The (painful) show can go on for the mother of Mohamed Bah.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Laurence L. Love dismissed fully the Article 78 petition filed by New York Police Department Detective Edwin Mateo. The detective tried to block the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) from further investigating his role in the 2012 murder of Mohamed Bah.
Mateo believed that eight years is too long to wait for an investigation. Love said that there was “no formal statute of limitations on commencing a CCRB investigation.”
Hawa Bah, Mohamed’s mother, was happy with the court’s decision.
“As the court recognized yesterday, Mateo never should have brought this lawsuit in the first place,” said Bah in a statement. “It’s outrageous that he forced me back into court for what was nothing more than a last ditch attempt to avoid facing any accountability for murdering my son. Ultimately, I blame Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD for this delay in what has already been a very long and painful process of seeking answers and justice for Mohamed.”
In February 2020 Hawa Bah submitted a complaint to the CCRB against all the officers involved in her son’s murder. She has spent much of her time calling for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea to fire the officers
“Detective Mateo and all of the other officers involved in murdering my son should have been fired years ago but the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio refused to discipline them, allowing all but one to resign,” said Bah.
Both the NYPD and the mayor’s office didn’t respond to AmNews’ requests for comment.
On Sept. 25, 2012, 28-year-old Mohamed Bah, an immigrant from Guinea, was shot by the police after they responded to a 911 call. After displaying odd behavior, Hawa Bah called 911 and asked for an ambulance.
The police showed up first.
Despite Hawa’s pleas, the officers—who were part of the Emergency Services Unit—forced their way into the home without a warrant and drew guns on Mohamed. Police stated that he was holding a knife when they shot him eight times. Evidence showed that then Officer Edwin Mateo fired the last shot at point-blank range while Bah was still on the ground. Hawa won a civil suit in 2018, which ruled that now Dt. Mateo was liable in the shooting of Mohamed and Lt. Michael Licitra was liable for failed supervision. The officers weren’t charged criminally. The NYPD Firearms Discharge Review Board said it was a lawful shooting.
The city eventually settled the case for $1.9 million after numerous appeals by the de Blasio administration.
Marquez Claxton of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance said that the city, the state, and the federal criminal justice systems have failed Hawa, but her steadfastness in her efforts to seek some justice for her son needs to be praised.
“Hawa Bah has been consistent with her demands for justice and accountability for the killing of her son,” said Claxton. “Her family has been victimized not only by police violence but by the institutional dysfunction that denies the victims of state sponsored criminality a path toward true justice. The Bah family, like so many others, has been forced to seek civil remedy which tends to be highly subjective and unnecessarily convoluted. The government goal is to frustrate the victims with a protracted process that will not provide effective change or holistic justice.
“The CCRB process has proven to be inadequate in holding police officers accountable, but they are a necessary option to obtain additional information and evidence,” continued Claxton. “Perhaps, like the Garner family, the Bah family can obtain additional evidence and support to demand a judicial inquiry where the other involved parties will be subjected to a direct examination.”
As for Hawa Bah, the goal remains the same.
“Now that Dt. Mateo’s lawsuit has been dismissed, the CCRB must move quickly to complete its investigation and bring charges against him,” said Bah. “Most importantly, Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Shea must fire him for murdering my son. It is a threat to public safety that he is still an NYPD officer.”