'Our entire community is devastated': Memorial service held at Tempe mosque for man shot by police




  • In US
  • 2022-10-01 00:37:49Z
  • By AZCentral | The Arizona Republic

Family and friends of 34-year-old Ali Osman, a man fatally shot by police Saturday evening, gathered at the Islamic Community Center of Tempe on Friday afternoon to pay their respects and pray following his passing.

On Saturday, two Phoenix patrol units were driving near 19th and Glendale avenues when their cars were struck by unknown items that caused damage, according to Sgt. Brian Bower, a spokesperson with Phoenix police. That man was later identified as Ali Osman.

After driving away and talking about what happened, the officers returned to the area to investigate. Bower said officers saw Osman throwing rocks at one of the patrol cars.

Police told Osman to stop, but he continued throwing rocks at the police officers.

Then, officers fatally shot Osman.

People attend a press conference after a memorial service for Ali Osman, 34, at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe on Sept.
People attend a press conference after a memorial service for Ali Osman, 34, at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe on Sept.  

Today, the Islamic Community Center of Tempe's courtyard was filled with family, friends, and community members in group prayer honoring the life of Osman. Following the service, his body was laid to rest at Al Rahma Muslim Cemetery near Maricopa.

"Our entire community is devastated by the death of Ali Osman," said Mohamed Arif, a board member of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects, following the memorial.

"In the Islamic faith, it is believed that when one person is killed, it is as if everyone in the whole world were killed, and when one person is saved, it is as if everyone in the whole world were saved," Arif said.

"Ali's life deserved to be saved that night," Arif said.

Through teary eyes and embraces, the grieving of Osman was powerfully held with the desire for answers from the Phoenix police.

"We're here today as a painful reminder that islamophobia and anti-blackness will leave no city untouched. We are asking the police department to be transparent with the family," said Azza Abuseif, Executive Director of the Arizona chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, following the service.

Azza Abuseif, executive director of CAIR Arizona, speaks during a press conference after a memorial service for Ali Osman, 34, at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe on Sept.
Azza Abuseif, executive director of CAIR Arizona, speaks during a press conference after a memorial service for Ali Osman, 34, at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe on Sept.  

On Wednesday, the family received Osman's body, and conducted a private autopsy Thursday morning, Quacy Smith, an attorney representing the Osman family, said at a press conference yesterday.

Today, Smith spoke of that autopsy and how it affected the family.

"We had an independent autopsy done of Ali yesterday, and it broke my heart when Halima (Ali's sister) said to me, 'I haven't even seen my brother yet. I don't even know if it's really him that's dead,'" Smith said.

Smith explained how he had to cover up as much as possible on the autopsy photos to show her her brother's face and confirm it was him.

At the news conference Thursday, Smith stated that preliminary information indicated Osman had been shot in the neck at least three times, though a fourth bullet may have struck him in the same spot.

The family is still awaiting the body camera footage that they have requested. According to Smith, the family has received no condolences or offers for easier coordination from the Phoenix Police Department.

Smith said they will continue their investigation today and "expect to receive the body camera footage sometime next week."

He also announced they will file a notice of claim against the city of Phoenix.

"We simply want transparency. We want accountability for what happened to Ali so that this doesn't happen to anyone else again. Throwing rocks should not be a death sentence in this city or in this country," Smith said.

Reach breaking news reporter Ellie Willard at ellie.willard@gannett.com or on Twitter @EllieWillardAZ.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Memorial service held for Ali Osman, man fatally shot by Phoenix police

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