Community pressure has caused a New York Police Department officer to decline a “Cop of the Year” award due to his involvement in the shooting death of a 16-year-old, who witnesses say was unarmed.
NYPD Sgt. Mourad Mourad, along with officer Jovaniel Cordova, is accused of wrongfully shooting Kimani Gray seven times last March in Brooklyn. Though the cops, who were in plainclothes, claim that the teen pointed a gun at them, witnesses including family and friends maintain that the teen was not carrying a weapon.
Despite the controversy surrounding him, Mourad was to be honored his department as “Cop of the Year” by the NYPD Muslim Officers Society. But due to community pressure, including a letter to the organization, Mourad refused the award and did not attend the ceremony.
Gray’s family and their supporters were outraged by the group’s choice to honor Mourad.
“It’s an insult to the family and the community,” said former city council member Charles Barron told New York’s Amsterdam News. “There has been a pattern in the Police Department to reward cops who killed our Black youth.”
The Muslim Officers Society has not commented on the backlash, but previously defended their decision to award Mourad.
“He’s done a lot of work taking down criminals and taking a lot of guns and drugs off the street,” one member told the New York Daily News. Mourad had also been honored by the department in 2011 with an award for outstanding police work.
In a letter calling for the NYPD Muslim Officers Society to rescind their decision, organizers with the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition wrote, “We find it unconscionable that he would be considered for an award. The Muslim community is a community that stands up for the civil rights of others and is sensitive to the plight of marginalized communities who suffer the abuses of the NYPD.”
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time Mourad has been under investigation.
According to ThinkProgress:
Mourad has been on the force in both Staten Island and Brooklyn for nine years. In the aftermath of the shooting, the New York Daily News discovered he’d been named in three other civil rights lawsuits against the force. The allegations in the lawsuits include wrongful arrests, illegal stops, and the unnecessary use of force. In total, the lawsuits have cost the department $215,000 in settlements.
Mourad was briefly put on administrative duties after the shooting while the NYPD performed an internal investigation. He has not faced any charges, and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson has yet to decide whether his office will move forward with the case. The Gray family has taken action by filing their own lawsuit against Mourad, Cordova and the NYPD this April.
(Photo: Kimani Gray via Facebook)