Judge Grants Muslim Advocates Request to Unseal Phoenix Police Lawsuit Records

“The public has a right to access judicial records,” Judge Says

Washington, DC — On Tuesday, a federal judge granted a motion filed by Muslim Advocates to unseal court records for a $10 million lawsuit against the City of Phoenix, AZ over the police killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr.—a Black, disabled Muslim who was arrested, mocked and killed by Phoenix police officers after trying to bring his service dog into a public restroom. 

In May, a federal judge abruptly sealed a public hearing on the lawsuit the day before it was set to take place, preventing the public and the press from attending. Muslim Advocates’ motion asked the judge to unseal the court records in the case and make them available to the public. Also in August, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a pattern-or-practice investigation into the City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department, specifically because of officers’ use of deadly force, after Muslim Advocates asked for a federal investigation.

“Phoenix police killed a Black, disabled Muslim man and none of the officers involved have ever been held accountable in any way. The Muhaymin family’s lawsuit is the first real opportunity to get any answers and it’s outrageous that the court proceedings were sealed.” said Muslim Advocates staff attorney Sanaa Ansari. “We are thrilled that Judge Rayes agreed with us that the public deserves to have access to these important court records. This decision is a victory for the Muhaymin family, the press and anyone who has an interest in holding the police accountable. We hope these unsealed records shed needed light on what really happened to Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. and we hope this helps his family get the justice they deserve.”

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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.