NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will look into last week’s fatal police shooting of an emotionally disturbed man, said a civil rights lawyer representing Mohamed Bah’s family.
Police responded to Bah’s home at Morningside Avenue and 124th Street in Morningside Heights Tuesday evening.
Hawa Bah, who arrived from West Africa on Monday to visit her son in New York, said she noticed her son was acting unusual. She said she called 911 to get him medical assistance.
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports
“We were aware of the fact that he was depressed,” Mohamed’s sister Oumou Bah told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “My mother was there pleading, pleading they should let her speak to my brother.”
Hawa Bah said when police arrived, the family met the officers outside the apartment while Mohamed stayed inside, refusing to open the door.
His mother said she begged police to allow her to speak to her son to coax him out, but she said police wouldn’t let her.
The family said they want to know why officers entered the apartment even though Mohamed was inside alone. They also said officers should have allowed Mohamed’s mother to talk to her son through the door.
Police said Mohamed Bah was clearly emotionally disturbed as he charged at officers with a 13-inch knife in Morningside Heights Tuesday night.
Police said they tried to subdue Bah using Tasers and then rubber bullets, but that did not stop Bah from lunging at them.
Police said that is when officers opened fire, killing Bah. But the family said they are outraged that Mohamed’s mother was not allowed to try to calm her son down.
“She pleaded with every police officer that came and they did not even grant her that,” Oumou Bah said.
“What my family wants to know now, is it safe to call 911?” Mohamed’s brother Saickou Bah told Silverman.
Civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel has joined the family in calling for answers.
“Why was the mother’s request denied?” Siegel asked. “Even though procedure number 216-05 of the NYPD patrol guide states, and I quote, ‘If necessary, request assistance of subject’s family.'”
Siegel said he is concerned the truth of what happened may never be completely known.
“The witnesses in this situation are police officers and a dead man,” Siegel said.
In the meantime, Bah’s family said they are having a hard time coping with his loss.
“There’s nothing we could do to bring back my brother,” Oumou Bah said.
Siegel said a grand jury will hear the case in the coming months.
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