December 2, 2021
Issue: Law Enforcement Bias
Judge Unseals Court Records for Phoenix “I Can’t Breathe” Lawsuit
Documents Released After Muslim Advocates Intervened in Case
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, a federal judge unsealed court records for a 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. The City of Phoenix had previously requested that the public and press be barred from the hearing. The release of the records follows a motion made by Muslim Advocates in September to reverse this decision and make the records public. Last month, the City of Phoenix agreed to settle the lawsuit and pay the Muhaymin family $5 million.
Muslim Advocates plans to dive into the released court records and highlight significant testimony and evidence that illuminates how Phoenix police officers killed Mr. Muhaymin and how they misled the public about it. We have worked tirelessly (alongside local groups including Poder in Action and Black Lives Matter) to try and hold the officers who killed Mr. Muhaymin accountable and to support the Muhaymin family in their fight for justice. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice in July 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.
“There are so many questions about how Phoenix police officers killed Muhammad Muhaymin Jr., how they misled the public about it and why the City of Phoenix worked so hard to cover all this up. The release of these documents will hopefully provide the public with at least some answers,” said Muslim Advocates Staff Attorney Sanaa Ansari. “To date, no officer involved in Mr. Muhaymin’s killing has ever been held accountable in any way. By getting the judge to release these important court records, we hope to do our part to let the world know what happened to Mr. Muhaymin and finally bring at least some accountability to the officers who mocked and killed him.”
If you are a police-accountability group needing access to these records, please contact us at [email protected].
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.