“Man killed in Long Beach police shooting” declared the Los Angeles Times, in reference to the most recent #DeathByCop in Los Angeles County. This headline echoed the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) press release, devoid of investigation into the true narrative. Dozens of people witnessed last Wednesday’s police murder of 20-year-old college student Feras Morad; many reported seeing a young man acting abnormal and unable to comply with police demands.
Shortly after 7:30 on the evening of Wednesday, May 27, an LBPD officer shot and killed Feras Morad in an alley outside the apartment where Feras had spent the evening. Neighbors said they saw friends eating dinner outside on the apartment patio earlier in the evening.
According to a statement released by four friends who were in the apartment on the 4600 block of East 15th Street, Feras had became disoriented around after ingesting psilocybin mushrooms. He fell from a second story window, shattering the window glass and landing on the concrete patio below.
His friends called 911 for medical attention. Feras was shirtless, missing his glasses, wounded from the fall, bleeding from multiple gashes, and most likely in shock, when he wandered into the alley through an open gate. Upon arriving on the scene, an LBPD patrol officer exited his cruiser and ordered Feras to raise his arms.
"Like a bird with a broken wing hobbling around in the house,” in the words of one witness, Feras was unable to comply with the officer’s demands. In an apparent effort to get this injured, distressed individual to comply with orders, the police electrocuted him.
According to the LBPD press release, “the officer utilized verbal commands, an electronic control device, an impact weapon, and physical force to gain compliance but was unsuccessful.” Eyewitnesses reported Feras was tasered twice.
Next, the LBPD officer fired four shots, rapid fire, to kill the young man. One neighbor reported that paramedics were doing chest compressions on his body, but they were “just pumping blood out of holes.” The body of Feras Morad was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A “security hold” placed on the case by the LBPD prevented “the dissemination of any information.” In other words, Feras’s family was not notified that police had killed their beloved son and brother. His sister received the horrifying news on facebook.
Long Beach has a history of executing unarmed teenagers on suspicion of minor or imaginary crimes. LBPD officer Jeffrey A. Meyer killed 19-year-old Hector Morejon last month, on April 23, 2015, on suspicion of trespassing in a vacant apartment with four of his friends. After a foot pursuit in the early morning of November 19, 2013, LBPD officers killed 19-year-old Tyler Woods by firing over 50 rounds into his kneeling body.
In the case of Feras Morad, the LBPD press release claims “the suspect was acting erratically,” and “the suspect continued to behave irrationally,” before “the suspect walked toward the officer” and “the suspect advanced more rapidly.” The officer “perceived the suspect was now a threat,” so the officer assaulted Feras with an electronic weapon, "the suspect again advanced," "an officer involved shooting occurred," and police "took the suspect into custody."
The LBPD referred to Feras Morad as a “suspect” seven times in their press release. What was he suspected of? His friends harbored no suspicions—he was in visible distress and in need of medical attention for his wounds from his fall. As emergency personnel removed them from the scene, two of his friends “continued to scream that Feras was unarmed and in need of help.”
Reasonable adults on the scene viewed Feras not as a suspect but as an “intoxicated child” whom “ten people from this neighborhood could have gotten down on the ground and into an ambulance for help. He needed help. He didn’t need to die.”
The LBPD press release described Feras Morad as “violent,” and when the Long Beach Press-Telegram released his name, they reported, “witnesses said they had gotten into a fight with the man in their apartment that lasted 10 minutes before he broke loose and jumped through the glass of a second-story window.” However, none of the witnesses who were actually in the apartment confirm this story. In their words released via the Justice for Feras facebook page, “Morad did not threaten the officer. He did not physically swing, attack, or verbally indicate aggression toward the police officer or anyone else.”
