Phoenix Police on Friday afternoon released body camera footage of officers fatally shooting a man throwing rocks at them in September.
The family of the slain man, Ali Osman, 34, and their attorney reacted to the video by calling for charges against the officers during a Friday afternoon news conference.
The video featuring edited body camera footage released by the police department shows the moments before, during and after two officers shot Osman on Sept. 24 near 19th Avenue and Tuckey Lane, just south of Glendale Avenue.
Osman’s family and their attorney, Quacy Smith, watched the video ahead of Phoenix police releasing it publicly. The family was filing a claim against the City of Phoenix, Smith said there was nothing in the video to indicate the officers needed to use lethal force on Osman. Smith said, Osman was shot at four times and was struck three times in the neck.
“This is not just homicide. This was murder. At minimum it was manslaughter,” Smith said during the press conference at his law firm’s midtown office.
Halfway through the nearly hour-long press conference, Smith implored Chief Michael Sullivan to fire the unidentified officers and urged Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to file charges against them.
“Don’t play the grand jury game and come out and make all kind of excuses. I’m trying to tell you what’s necessary to keep rioting and all of that stuff off the streets of your city. Do the right thing. Let a jury decide their guilt or their innocence,” Smith said. “I’m fully convinced Ali was murdered.”
Smith went on to say the city should be held accountable for failing to train and maintain successful standards for its officers.
Edited video shows fatal Sept. 24 shooting
The video shows Osman with his hands up as an officer approaches and pulls his gun and is heard shouting, “drop it.” Osman then throws a rock at the officer before being shot and dropping to the ground.
The officer keeps his gun pointed in the direction of where Osman has fallen and when he begins to lift his upper body, the officer is heard telling him to “get down now.”
Body camera footage then cuts to an officer doing CPR on Osman. In the video, Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Brian Bower says Osman died of his injuries at a local hospital soon after.
The department video shows a photo of a broken spotlight on one of the patrol vehicles, which police said was caused by Osman throwing guns and which in turn prompted the officers to approach him. A couple of small rocks are seen hitting the patrol car as one of the officers arrives.
The body cam video also captures one of the officers saying, “Let’s get this motherf—-r now,” before driving to where Osman was.
“And the part that made me even more upset was that they used the foul language,” said Ikran Aden, Osman’s niece, adding this talk suggested they had planned on shooting her uncle.
In the video, Bower says a rock struck the officer in the shin as that officer is heard giving Osman commands to drop the rocks.
Bower also says the officers gathered rocks from the scene, weighing between 2.9 ounces and 19.8 ounces. The department video also features photos of dents and scratches on the vehicles.
Both officers are assigned to the Desert Horizon Precinct and have between two years and two and a half years on the force, Bowers says in the video. The incident is part of internal and criminal investigations and will be reviewed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
‘Something has to be changed’
The video “is the police department posturing, gaslighting, lowering the standard for use of force to protect thin-skinned officers that do not need to be in the profession,” Smith, a former police officer, said.
While denouncing officers’ actions, Smith repeatedly said police should have jailed Osman.
“I can’t believe it happened,” said Halima Osman, Ali Osman’s sister, as she sobbed.
Muktar Sheikh, a community activist, said if this were a dispute between neighbors where one was throwing rocks at the other, the shooting neighbor would be jailed.
“If we want to make the city of Phoenix safe, something has to be changed. How many families like this have to come here to hire a lawyer just to get justice?” Sheikh said.
At news conferences held Sept. 27 and Sept. 29 and today, loved ones remembered Osman as a caring and selfless person. Osman was a Somali refugee who came to the United States at 14, his friend, Loay Alyousfi, previously said.
A memorial was held Sept. 30 for Osman at an Islamic community center in Tempe.
Reach breaking news reporter Jose R. Gonzalez at email@example.com or on Twitter @jrgzztx.
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