LOWER MANHATTAN — More than 100 demonstrators joined the family of Mohamed Bah — a 28-year-old Morningside Heights resident fatally shot by police on September 25 — to decry police brutality and use of excessive force while demanding justice in the man's case.
The Saturday afternoon protest began outside the headquarters of the NYPD at 1 Police Plaza, and marched down Broadway towards Park Avenue, just blocks from where the Liberian immigrant had attended classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Shouting slogans like “Justice for Mohammed Bah,” and “NYPD stop killing us,” protestors spoke out about what many felt was unnecessary use of force by cops who responded to the scene.
“When someone calls for help, they should get help — not surprised,” said Abdulai Barry, 49, a friend of the family from Liberia.
According to police reports, Bah's mother, Hawa Bah, 56, called police in distress after she found her son naked and wielding a foot-long knife in his 5th-floor apartment at 113 Morningside Ave., near West 124th Street. Although his mother claims she pleaded with cops to let her talk to her son, police officers allegedly shot Bah when he moved towards them with the weapon.
Protestor Diallo Ousmane, 44, called for more information about the shooting to be released.
“What happened?” Ousmane asked. “Why did it happen like that? We need to hear [the victim’s] side to see what happened.”
A family lawyer, Franciscus Diaba, said the police may not have followed procedure. “He didn’t deserve to die,” said Diaba. “The NYPD could have taken a number of steps.”
The victim’s cousin, Ibrahim Bah, 42, questions why the six police officers he claims were at the scene couldn’t detain his cousin without using deadly force.
“I don’t know why six police officers went into the bedroom and couldn’t control one man,” Bah said.
He said the victim was “a very proud boy, a nice person." He saw his cousin the day before he was shot, and Ibrahim Bah says he never observed anything that led him to believe his cousin was mentally ill.
“People said he had a sickness,” he said. “He’d get out of control sometimes when he was mad, but he never was rude or wild.”
According to the family’s attorneys, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating Bah’s death and will present their findings to a Grand Jury within the next several months.