The family of a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by a New York Police Department (NYPD) detective in 2012 was awarded $1.9 million Wednesday by the city of New York.
Mohamed Bah’s mother, Hawa, called for an ambulance to go to her son’s Harlem apartment, claiming he’d been acting strangely. The 28-year-old taxi driver was carrying a 13-inch knife when Emergency Services Unit officers entered his apartment. Detective Edwin Mateo claimed he was in fear for his life when he fired the fatal shots that killed Bah.
According to the New York Daily News, Randolph McLaughlin, an attorney with the firm Newman Ferrara, said, “Mrs. Bah feels vindicated. She’s been suffering since the day her shot was shot and killed in his apartment. At long last she can finally go forward with the memory of her son not as a victim of police violence but a champion of civil rights.”
McLaughin and attorney Debra Cohen had previously accused the policve department of intentionally moving “key items” into a “flood-prone NYPD warehouse” only days before Hurricane Sandy unleashed massive flooding in the New York City area, the news outlet reports.
Judge Kevin Castel, who presided over the investigation into Bah’s death, did not find the city guilty of intentionally destroying evidence, but he was “infuriated” when pieces of evidences that were claimed to have been missing managed to surface during the trial. “It is unforgivable to me that, either through malevolence or incompetence, this would not have been discovered,” Castel said.
A jury found New York City liable for the wrongful death of Bah in 2017. The jury awarded his mother $2.2 million, but the city appealed the verdict.
Nick Paolucci, a city Law Department spokesman said, “While we believe the officer acted reasonably under these difficult circumstances, we hope this settlement will bring a measure of closure to the family.”
In January 2017, the NYPD enacted Crisis Intervention Training to help officers more safely respond to mental health crises .