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DA Investigating Cops' Deadly Shooting of Emotionally Disturbed Man

By  Wil Cruz Irene Plagianos and Trevor Kapp | October 1, 2012 5:23pm 

MANHATTAN — The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating the shooting death of Mohamed Bah, the knife-wielding emotionally disturbed man killed by police in his Morningside Avenue apartment last Tuesday, his lawyer said.

“There are a lot of unanswered, important questions raised in this case,” said Bah family attorney Norman Siegal, who expects the case to go before a grand jury in a few months. “We don’t know whether police protocol was followed.”

The 28-year-old was naked and armed with a knife inside his family's fifth-floor apartment at 113 Morningside Ave., near West 124th Street, when police arrived at the scene

Cops were called by Bah's mother, Hawa, who flew to the city from Guinea after becoming concerned that he sounded irrational in their phone conversations.

"He wasn't feeling good," Hawa Bah, 56, said. "I wanted to take him to the hospital.”

Bah had barricaded himself in the apartment as cops demanded he open the door.

Hawa Bah pleaded with the cops — who relatives said had their guns drawn — to show restraint and let her calm her son down.

"I said when he hears my voice, he'll open the door," Hawa Bah said. "They said, 'Just go away. We'll check and take him to the hospital. We'll take good care of him.'"

Eventually, Bah came out, gripping the knife, and cops demanded he drop the weapon.

When he refused, cops Tasered him, struck him with rubber projectiles, and Tasered him a second time, sources added.

When he continued to approach them with the knife, they opened fire, police said.

Bah was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital, where he died, police said.

"Why did they kill him?" Hawa Bah said Wednesday. "They killed him for nothing. They killed an innocent person for nothing."

 Bah's relatives believe cops could have detained Bah without shooting him.

"They said they'd handle it themselves, but they shot him," she said. "There was no reason to shoot him."

"NYPD patrol guide states, and I quote, ‘If necessary, request assistance of subject’s family,’ Seigal said. "So the question becomes, why was the mother's request refused?"

Bah, who would have celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday, had stopped attending marketing classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College, sources and relatives said. He drove a cab, too, but had stopped showing up for work about a month ago.

Siegal said it’s not just his family that is distraught over the death.

“The community is very upset about this,” said Siegal, adding that neighbors are planning a rally for Sunday. “They want answers."

But those answers may be hard to come by, he said. "The problem with this case is that you have police officers and a dead man — and that dead man can't tell you what happended."

The DA’s office declined to comment.