NEW YORK, NY — April 26, 2016 — In a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, lawyers for the Estate of Mohamed Bah filed a motion for sanctions against the City and the police officer defendants for the destruction of evidence in the case. On September 25, 2012, Mr. Bah was shot and killed by ESU officers when they responded to a call from his mother seeking assistance in taking her son, who was experiencing a mental health crisis, to a hospital. Mr. Bah was shot and killed while he was inside his Harlem apartment. Several key pieces of evidence have disappeared or were not produced by the Defendants during the course of discovery, including the following:
1. The clothes Mr. Bah was wearing when he was shot. Plaintiff’s forensic pathologist submitted an declaration stating that Mr. Bah’s clothes would have been useful in determining the circumstances of the shooting. The clothes were taken into police custody during the autopsy but have been destroyed;
2. The shirt worn by one ESU officer who claimed he was injured during the encounter. The shirt is now in a contaminated evidence storage facility. The shirt was never produced so that experts could inspect the shirt to determine whether there was any damage to the shirt that would be consistent with a knife attack;
3. The knife that Mr. Bah allegedly used during the incident. The knife was seized by the NYPD after the shooting of Mr. Bah. The knife was supposedly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but the City eventually admitted that the knife was in the same contaminated storage facility as the ESU shirt. The knife was never tested for fingerprints or the presence of DNA. Again, the knife was never produced for experts to inspect;
4. A section of the wall from Mr. Bah’s apartment that NYPD removed during their investigation into the shooting. The wall had a ballistic impact that would have been useful in determining the trajectory of the bullets that were shot at Mr. Bah. The section of the wall has been destroyed;
5. The Taser wires that shocked an ESU officer during the incident. After being shocked the officer yelled “shoot him, he’s stabbing me.” During his deposition, the officer admitted that when he said those words, Mr. Bah was not stabbing him or anyone else.
Commenting on the motion for sanctions, Randolph M. McLaughlin of Newman Ferrara LLP, counsel for the Bah family, stated “We have asked the Court to punish the Defendants for the willful and intentional destruction of evidence that would have assisted us in presenting the case to a jury. There is no excuse that has been offered as to why and how so much evidence disappeared.”