Dozens ask for leniency in Abdi Mohamed’s criminal case
(KUTV) Dozens of people protested at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office Monday afternoon. They gathered at the East Broadway office to ask for leniency in the aggravated robbery charges against the teen, who was gunned down by Salt Lake City Police on Feb. 27.
In August, District Attorney Sim Gill ruled the shooting justified. In early September, a citizen review board deemed the shooting “not within” the police department’s policy.
Protesters with Utah Against Police Brutality said the board’s ruling proves the lack of power citizens have over their government.
“We do need community control. We’ve never hated the police civilian review board. We’ve felt they’ve had no power. What can they do? Sim Gill has already supported the shooting,” said Utah Against Police Brutality spokesperson, Ryan Parker. “We are still very much powerless in this system. The second our police or DA take action, we just have to sit there and live with it.”
The group is protesting to show their outrage.
“We’ve been dialoging about police brutality for years and nothing has changed. Nothing has changed from it.”
They also called for the immediate release of police body camera video from that night. Parker believed the video would provide some context for the ongoing criminal case.
“The fact is that he was a 17 year old kid. A kid. And that’s what people seem to forget,” said Parker. “The simple fact that he was a young man, involved in an assault, and was shot five times by a police officer, and then being charged as an adult is a gross miscarriage of justice.”
Gill recognized the alleged aggravated robbery as an event separate from the officer involved shooting when explaining his office’s decision to prosecute Mohamed as an adult.
“We look to see what the facts are, what the evidence is, and based on the quantity and quality of the evidence, we sit down as a group and we make a decision about what the appropriate charges are,” he said. “We believe, given the seriousness of the offense, we’ve asked that he be tried as an adult.”
Gill acknowledged the civilian review board’s findings during his interview with 2News.
“We’re two very different entities. We have two very different standards to look at. My analysis is a legal analysis. Theirs is a policy analysis. For us, it was a very strict analysis under the law. For them, it was a policy analysis. They analyzed it the same way as we did, but they made a policy call. And that’s fine. And that doesn’t undermine my responsibility or my conclusions.”
He said he office did their job, the board did theirs, and now the citizens are expressing their concern in an organized and legal fashion.
“I think this is how our democracy is supposed to work,” Gill said. “As far as their right to exercise their civil opinion, I wholeheartedly support that. Because that’s what we should do.”