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Protests In Salt Lake City After Cop Shoots Black Teen Holding A Broomstick

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Originally published at MintPress News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Local residents and the family of a shooting victim are demanding the release of police body camera footage that shows the wounding of a black teenager last week.

Abdi Mohamed, a 17-year-old Somali refugee, was shot by police on Saturday while holding a metal broomstick. The following day, family sources told Robert Boyd, a reporter with local news station Fox13, that Mohamed was in a coma at a local hospital after being shot three times.

Det. Greg Wilking, a Salt Lake City Police Department official quoted by Boyd, claimed that Mohamed had gotten involved in a dispute, and that he was shot while “officers intervened into that altercation.”

But Selam Mohammed, who said he was walking with Abdi Mohamed at the time he was shot, told Boyd that Abdi Mohamed had just picked up a broken broomstick when police arrived:

“The police said, ‘drop it’, once, then they shot him four times. … We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already. They already had them, like, as soon as he was running he was already grabbing for his gun, not even trying to Tase him or anything.”

Residents took the streets by the hundreds in Salt Lake City on Monday to demand justice for the critically-injured teen. At one gathering that night, Selam Mohammed recalled that the fight began when Abdi Mohamed tried to defend himself from harassment from a white man who had arrived by bicycle.

Community activists and family members are demanding the release of body camera footage from the officers involved in the shooting.

According to an Associated Press report on Wednesday, Unified Police Det. Ken Hansen, whose department has been assigned to investigate the shooting, claimed that, “Keeping it private until investigators have sifted through the evidence to put the video in context is fairer to officers.”

But community activists claim that in other cases, Salt Lake City police have quickly released body camera footage, AP reported:

The incident shows the lack of consistent guidelines for police body camera footage, said Anna Brower, spokeswoman for the ACLU in Utah. A day after a deadly police shooting last year, the Salt Lake City department released video showing a man attacking the officer with a snow shovel.

“When police don’t have a standard response for these kinds of situations, they put the public in a position of wondering, ‘Why is it taking longer? What are you hiding?'” Brower said.1

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