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Mohamed Bah’s family reacts to $2.2 million civil cop shooting settlement

In Manhattan Tuesday, a federal jury determined that the family of Mohammad Bah, a mentally ill Guinea native who was shot eight times and killed in his home by three New York City police officers 2012, should be compensated for their loss with a $2.2 million settlement.

“This is a victory in at least proving what they did to Mohamed,” Bah’s mother, Hawa Bah told the Amsterdam News. But she added forcefully, “I want to make sure that this does not happen to another mother and for the future direction, let the DoJ and the district attorney see the truth. This concerns everyone in the U.S. because if cops murder someone you cannot know unless it comes to a settlement or goes to trial, so that is very bad for us. They [the police] should protect us—not kill—but there should be accountability when they kill.”

Bah family attorney Randolph McLaughlin told the Amsterdam News, “The benefits of a civil trial is that it exposes to the city and the public to the facts of the case and what went on in Mr. Bah’s apartment, and the officers have to defend their actions in open court in front of the jury. However, at the same time, going through a trial—seeing autopsy photos of your loved one, and hearing how they died brutally—is traumatic for the family members in a way we can only imagine, and my complaint with the city and how they handled this case is that they were callous to the pain that this mother and this family had to go through for five years.”

The attorney further noted, “This is the only major police misconduct case of its kind involving an individual who had not committed a crime to go to trial...Ramarley Graham case—settled, Eric Garner Case—settled. So the families in those cases were spared the pain of a trial, and for some reason, which is unfathomable to me, the city chose to drag Mr. Bah’s memory through the mud. So that to me is unforgivable.”

Immediately after the civil suit verdict, Hawa Bah and her daughter, Oumou Bah, released the following statement:

“When Mohamed was first killed, we were told it was not possible to prove he was killed unjustly, that it was only Mohamed and the officers in the room, and Mohamed was dead. However, the truth has come out through this trial. Clear evidence was presented that the NYPD unlawfully entered Mohamed’s home, used excessive force and killed him in cold blood.”

According to reports, on the evening of Sept. 25, 2012, three NYPD Emergency Services Unit members responded to a 911 call from Hawa Bah requesting medical attention for her son, who she said was suffering a mental episode. The cops claimed that after they arrived at 113 Morningside Ave., the 28-year-old Bah lunged at them and began stabbing them with a 13-inch knife, but they weren’t because of their bullet-proof vests, and they killed him.

The jury, consisting of five men and five women, found officer Edwin Mateo liable for “excessive use of force,” and his supervisor, Lt. Michael Licitra, liable for “failing to properly supervise Mateo.”