Do the Right Thing, Preet Bharara!

Call to Action: Call the DOJ And ask for a Full Federal Investigation!

Call to Action: Call the DOJ And ask for a Full Federal Investigation!

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus is participating in a collaborative interfaith effort today, February 9th 2017, to mobilize as many people as possible to call US Attorney Preet Bharara and ask for a full federal investigation into the murder of Mohamed Bah. The number to call is 212-637-2200.

I am a mother of three boys – two are grown and one is still a child. I know what it is to give birth to a boy and raise him to manhood.  

On January 12th, I participated in a vigil for another mother’s son who was stolen from her, a woman whose heart is shattered. I hugged Hawa Bah tightly, and felt her whole body shake in my arms with grief.

Hawa Bah, affectionately called Mama Bah, is the mother of Mohamed Bah, a young man who was murdered by NYPD police officers on September 25th, 2012. Mohamed was just 28.

This was the story Mama Bah shared at the vigil:

Her son was sick that day, in physical and emotional distress, and Mama Bah was so worried that she called 911. NYPD police officers arrived before any sign of an ambulance. Despite Mama Bah’s screams that her son was sick, the officers forced their way into her son’s apartment.  They did not have a warrant and had absolutely no cause or right to force an entry. They went in with their guns drawn and shot Mohamed Bah eight times, killing him on the spot. It all happened so quickly that there was nothing she could do. There is evidence that the last shot was fired at close range, with Mohamed lying on the ground.  Mama Bah said that the police claim that Mohamed had a knife and threatened them, but no knife has ever been found. There has never been a federal investigation into this case, and the officers in question have not been held accountable in any way.

Mama Bah has kept telling her story since the day of her son’s death, and will keep doing so until she gets justice.

Councilman Brad Lander, who is my friend and a devoted dad to two children, spoke at the vigil. He said he had met Mama Bah several times since 2012, and commended her for her continued struggle. He said, “Most cases where police officers are accused of murder are very complicated, but this case is absolutely straightforward. A mother called 911 for an ambulance for her sick son, and police arrived and shot him dead. This is an open and shut case, and I join Mama Bah in demanding justice.”

I too spoke that day at the vigil, filled with rage that this mother has been waiting five years to get any kind of response to her question, “Why was my son killed?” 

We all stood outside One Saint Andrews Plaza where the Department of Justice is housed, and I shouted a message to US Attorney Preet Bharara, a message I will repeat here:

Mr. Bharara, You and I have so much in common. We each have three beloved children, we both hail from a culture that supposedly reveres mothers, and we both care deeply about justice. Your name means Love. Live up to that name and do the right thing — Meet with Mama Bah. Hug her and feel her unbearable grief. And explain why justice has been denied to her for five years.  Apologize to Mama Bah for the delay, and immediately start a federal investigation into this case so that she will finally have answers to her question and hopefully, justice will be served. If not justice, Mama Bah at least deserves closure.  I am hoping and praying that you are moved to act. 

#MohamedBah #WeAreOne #BlackLivesMatter

This piece was originally published in the Huffington Post.