Members of a local Bantu group met with the Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee last week, expect to meet with Mayor Lauren McLean on Monday and are planning a protest Tuesday following a police shooting involving one of its members.
The protest, set for July 13, will be silent, said Mana Mohamed, who is representing the Somali Bantu group. The city of Boise confirmed a meeting with McLean had been scheduled.
Mohamud Hassan Mkoma was shot by officers June 27. The three officers involved have been placed on paid leave. Police said they had received reports of a child abduction and they had reason to believe the child was in immediate danger, according to the original news release.
Community activists have said Mkoma was with his son and doesn’t speak English. They are asking police to turn over the body camera footage and 911 call from the incident. The child was in the vehicle with Mkoma when Mkoma was shot.
Bantu community members are also asking if the incident could have been handled differently, particularly for someone like Mkoma who struggles with mental health. Mkoma was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2014, Mohamed said, and there are questions about why police did not call a translator since Mkoma speaks Kizigua.
Boise Police thus far have refused to release the initial incident report to either the Bantu community members or the media. In an emailed statement to the Idaho Press the department said “Once we are able to discuss the investigation we will be happy to answer all of your questions and provide you with the police reports.”
Mkoma has been hospitalized for two weeks. Mkoma’s siblings said he would be in surgery on Saturday, according to Mohamed.
Bantu community members also want visitation for Mkoma’s family to be expanded, and for police to not be in the room at the hospital since he is in custody.
Police said they would see what they could do, Mohamed said.
“Our relationships with the refugee community have always been a priority for our department and will continue to be so,” the police statement said. “Chief Ryan Lee, our Refugee Liaison and many others from the department have been in close contact with the family for the last few weeks.”