US Muslims seek probe into death of Somali teen as possible hate crime


Muslim groups are asking for federal and state investigations into the death of a teenager who police say was intentionally struck by a sports utility vehicle driver outside a Kansas City community center.

The FBI is investigating the death as a potential hate crime.

FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said Friday that the agency is working with Kansas City police and “have opened this matter as a federal civil rights investigation as a potential hate crimes violation”.

Police say the driver rammed the teenager Thursday as he was getting into a car outside the Somali Center of Kansas City, nearly severing his legs. The teen died in a hospital.

Police said Friday the death is being investigated as a homicide. A 30-year-old suspect was arrested after he tried to flee on foot.

The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and a locally based Heartland Muslim Council issued separate news releases Friday morning calling for investigations.

The names of the victim and suspect have not been released.

Thousands have been protesting against the decision of a Staten Island grand jury which had said it would not indict a white police officer in the death of a black man.

The jury declined to bring charges in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.

The decision struck many protesters as a chilling and frustrating repetition of events in Ferguson, where a grand jury last month said it would not indict the white officer who killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old.

The Brown case ignited waves of protests and a national debate over the treatment that African American men receive at the hands of law enforcement officers.

The country has been confronted with a series of images of unarmed black men who have died after encounters with police: video of Garner grappling with officers on a sidewalk, pictures of Brown’s body lying in a street and surveillance footage of a black 12-year-old in Cleveland, Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot after a police officer mistook his BB gun for a firearm.