The family of a West African immigrant killed in his Harlem apartment by NYPD officers is suing the city for $20 million, hoping the suit encourages other officers to follow proper protocol when dealing with the mentally ill, The New York Daily News reports.
On September 21st, officers knocked on the door of Mohamed Bah (pictured), after his mother called 911, saying he was “depressed.” An apparent brawl ensued, ending with the officers tasering and shooting Bah with a rubber bullet inside his Morningside Avenue apartment. Bah then fell across the officers and tried stabbing them before one of the officers delivered the fatal shot.
While the officers claimed they shot in self-defense, Bah’s mother believes they failed to follow departmental guidelines in approaching and treating the mentally challenged.
“Putting a monetary figure on this case lets the city know that they can’t get away with this,” said Franciscus Diaba, the lawyer representing Bah’s family. “His life was taken away from him.”
Hawa Bah (pictured) called for an ambulance to pick up her son after Mohamed began acting abnormally and refused to leave his apartment. Instead of an EMT squad responding, officers arrived. Bah says she tried convincing the officers to allow her to speak with her son in their native Guinean language, but they told her to stay outside the apartment.
Soon after, her son was dead.
The killing has angered many African community leaders throughout the city and left Bah’s family with questions. His sister had a hard time believing her brother to be capable of such violence.
“It doesn’t make sense,” said Bah’s sister, Oumou. “He didn’t have drugs or alcohol in his system…. They killed one person, but destroyed an entire family.”