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Phoenix officer explains why he put his shin on man's neck in unsealed court documents

Posted at 7:43 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 21:43:27-05

PHOENIX — Many details about the police actions leading up to the Phoenix police in-custody death of Muhammad Muhaymin are coming to light in federal court records made public Wednesday.

Last month, Phoenix City Council approved a $5 million settlement for Muhaymin's children to end the wrongful death and excessive force case.

Muhaymin's case has been called Phoenix's "I can't breathe" case. Before his 2017 death, Muhaymin uttered the same words as George Floyd did before Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020.

On the day he died, Muhaymin wanted to use the public bathroom at a community center, but a Phoenix city worker blocked him because Muhaymin had a chihuahua with him.

Police were called, and the city worker initially told officers Muhaymin did not assault him. According to a deposition with that employee, he later change his account and filed city incident reports claiming he was pushed that day and had been threatened before by Muhaymin.

In another newly released deposition, Officer Oswald Grenier admitted he had his shin on Muhaymin's neck during the arrest that ended in the man's death. Grenier claimed his shin had moved from Muhaymin's shoulder because "he was moving around." Grenier also said he didn't put weight on Muhamin's neck, agreeing with a plaintiff's attorney that using weight would have been "illegal" and "excessive force."

Phoenix police repeatedly claimed in court records that the officers were justified in arresting Muhaymin on an old misdemeanor warrant that day, that the man resisted, and officers did not use excessive force or break the law.