UPDATE: Muslim Advocates Asks Court to Unseal Records on Phoenix Police Lawsuit

Washington, DC — Today, Muslim Advocates filed a motion asking a judge to unseal court records for a $10 million lawsuit against the City of Phoenix over the police killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr.—a Black, disabled Muslim who was arrested, mocked and killed after trying to bring his service dog into a public restroom. In May, a federal judge sealed a public hearing on the lawsuit the day before it was set to take place, preventing the public and the press from attending. On Friday, that judge, who is also the wife of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, recused herself from the case. Muslim Advocates’ motion asks the new judge to unseal the court records in the case and make them available to the public.

“Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was a man—a man with a family who loved him. He was attacked and suffocated by Phoenix police in a wanton, malicious and depraved manner for nearly eight minutes as he cried ‘I can’t breathe’ until his death,” said Mussalina Muhaymin, sister of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. “The city and county have taken no action to hold the responsible officers accountable for the brutal murder. The lack of any criminal action is a constant reminder to our family that Black and brown people’s lives and rights are not valued by the politicians and public servants of Maricopa County and the city of Phoenix. Every action we have to take to demand justice reminds us of these inequities and re-opens our wounds.

“By sealing these important records, the Muhaymin family was hurt in their quest for justice and the press and public were robbed of an important conversation about systemic, anti-Black violence in the Phoenix Police Department,” said Muslim Advocates Staff Attorney Sanaa Ansari. “More than four years after Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was killed, no officer has been held accountable and the City of Phoenix continues to do nothing. Like the family of George Floyd, the Muhaymin family deserves the opportunity to tell the world about the insurmountable loss of their loved one and the chance to shine a light on the injustices that led to his death.”

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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.