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Civil rights charges urged in NYPD killing of Mohamed Bah

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, holds a

Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah, holds a photo of her late son at a news conference at the Capitol in Albany, on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Photo Credit: AP

The mother of Mohamed Bah, an emotionally disturbed West African man killed by the NYPD in 2012, and family lawyers met with federal prosecutors in Manhattan for an hour on Thursday to urge the filing of federal civil rights charges in the case.

Bah, 27, was shot several times after his mother called the NYPD for assistance and an ambulance on Sept. 25, 2012. Police said he attacked them with a knife. The family asked for Justice Department intervention 2 1⁄2 years ago, after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance failed to get a state grand jury indictment.

“It is difficult to understand why my son’s case has been stalled with the DOJ for so long,” said Hawa Bah in a statement after the meeting. “It’s been almost four years. There is clear evidence that the NYPD violated Mohamed’s civil rights and yet the DOJ has failed to move forward swiftly to ensure justice and accountability.”

Family lawyer Randolph McLaughlin said the case was delayed by confidentiality orders the city got preventing the sharing of evidence obtained during a pending civil suit. He said the NYPD violated Bah’s rights when cops broke down his apartment door, and that Bah was unnecessarily shot in the head.

Prosecutors promised a complete review, McLaughlin said. “If breaking into someone’s home and shooting them and killing them is not a civil rights violation when they’re on the ground is not a civil rights violation, then nothing is,” he said.

Family members of Eric Garner, killed in an apparent police chokehold on Staten Island, recently complained that two years have passed since his death with no Justice Department decision on civil rights charges. In March, four years after the police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in his apartment, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan declined to bring federal charges.

Bharara’s office declined to comment Thursday on the meeting with Bah’s mother.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong first name of the family lawyer.

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