following the blockbuster guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin, this hearing is also the next, best chance for the public to see whether police can be held accountable for this violence. The city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department must not be allowed to bury this lawsuit.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.