** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has released police body camera footage (above) of the February 2016 police shooting of a 17-year-old boy Abdullahi “Abdi” Mohamed. According to the District Attorney’s Office’s findings from the officer-involved critical incident investigation, two Salt Lake City officers were investigating a report of a stolen cellphone when they saw what looked like a person hitting another person with “a long slender object like a pipe or a pole.” As officers got closer, they saw it appeared to be two males holding long, metal objects “at least one of whom was hitting a man with the pipe or pole,” the officer-involved critical incident report said. Police commanded them both to stop and drop their weapons, but Mohamed is accused of ignoring the officers’ commands and continuing to pursue the alleged victim.
“The officers ordered the suspect to “drop it” and “put it down” several times but the suspect did not. Instead, the suspect took another step towards the victim and started to raise the metallic object higher. The suspect turned his head and looked towards the police officers. At that instant, [the officers] fired their handguns at the suspect, hitting him. The suspect was transported to the hospital and survived his injuries,” the officer-involved critical incident report said. Prosecutors allege Mohamed was beating a man over $1.10 while dealing drugs in the Rio Grande neighborhood. After ruling the shooting justified, District Attorney Sim Gill filed criminal charges against Mohamed for the beating. Prosecutors accused Mohamed of dealing meth in the neighborhood. On Monday, a judge ruled there was enough probable cause to bind Mohamed over for a trial.
The video clips of the shooting were ordered released after a unanimous vote by the Utah State Records Committee. “They’re very important for the public to see. The public needs to make up their own mind about what happened and the behavior of the officers,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Leah Farrell said. In a statement issued Monday, the Salt Lake City Police Department said they support the DA’s Office’s decision to release the video, along with the DA’s Office’s findings that the shooting was justified. “Although we will not speak about the specifics of the video at this time, we stand by the officers involved as well as the OICI investigation that was completed.
The video released today was an important part of the investigation, it should be noted that there were numerous other factors that were part of the investigation to include many interviews with witnesses and others involved in the incident as well as evidence gathered at the scene,” the statement said. “It is important to remember that the investigation needs to consider ALL the evidence and we believe that this occurred in this detailed investigation. We believe that questions about this specific case can be answered by the letter District Attorney Sim Gill issued regarding this incident.”
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