MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) – Shock waves from the death of a Somali woman halfway across the country are being felt in Minnesota.
“It’s really sad because police are to be a force of safety,” said Ruwayda Mohamed, a Somali student at University of Minnesota. “People rely on them on call on them when they need help, but I think many black people don’t believe they can get that from that its very tragic and sad.”
Over the weekend, 36-year-old Shukri Said was shot by two officers in John’s Creek Georgia, after her family called police because she was suffering from a mental health crisis. Police say Said had a knife and officers used a Taser and foam impact round to de-escalate the situation. Still after using those methods, she refused to drop her weapon and the two officers opened fire. She died from her injuries at a nearby hospital.
“It’s no longer acceptable for police to respond to someone with a mental health crisis and that ends in an tragic killing like in this case,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The Minnesota chapter of the CAIR held a vigil at the Cedar Cultural Center to pray for Said and other victims of police shootings around the country. The group says officers need more training to handle people with mental illnesses and that the continued deaths of people of color, like Jamar Clark and Philando Castile, at the hands of police have to stop.
“We are concerned about how law enforcement acts when the crisis becomes difficult, but the person on the other side does not look like them, including them being African-Americans,” said Hussein.
In the end, local Somalis say police shouldn’t be judge, jury and executioner for someone they are supposed to help.
“When police who are supposed to be here to protect us and support us and we can’t even call on them, who can we call?” said Samia Abdi, a Somali student at University of Minnesota.