To answer the question of whether the use of lethal force was justified, NBC 4 interviewed a neighbor witness who said the officer made a decision that he had no other choice “after two tasers and a fall from a second story did zero.” An independent journalist on the street recorded the NBC interview from a distance and has published video under the hashtag #CanIGetAWitness, revealing that NBC chopped up bits of sentences to create a conversation that never happened. The witness describes how Feras, with his hands in the air, “was all bloody from head to toe; it was quite a scene.” The broadcast version of the interview then spliced in the same witness saying “he was acting very aggressive, yeah,” to support the police narrative that Feras was violent. View the video comparison: https://www.facebook.com/richard.florence.56/videos/10205186080586666/
The NBC broadcast also authoritatively punctuated the witness statement with a voiceover noting that Feras “kept walking toward the officer, who was by himself.” If the officer felt so threatened by the bloody fall victim advancing towards him, why couldn’t he have backed up 20 feet himself? Or the officer could have run away to protect himself. Feras was wandering aimlessly. He was in need of medical attention and consoling, not aggressive assault by heavily-weaponized police.
The police officer who murdered Feras was not, in fact, alone. Fire department spokesman Brian Fisk told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that firefighters were dispatched to the scene one minute in advance of police. Firefighters have strength in numbers and are trained to rescue people from dangerous situations. Of the Long Beach Fire Department, the people ask, why did Feras Morad not qualify as a victim worthy of medical attention and protection from police terrorism?
This is a tragedy that could have been avoided by a display of empathy, love, and compassion. If your friend has a bad trip, please do not call the police. Offer them water and encouragement. It is important to show love, be positive, and demonstrate that nobody is against the person. In this case, neighbors have stated how it would have been possible to intervene, so you can always strategize with the immediate community to make a plan that keeps both the distressed individual and bystanders safe.
One neighbor mentioned that the apartment Feras fell from is “bad juju.” Two years ago, another girl died upstairs in the same apartment unit from which Feras defenestrated while on mushrooms. The girl was supposedly locked in a room and three male friends were unable to break down the door to get to her. It was termed a suicide, a claim dismissed by the neighbor who reported she was an Honor roll student, three days from graduation, with a new car and a bright future. A second neighbor also confirmed that a girl died in the same apartment of what he heard was an overdose. (The author has been unable to verify this story via news accounts.)
The most recent victim of police murder in Long Beach was also an Honor roll student. Feras Morad maintained a 3.9 GPA at Moorpark College and planned to transfer to CSU Long Beach in the fall. A 2013 graduate of El Camino Real Charter High School in Woodland Hills, Feras was a speech and debate champion studying to become a lawyer. Thousands of people are mourning the tragic loss of their son, brother, cousin, classmate, teammate, and friend Feras. Thousands more are reeling as they learn the news, stunned at the reality that their own family member or peer from school could be murdered by police at the scene of a medical emergency. A candlelight vigil to celebrate the life of Feras Morad will be held on Wednesday, June 3 at 8:00 PM in Warner Center Park (5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Woodland Hills).
Feras Morad was unarmed, injured, semi-blind without his glasses, and tripping on psychedelics when the Long Beach Police Department labeled him a “suspect” in an unknown crime. He was tased and tortured with other “less-lethal” devices before being killed by either four shots (according to witness statements to media) or three shots (according to interviews with his friends) fired from about twelve to twenty feet away by the LBPD on the scene to “protect and serve.” #StopKillerCops
#CanIGetAWitness NBC chopping up words to make up a conversation that never happened. https://www.facebook.com/richard.florence.56/videos/10205186080586666/
Justice for Feras Morad https://www.facebook.com/justice4feras
Long Beach Police Department. “OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING,” 28 May 2015. http://www.longbeach.gov/common/templates/dept-press-release.aspx?id=61067
Tse, Carman. “Police Shoot And Kill Unarmed College Student Needing Medical Attention,” LAist, 31 May 2015. http://laist.com/2015/05/31/feras_morad_shooting.php
Yee, Greg. “Man killed by Long Beach police was nationally ranked debater from Woodland Hills,” Long Beach Press-Telegram, 29 May 2015. http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20150529/man-killed-by-long-beach-police-was-nationally-ranked-debater-from-woodland-hills
Yee, Greg. “Man who may have been on drugs dies after Long Beach officer-involved shooting,” Long Beach Press-Telegram, 28 May 2015. http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20150528/man-who-may-have-been-on-drugs-dies-after-long-beach-officer-involved-shooting
Candlelight Vigil to Celebrate the Life of Feras Morad https://www.facebook.com/events/413130255555995/
Feras Morad Family Fund http://www.gofundme.com/vuxmz4