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Protest results from questionable police shooting

by David Attanasio Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003 at 5:30 PM

On Sunday, August 10 at about 6:30 pm, Police Officer Alma Andrade fatally shot Yousuf Mollah after responding to a complaint. Five days later, the community of which Mullah was a part demanded answers as to the necessity and justice of his death.

On Sunday at about 6:30 pm, Police Officer Alma Andrade fatally shot Yousuf Mollah. Andrade, 29, and her partner had responded to a call that about a man exposing himself who had been identified as Mollah, a man known to the police to be mentally ill. According to the police, when they knocked on the door of Mollah’s apartment, Mollah came into the hallway hold a 13-inch kitchen knife. After drawing her weapon and ordering Mollah to drop his knife, Andrade claims Mollah lunged at her and her partner with the knife, forcing her to react with deadly force.

After Andrade shot him a single time in the stomach, Mollah fell to the floor and crawled back into his apartment. About 9:30 that night, LAPD officers fired tear gas into the apartment, broke the door, and entered the apartment, to find that Mollah had died of his wound.

On August 15, 2003, members of the Los Angeles Bangladeshi community gathered outside the Parker Center headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department to protest the shooting of Yousuf Mollah. The rally began at 2 pm with a group of 40 people marching on the sidewalk in front of the Parker Center, carrying signs bearing messages such as “Justice for Yousef” and “Stop Police Brutality” while angrily yelling a number of different messages.

Organizers said that the protest was an effort to force an independent investigation into the shooting and subsequent death of Mollah, since they believe the LAPD incapable of an unbiased investigation. They criticized the entire handling of the situation, particularly the extreme rapidity with which Office Andrade resorted to lethal force and the lack of medical care for Mollah until 10 pm that night, three and a half hours after he was shot and after he was already dead.

Additionally, the organizers criticized the initial police response to the complaint about Mollah, as the police did not properly approach the situation given that they knew from previous reports that Mollah had a history of mental illness. Given that help had been sought for Mollah through the LAPD Systemwide Mental Assessment Team, the officers responding to the complaint should have been aware that Mollah suffered from mental illness and been prepared to deal with the situation appropriately.

According to the organizers, this was another instance where the LAPD officers were willing to use excessive force, a circumstance that has historically been very frequent with LAPD officers. The organizers also commented that this was not the only fatal shooting by LAPD officers that week; there were two others including another one the same day.

The brother of Mollah, Mizan Rahaman, who shared the apartment with Mollah, reported that he was deeply suspicious of the officer’s analysis of the danger Yousef posed. When Rahaman returned to his apartment at 2 am the night of the shooting, he found burnt food in pans on the stove, suggesting that Mollah may have been in the process of cooking dinner when he was shot. Furthermore, Rahaman said neighbors report having heard the police knocking on the door followed within five seconds by a gunshot. Rahaman says that the neighbors did not hear either of the police officers order Mollah to drop the knife.

Both Rahaman and the protest organizers assert that while Mollah may have been wielding a knife, this did not necessitate or justify lethal force on the part of the police. Furthermore, the leaders emphasize that timely intervention, even after Mollah was shot, could have saved his life; there was no reason why the police should have waited three and a half hours to enter his apartment. Instead of taking Mollah into custody and seeing to his proper medical care, Andrade and her partner called for SWAT, which shot tear gas into the apartment at 9:30 pm and entered at 10 pm.

After the initial march in front of the Parker Center police headquarters, a number of speakers briefly addressed the crowd through a PA system, and issued their demands for an independent inquiry into the matter. They also promised that the issue would not be dropped and that they would continue their efforts for justice until it had been obtained. By the end of the speeches, the crowd had grown from about 40 to almost 80, who then resumed the march. The protest dissolved around 3:15, but with promises by the participants not to let the issue drop.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 11 posted about this article.
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LOL police brutality victim #1209571975 Monday, Aug. 18, 2003 at 1:10 PM
Yes, Truly Laughable... Kristen Perry Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2003 at 8:41 AM
yeah but.... cujo Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003 at 9:54 AM
Death Penalty for Indecent Exposure? PB Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003 at 3:47 PM
speaking of cock.. ...*gross!* Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2003 at 3:51 PM
police brutality anybody? 4yrold Thursday, Aug. 21, 2003 at 8:49 AM
None Pat Friday, Aug. 22, 2003 at 8:44 AM
i need the lefts help please help Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003 at 6:56 AM
Response to article Joe Tuesday, Sep. 09, 2003 at 3:09 PM
Police Officer Joe Monday, Oct. 13, 2003 at 2:54 AM

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