Africans vs. NYPD: Brooklyn and Harlem immigrant leaders want answers

Hawa Bah, mother of 28 year-old Mohamed Bah who was shot and killed by police
Hawa Bah, mother of 28 year-old Mohamed Bah who was shot and killed by police

Anger over cop killing of Guinea native Mohamed Bah

 

AFRICAN community leaders in Brooklyn and Harlem are sending out a battle cry to organize their communities to join a showdown with the NYPD.

 

Anger directed at the police has spread throughout the West African enclaves in Harlem, Flatbush, and the Bronx ever since cops killed Mohamed Bah, 27, inside his Morningside Avenue studio apartment last Tuesday.


Bah’s death is being compared to Amadou Diallo, both Fulani

men from Guinea slain by New York cops. “We all need to rally behind this,” said Alseny Bah, 39, a Wall Street analyst living in Ditmas Park, who is not related to Mohamed Bah but hails from Guinea. “This shouldn’t be happening.


Alseny Bah is working with Williamsburg lawyer Franciscus Diaba, a native of Ghana, organizing city Africans to demand the NYPD to release details explaining how Mohamed Bah died. Mohamed Bah’s mother called 911 around 6:30 p.m. asking for an ambulance complaining that her son - a part-time cab driver and community college student - was depressed and holed up inside his flat.


Officers arrived telling her to wait downstairs. Less than a hour later, Bah was shot with a Taser gun and a rubber bullet. Police said he had attacked officers with a knife trying to stab them through their bullet-resistant vests.


But Mohamed Bah supporters said the facts are muddled.


“There are bigger issues surrounding this case,” said Diaba who is representing Mohamed Bah’s family during talks with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Diaba asked prosecutors to launch a grand jury investigation so a report can highlight whether cops could have prevented Mohamed Bah’s death. The DA’s office has already launched an investigation, officials said.


“Why wasn’t there an interpreter? Why wasn’t there a negotiation unit?” Diaba said.
Diaba is leading a Sunday march at City Hall expected to draw hundreds of city Africans.


There’s fresh frustration over Diallo after reports said Officer Kenneth Boss, one of the cops who shot the young immigrant, got his gun back. “It has opened old wounds,” said State Sen. Eric Adams (D-Flatbush), advising Diaba and the other African leaders on how to draw attention to their campaign.


Adams plans on introducing legislation next month that would require emergency service officers to wear helmet cameras when responding to 911 calls involving the mentally ill and other high stress incidents.


“We need the police agency to realize the answer to responding to mental health issues is not using fire arms,” said Adams said.


“Good tactics would be to have a video of what took place at the time.” simonew@

nydailynews.com

 

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