A riot was ignited Saturday night in a Salt Lake City neighborhood, following an incident where Abdi Mohamed, a black teenager, was shot. A police officer came upon the teen while he was attacking a man with a broomstick. That is when he shot Mohamed four times to stop the assault. The suspect survived the shooting, but an angry mob still formed.
Almost 100 police officers gathered from the city, including officers from three other departments, to help contain the riot. The officers were pelted with rocks as the protestors screamed obscenities.
The assault suspect was shot four times at around 8:15 pm Saturday in the downtown area. Selam Mohammad, friend of the teenager and a witness at the scene, claimed that the officers opened fire with no warning.
According to the witness, Mohamed and the man were in a confrontation when the officers approach. The teenager was holding part of a broomstick. “They told him to put it down, once,” said Mohammad and “started shooting him as soon as he turned around.”
In a statement release Sunday, the two Salt Lake City Police that reported that “they witnessed two males with metal objects attacking a male victim.” The pair was then asked to drop their weapons. “One of the males complied and dropped the weapon, the other continued to advance on the victim and was shot by officers.”
The officers were wearing active body cameras and the footage has been turned over to investigators. They were both placed on routine administrative leave as the incident receives further investigation.
The Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski has asked the investigators to release “as much information to the public as possible” regarding the shooting. She also stated: “there is no doubt what happened is a tragedy for all involved and for our entire city.”
She has instructed Police Chief Mike Brown to reach out personally to the young man’s family.
Biskupski seemed more concerned with the officers’ behavior than the angry mob. The local community had a right to protest, but the manner in which they behaved is unacceptable.
This may not be the last of the protests about this weekend’s incident either, the activist group, Utah Against Police Brutality is planning to hold an emergency rally tonight to address the event.