Newly released body camera video from 2017 shows a Phoenix man being asphyxiated to death during an arrest while officers taunt him as he lay dying facedown in his vomit.
The arrest was for a warrant for failure to appear in court for a marijuana pipe.
“Please Allah,” cries Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. as officers held him face down to the ground.
“Allah? He’s not going to help you right now,” replies an officer. “Just relax.”
Minutes later Muhaymin would be dead.
The incident began on January 4, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. Police were called on Muhammad for trying to bring his dog into a bathroom at Maryvale Community Support.
According to medical documents obtained by CNN, Muhammad suffered from schizophrenia and had a small chihuahua for emotional support.
A letter written to the Mayor on behalf of 61 local and national groups, is demanding accountability for Muhammad’s death, claiming officers “Failed to protect Muhaymin’s rights after he was falsely accused of assaulting a community center employee, Singled him out for criminal enforcement,” and “dismissed his need of a service animal.”
Once police arrived, they allowed Muhammad to use the bathroom only to arrest him as he came out on a warrant for missing court for a marijuana pipe possession charge.
The 9-minute video shows police taking Muhammad to the ground by force and swearing at him as they handcuff and drag him out to a police vehicle where they attempt to search him.
While some video of the arrest was originally released in 2017, this new video obtained with litigation in a lawsuit filed by Muhammad’s video shows officers placing their knee on his neck as he screams, “I can’t breath” – an eerie echo of the recent Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd under similar circumstances. Muhammad eventually stops screaming and vomits.
“Yeah he’s dead.” an officer callously says.
“Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was a man — a man with a family who loved him,” Mohammad’s sister, Mussalina Muhaymin, said in a statement.
“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.”
An independent evaluation of the autopsy done by Bennet Omalu Pathology determined Muhammad died from mechanical-positional asphyxiation due to compression of his trunk and body.
Muhammad died despite his pleas, multiple officers put their body weight until he became unconscious in violation of the Phoenix police use of force policy
“Suspects displaying difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness will be removed from restraints at the earliest opportunity.”
According to Religion News:
“What you have is undeniably clear evidence that is newer, that certainly wasn’t considered back in 2017 that shows that Muhammad was treated with hostility,” said Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for the national civil rights group Muslim Advocates. “He was treated with disdain, because he is disabled, because he is Muslim, because he was Black, because he is low income.”
No officers have been disciplined in this case.