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ADC Calls for Investigation into Miami-Beach Police Department Shooting of Unarmed Arab-American Tourist

posted on: Jun 16, 2009

Today, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed its grave concern over alleged actions by the Miami Beach Police Department (MBPD) whose officers were involved in a shooting that left 29 year-old Husien Shehada dead. Shehada, a native of Woodbridge, Virginia, was on vacation with his friends and family when he was shot and killed in the early morning hours of Monday June 15. Media and eyewitness reports indicate that officers were looking for someone with a gun before approaching Mr. Shehada according to the Washington Post. The victim was unarmed when he was shot by the officers, and the Miami Herald indicated that the Miami-Beach Police Department (MBPD) is refusing to release any information on the shooting. More distributing are allegations that officers asked witnesses at the scene whether they knew if Shehada was “Arabic” or if they heard him “speak Arabic.”

ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “Our prayers and thoughts are with the victim’s family during this difficult time. We call on local, state, and federal authorities to conduct a complete and thorough investigation of this tragic killing and expect that the findings be made public as quickly as possible. Police brutality, regardless of the victim’s race or origin, will not be tolerated. ADC will be working with the victim’s family, legal counsel, and the proper state and federal authorities to ensure that justice is served.”

ADC notes that this is not the first incident of alleged police brutality in the Miami area. In October 2005 the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) whose officers allegedly shot a driver in the chest and then severely beat him and two passengers after a traffic stop for an expired license plate.