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Phoenix will pay $5 million to the family of a man who died while in police custody

Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 6:27pm
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 8:17am

Phoenix will pay $5 million to the family of Muhammad Muhaymin who died while in police custody.

Before the council voted on the settlement Wednesday, Vice Mayor Carlos Garcia said it is not justice, "Justice would have been for Muhammad to have had housing and resources."

In 2017, police were called to a city community center after Muhammad  Muhaymin tried to take his dog into the bathroom. After discovering he had an outstanding warrant, officers tried to arrest Muhaymin. According to court records, multiple officers got on top of him, including after he was restrained.

Councilwoman Betty Guardado offered condolences to Muhaymin’s family. She represents the district where he died.

“Nothing we do as a council can ever undo what they have been through,” she said. “We must continue to prioritize accountability and transparency, as well as services and support for those who need it in our community.”

A lawyer for Muhaymin’s family told KJZZ News the settlement will benefit his children.  Councilman Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring voted against the settlement.

Garcia said he would leave it up to the family to answer the question about what justice looks like for them, “But what I’ve heard from them is that they want accountability, and what I’ve heard from them as well is they want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family.”

In February 2018, then-Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery declined to file criminal charges against the officers after a review board determined “the officers did not commit any act that warrants criminal prosecution.”

In an email to KJZZ News, a spokesperson for current County Attorney Allister Adel wrote:

“A case in the death of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. was submitted to this office in 2017 and a determination was made at that time to not file criminal charges against the officers.

This decision was made under the prior county attorney. There is not an on-going investigation into this matter.

County Attorney Adel was appointed to office October of 2019. Should a law enforcement agency submit the case to our office for a second review, we would then review any new facts and evidence and determine if criminal charges are warranted.”

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