Learn more about our work on behalf of our clients, the Keita family, as we help to ensure a full and fair investigation into the death of their son, Ben.
On January 9, 2017, Ben Keita’s body was found hanging from a tree in the woods just behind his family home, in his hometown of Lake Stevens, Washington. Ben had been missing for nearly six weeks–his family reported him missing to the Lake Stevens Police Department in late November 2016 after noticing that Ben’s cell phone, keys, and other belongings were still at home even though he was not.
Keita was a young African-American Muslim man with a bright future. Hoping to become a doctor, he was studying at a local community college—while still in high school—as a part of an academic acceleration program. At 18 years old, he was a dedicated son and brother, a student, and employee. He was an intelligent and kind young man with no history of mental illness or depression, his father describes him as “a very happy young man.”
Muslim Advocates and our partners have pressed law enforcement to conduct a full and thorough investigation into Ben’s disappearance and death. Such an investigation should include consideration of whether religious and/or racial bias played any role in this incident. This is particularly important at a time when American Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, and other communities are increasingly being targeted by hate violence.