ARIZONA NEWS

Trial set in lawsuit filed over man’s death during struggle with Phoenix police

Sep 22, 2021, 6:00 PM
FILE - In this June 5, 2020, file photo, Mussallina Muhaymin, left, and Zarinah Tavares, sisters of...

FILE - In this June 5, 2020, file photo, Mussallina Muhaymin, left, and Zarinah Tavares, sisters of Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin Jr., a homeless man who died while in Phoenix police custody, pose in Phoenix. Muhaymin, a homeless Black Muslim man, who died while being restrained by officers after he tried to carry his tiny dog into a public bathroom is among the kinds of cases that led the U.S. Justice Department to launch a widespread probe into the Phoenix Police Department. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — An April 25 trial has been scheduled in a lawsuit filed over the 2017 death of a man during a struggle with Phoenix police officers who were arresting him outside a community center.

The lawsuit alleged officers caused Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin’s death by using unjustified force. Muhaymin was experiencing homeless at the time and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia.

Lawyers representing the city have denied the lawsuit’s allegations of excessive force and wrongful death.

Police were called to the community center after a dispute arose over whether Muhaymin could bring his service dog into a bathroom there.

While he was in the bathroom, officers who ran a records check discovered Muhaymin had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court.

Tensions rose as an officer told Muhaymin to put down his dog because he was under arrest. Muhaymin was forced to the ground after police asked him to cooperate.

After officers brought Muhaymin to the parking lot, officers again urged Muhaymin to stop moving. Still, the struggle continued, with officers again forcing him to the ground. “I can’t breathe,” Muhaymin said. “I can’t breathe.”

Minutes later, Muhaymin went into cardiac arrest and died, the lawsuit said.

None of the officers have been criminally charged or faced internal discipline for their actions during the encounter.

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Trial set in lawsuit filed over man’s death during struggle with Phoenix police