March 21, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
From Travis Morales
On the night of September 25, 2012, Hawa Bah, an immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, asked for an ambulance to take her son,
28-year-old Mohamed Bah, to the hospital. He was having a mental problem. Instead of giving him the medical care that he urgently needed, three cops from the NYPD Emergency Services Unit, fully clad in SWAT-style gear, broke into Mohamed’s Harlem apartment, firing eight bullets into him, the fatal shot being a shot to the head.
The following account is drawn from a recent conversation that I had with Hawa Bah and one of her attorneys, Randolph McLaughlin.
Randolph McLaughlin said at the very start of our discussion, “After 20 years, we believe this case is the most egregious example of an execution and cover up.” He then walked through the evidence for this. After the call for an ambulance, the police arrived. Hawa Bah begged the police to allow her to speak with her son who would not open his door. They refused to let her speak with him. He never knew that his mother had called for an ambulance. She kept asking and they kept refusing, lying to her that everything would be alright. Even, after they murdered Mohamed, they lied to Ms. Bah, claiming Mohamed was fine.
Immediately, the cover up of this cold-blooded murder of Mohamed Bah began. The police claimed that after they broke into the apartment, Mohamed stabbed one of the officers with a butcher knife and this is why they shot him. Crucial evidence that could help prove that the police are lying has been lost or destroyed. They have been caught lying about what has happened to the evidence. The police testimony in depositions taken as part of Hawa Bah’s lawsuit against the NYPD is in direct contradiction to the forensic evidence.
After the murder of Mohamed, the three cops were alone in the apartment. This was a crime scene, nothing is supposed to be moved. Yet, in several pictures taken by the police, the knife that they claim Mohamed had is in different positions on the floor. And one police video does not even show a knife on the floor!
If Mohamed had cut one of the police officers, his fingerprints should be on the knife and the officer’s DNA from the blood should be on the knife. Or it could not show Mohamed’s fingerprint at all and instead show glove prints like the ones worn by police at a crime scene, indicating Mohamed never had a knife. In addition, the officer’s shirt should have a hole and blood where they claim Mohammed cut the officer. The shirt could have blood splatter showing that Mohamed was shot at close range if he was stabbing the cop. So where are the knife and the cop’s shirt? Initially, the police claim that the knife and shirt were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. Later, the story changed. Four days before Hurricane Sandy struck, the knife and shirt were moved into an NYPD warehouse in the Greenpoint neighborhood in Brooklyn that was flooded when the hurricane struck. The warehouse is in a flood plain. They now claim the knife and shirt are contaminated.
One of the cops said he was on the floor shooting up at Mohamed, who was standing over him with a knife. The forensic evidence shows that the bullets that struck Mohamed were all fired in a downward trajectory. A section of the wall in the apartment was removed. The corner has a mark that appears to be where a bullet grazed. The removed piece could have bullet holes indicating the trajectory of the bullets, but it is missing.
The clothes that Mohamed was wearing are missing. Clothing is critical. It could show powder burns indicating how close the shots were fired. The police claim they never had the clothes. The medical examiner’s records show that the examiner received the clothes from the police, examined them, and turned them over to the police. The police deny they ever received them, though a picture exists of a police detective holding the clothes after receiving them from the medical examiner.
Hawa Bah, speaking at RiseUpOctober, October 22, 2015. (Photo: www.revcom.us/Revolution)
The police say they used their Taser in the apartment. The Taser wires have disappeared.
A woman that lives in Mohamed’s building testified in a deposition that a cop showed up, later, at Mohamed’s apartment. He told her, “I’m here cleaning this nigger’s blood.” He then proceeded to clean up the blood in the apartment and hallway.
The NYPD carried out the cold-blooded execution of a young man in urgent need of medical care. Instead of being taken to the hospital, the cops filled him with eight bullets. And now the NYPD wants us to believe their lies, disregard destroyed and missing evidence, and just accept the murder of Mohamed Bah. NO!
What kind of sick system is this? Over and over the police murder Black and Latino people and get away with it. Over and over the police murder people whose only crime is the need for mental health care. Why didn’t the police actually help the paramedics and Mohamed’s mother get him to the hospital instead of killing him? Where was the “serve and protect” for Mohamed instead of shoot and murder? To the police, Mohamed Bah was just another young Black man with a target on his back.
Bob Avakian is absolutely right when he says in BAsics 1:24:
The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.
And that is exactly what the police were doing when they murdered Mohamed as they have murdered countless others. Again, BA is absolutely right. It is going to take revolution, nothing less, to end this nightmare of horror and brutality.
Joined by the mother of Amadou Diallo on stage, Hawa Bah spoke on October 24 in New York at #RiseUpOctober—Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On? When we spoke, Hawa Bah’s eyes filled with tears as she talked about Mohamed being an honor student. She said she is fighting for justice for her son because “I don’t want this to happen to any other child.”