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Families Of Individuals Killed By Phoenix Police Demand Reforms

By Ben Giles
Published: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 8:06am
Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 10:12am

Mussalina Muhaymin
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Mussalina Muhaymin, who’s brother Muhammad was killed by Phoenix police officers in 2017, calls for transparency and accountability for officers who use deadly force on Aug. 26, 2020.

Families of those who’ve been shot, and in many cases killed by Phoenix police gathered outside City Hall on Wednesday demanding reforms.

Inside, the Phoenix City Council held its first meeting in nearly two months — a fact that those families repeatedly highlighted by criticizing the lack of action from city leaders to address police brutality.

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Mussalina Muhaymin said her brother, Muhammad, suffered from mental illness. He was killed by Phoenix police officers in January 2017 after a confrontation outside a public bathroom.

Muhaymin specifically criticized Police Chief Jeri Williams.

“Our police chief was talking about how she’s marching solidarity with George Floyd, but she had George Floyd happen right here in Arizona,” Muhaymin said, referring to her brother. “Because her cops had their knees in his back, and their knees in their neck, and he died from positional asphyxiation.”

Protestors constructed a mural
Ben Giles/KJZZ
Protestors constructed a mural in honor of those killed by Phoenix police officers outside City Hall chambers.

Anna Hernandez’s brother was killed by a Phoenix police officer in April 2019. Police said they shot Alejandro Hernandez after he brandished what turned out to be a replica rifle.

Hernandez said police take far too long to provide families transparency behind their actions.

“So there’s a saying in Spanish that goes like this: ‘El que nada debe, nada teme,’ which means, 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” she said. “So what are they fearing? What do these officers fear?”

The families issued demands for the city to fire the officers who shot and killed their loved ones and hold independent investigations of all officers involved.

They want police to provide use of force reports and footage to families within 72 hours, and for those records to be given to families at least 48 hours before police release them to the public.

They also demanded a department hiring freeze for new officers, and for the city council to divert funds from the police budget to community services.