PHOENIX — Phoenix City Council voted Wednesday to pay a $5 million settlement to the family of Muhammad Muhaymin, who died after being restrained by officers in 2017.
Muhaymin was homeless and had struggled with mental illness. Phoenix police were called to prevent the 43-year-old from entering a public restroom with his small dog.
Afterward, officers decided to arrest Muhaymin on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.
He said he couldn’t breathe and begged for Allah as officers continued to pin him on the ground. Video shows one officer apparently with his knee on Muhaymin's head and neck.
The city council voted 7-2 in favor of the $5 million payment.
"They realize there was some significant wrongdoing on the behalf of the Phoenix Police Department," said Mussallina Muhaymin, Muhammad’s sister.
The settlement ends the family's civil rights lawsuit, which claimed police brutality and wrongful death. They plan to continue to push for police reform including ending qualified immunity.
"It is like step one of many steps on how I envision justice what justice looks like," Mussalina said.
Muhaymin's death had been compared to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. However, the officers in Muhaymin’s case were not fired nor criminally charged.
The settlement money will go to Muhaymin's two children. His teen daughter wants to become a lawyer to work to improve social justice.