A Somali refugee from Phoenix, Arizona, was shot dead for throwing rocks at a police vehicle. A police officer fired multiple shots at Ali Osman after he failed to heed a warning.
The incident occurred on Saturday at around 6:54 pm. An official statement by the police said two patrol units were driving through the intersection of 19th Avenue and Tuckey Lane when their cars were struck by unknown items causing damage. It stated that an officer in one of the patrol units went to investigate and saw a man throwing rocks towards his patrol car.
Brian Bower of the Phoenix Police Department said the officer was leaving the scene of an unrelated incident when he got out and told the 34-year-old man to stop throwing rocks. "One rock was thrown and as the individual was preparing to throw the second rock, that's when the officer-involved shooting occurred." Osman died at the hospital.
Previous Criminal Record
Osman had a serious encounter with the law in 2017 when he was convicted for having an unauthorized gun in his car while returning to the US from Mexico. Erin Carrillo, his attorney during the sentencing, told the judge about Osman's mental health history. He said Osman is a very religious and spiritual individual. "He lives his faith and that faith is one of peace."
A bystander has shared a video of the incident which shows three patrol cars parked at the south-western corner of Tuckey Lane and 19th Avenue. A man can be heard, in the footage, begging the police to allow him to intervene from the other side of the 19th Avenue. "You're going to end up shooting this motherfu**er and killing him," he said adding that the man was certified with the state as mental health support. "Hey, does he have any weapons? I can talk to him. I'll de-escalate it."
Osman's family has said he was suffering from mental health challenges. Phoenix police said it will investigate the events that led up to the shooting. "The department will release a Critical Incident Briefing Video within 14 days of the incident to the public that will provide facts of the case. In addition, all body worn cameras will be released," the statement said, according to NBC.
Meanwhile, Quacy Smith, an attorney for Osman's family, said the man was throwing just rocks, not boulders. "Rocks. Rocks. Not boulders. Not bricks. Rocks ... These are rocks no bigger than my 4-year-old son throws over the backyard to the neighbor's house," Smith said.