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Utah residents protest shooting of Somali teenager

Utah residents protest shooting of Somali teenager

USA

Hundreds of people have gathered in Salt Lake City in the US state of Utah to protest the shooting of a 17-year-old Somali refugee by police.

The teenager, Abdi Mohamed, who was shot twice in the chest by police on Saturday night was critically wounded.

Local media however report that Mohammed is now out of coma, citing family sources.

Because of past unfortunate incidents of controversial police shootings nationwide, the release of the body camera video could help allay community concerns about transparency and accountability

Officers say the incident occurred in downtown Salt Lake City when Mohamed and another person attacked somebody with metal sticks, the AP news agency reported.

On Monday night, protesters held signs saying “Stop killer cops” as they questioned why the police had to use lethal force to combat the teenager and his partner.

The Monday night protest in Utah – where speakers urged people to stand up to the police and demand accountability – highlighted the latest flashpoint in discussions about the use of force by police, especially with minority victims.

Authorities have so far withheld footage of the incident despite calls for the police to release the video from the body cameras worn by the officers involved in the incident. They say it would be prejudicial to the ongoing investigation.

“While there is body camera footage, there is currently an active and open investigation into this matter, and release of the body camera recordings could reasonably be expected to interfere with that investigation,” the police said in a statement.

Civil rights groups, however, say the police must release the tapes for transparency.

“Because of past unfortunate incidents of controversial police shootings nationwide, the release of the body camera video could help allay community concerns about transparency and accountability,” said Nihad Awad, the National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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