Updated: Mar 8, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 15, 2017
Contact: Yul-san Liem, firstname.lastname@example.org, 347.676.1878
In response to the civil trial jury's verdict finding NYPD ESU Officer Edwin Mateo liable for excessive force and NYPD ESU Lt. Michael Licitra liable for failure to supervise in the 2012 NYPD killing of Mohamed Bah, the Justice Committee's Co-Directors, Loyda Colon and Yul-san Liem, released the following statement:
We want to make it very clear that finding Lt. Michael Licitra and Office Edwin Mateo liable in this case does not equal justice or accountability. Anyone who says it does is part of the problem. The civil suit process is part of the system that shields police officers from accountability, thus allowing NYPD violence to continue and sending a message to officers that they are above the law. Damages awarded by this verdict - if the defendants' attorneys are not successful in overturning it - will come out of the City's budget, i.e. taxpayers' pockets. The NYPD and individual officers will feel no consequences, financial or otherwise, which is yet another injustice done to Mohamed, his family and New Yorkers.
It is an outrage that Mohamed's family had no real answers until they sat through this civil trial, during which they were forced to listen to the City attorneys attempt to criminalize their loved one and Mohamed's killers lie again and again on the stand. Mohamed's family fought for half a decade to bring to light the truth about his murder, only to be shut out and failed by the state and federal criminal justice system. Civil suits - which reduce human lives to dollar figures and offer no accountability - should not be the first time a grieving family whose loved one has been killed by the NYPD has the opportunity to have some of their questions answered.
In spite of the many forms of state violence Mohamed's family has faced, Mohamed's mother, Hawa Bah, has committed herself to fighting for police accountability and systemic change, and we thank her for her courage and leadership. We stand with Mohamed's family in their demands that Lt. Michael Licitra and Officer Edwin Mateo be fired and face criminal charges for their actions and that the practice of deploying NYPD officers as first responders for those suffering from mental health crises be ended.