City Disputes Man Could Not Breathe During Fatal Arrest Attempt | National government and new policies

FILE – Mussallina Muhaymin, who filed a complaint against police officers in Phoenix over the 2017 death of her brother, Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin, as officers attempted to arrest him outside a community center, poses for a portrait on June 5 2020 in Phoenix. Phoenix City Council approved a $ 5 million trial settlement on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. During the fight with the officers, Muhammad Muhaymin, who was homeless and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia , shouted that he couldn’t ‘not breathe.

Matt York

By JACQUES BILLEAUD Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) – The city of Phoenix has challenged a black man’s claim he couldn’t breathe as police held him down in a fatal arrest attempt nearly five years ago outside a community center, according to recently unsealed court records that provide the city’s most detailed public account of the death.

Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin died in a fight in January 2017 with officers who were called to the community center after a town worker attempted to deny Muhaymin, who was homeless and has schizophrenia, access to a bathroom because he had a dog with him. The fight erupted when officers attempted to arrest Muhaymin after learning he had a warrant pending for failing to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug accessories.

In an unsealed dossier on Tuesday, city lawyers admitted Muhaymin did not punch or kick officers, but said he actively resisted his arrest and fought several times with the officers trying to stop him. They said toxicology tests showed Muhaymin had a high level of methamphetamine in his system when he died.

When responding to Muhaymin’s statement that he could not breathe, the lawyers said Muhaymin “exerted tremendous force in his resistance” and that officers noticed that he was breathing and nothing was in the way of his breathing. ability to take in air.

“The words ‘I can’t breathe’ don’t mean you literally have no air,” David Chami, one of the attorneys representing Muhaymin’s sister in a death trial, said Wednesday. “It means you are having trouble breathing. They (the town lawyers) know that.

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