Photos: Justice Committee\Twitter
The attorneys of NYPD Detective Edwin Mateo presented oral arguments for their Article 78 proceeding against the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) in an attempt to block the CCRB from further investigating Dt. Mateo for his role in the murder of Mohamed Bah in 2012.
In February of 2020, Mohamed’s mother, Hawa Bah, submitted a complaint to the CCRB against all of the NYPD officers responsible for her son’s. For years, Mrs. Bah has been calling for Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Shea to fire all of the officers who killed Mohamed Bah.
“I am outraged that NYPD Detective Edwin Mateo is continuing to push his lawsuit to try to get my CCRB complaint thrown out so that he can avoid facing any accountability for murdering my son, Mohamed Bah,” Hawa Bah said. “Yet again, I am being forced back into court for this baseless lawsuit and I blame Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD for this. Dt. Mateo and all of the other officers who murdered my son should have been fired years ago but the NYPD refused to discipline them and Mayor de Blasio allowed this to happen. Now, Dt. Mateo and his police union attorneys are trying to kill my last chance at holding him accountable. It is like they are murdering my son all over again.”
“In 2012, then-Officer Mateo, along with Officers Andrew Kress, Michael Green, and Joseph McCormack burst into my son’s apartment and shot him eight times,” Bah said. “Lt. Michael Licitra was their supervisor and did nothing stop the violence against Mohamed. Mateo fired the final shot that killed my son at close range, execution-style, while Mohamed lay on the ground. In 2018, the jury for Mohamed’s civil suit found Mateo liable for using excessive force against my son and Licitra liable for failure to supervise. The evidence of NYPD wrong-doing has been clear from the beginning but instead of getting these officers off the streets where they can hurt other Black and brown children, Mayor de Blasio and the NYPD have forced taxpayers to pay their salaries for years. The NYPD’s murder of my son and the lack of accountability clearly shows why the NYPD must be defunded and completely removed from mental health response. This cowardly, baseless lawsuit should be dismissed so that the CCRB can complete its investigation and bring charges against Dt. Mateo and Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Shea must fire him for murdering my son.”
“What Dt. Edwin Mateo, the NYPD, and Mayor de Blasio are putting Mohamed Bah’s mother and family through is malicious at best,” said Justice Committee Executive Director Loyda Colon. “It’s sickening to hear de Blasio talk about justice for out-of-state cases when he has done nothing to ensure accountability in the Bah case, which predates George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown. The Article 78 Dt. Mateo is trying to use to avoid being questioned by the CCRB is nothing more than a cheap trick by a desperate NYPD officer that knows he is guilty. It’s a last-minute hail mary to avoid discipline. The Article 78 must be dismissed so that the CCRB can move their investigation forward and substantiate Mrs. Bah’s complaint. We will accept nothing less. Above all else Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Shea need to fire Edwin Mateo for murdering Mohamed Bah.”
“When Mohamed Bah was in crisis, his mother called for called for help – and was met with law enforcement, who shot and killed her son,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. “They denied Mohamed his humanity and now, they’re attempting, again, to deny his family some semblance of justice. This lawsuit is a desperate effort to block transparency and evade accountability, and should be immediately dismissed.”
“Mohamed Bah should be alive today,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “The completely reckless, aggressive, and ineffective actions of the officers who invaded Mr. Bah’s home without a warrant, after his mother pleaded with them not to and to instead let her speak with her son, have taken Mr. Bah from his family. For nine years Mrs. Bah has been fighting to hold these officers accountable. All of the officers were allowed to put in for retirement without facing consequences, with the expectation of Dt. Mateo, who is still on the NYPD payroll, and is being protected by the NYPD and the Mayor. I implore the Mayor to take action and that CCRB be allowed to substantiate charges against this officer and give the Bah family a small piece of justice.”
On September 25, 2012, Mohamed Bah, a Muslim immigrant from Guinea, was killed by the NYPD after his mother, Hawa Bah, called 911 for an ambulance and NYPD officers arrived first. Despite Mrs. Bah pleading with them not to, Emergency Services Unit officers forced their way into her son’s apartment at 113 Morningside Ave. – against NYPD protocol and without a warrant – with guns drawn and shot him eight times, killing him. Evidence shows Officer Edwin Mateo fired the last shot at close range, while Bah lay on the ground. Both the state and federal criminal justice systems failed to hold the officers involved accountable, but in 2018, the jury for the civil trial found Mateo liable for excessive force and Licitra liable for failure to supervise. The de Blasio administration appealed the decision, but – thanks to Mrs. Bah’s leadership and citywide organizing – was forced to the table to settle the case.
In February of 2020, Hawa Bah filed a CCRB complaint against all of the officers involved in the murder of her son. She has since learned that all of the officers except Dt. Edwin Mateo have retired, without ever facing any consequences for killing her son. The CCRB is the last possible pathway for the Bah family to ensure some level of accountability. However, Dt. Mateo is suing to prevent the CCRB from completing its investigation. Mrs. Bah is calling for the Article 78 to be dismissed and demanding Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Shea to fire Dt. Mateo for killing her son.