Outrage over killing of black teen over rap music complaint | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Outrage over killing of black teen over rap music complaint

Associated Press
1393284_web1_1393284-9d8254e8599c43b889f05010579c7c5b
This undated photo provided by Serina Rides shows her son Elijah Al-Amin. Hundreds of people including Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker spoke out on Twitter this week after Al-Amin, a 17-year-old black youth, was killed at suburban convenience store, allegedly by Michael Adams, a white man who has said he felt threatened by the boy’s rap music, on July 4, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz. Adams was charged Tuesday, July 9, 2019, with first-degree murder. (Serina Rides via AP)
1393284_web1_1393284-f98abc0de80442bfb0c8d0403785f1bd
A makeshift memorial for Elijah Al-Amin is set up at a local Circle K store for the death of the stabbing victim Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz. Peoria police arrested 27-year-old Michael Adams on suspicion of first-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Al-Amin, who was stabbed in his throat and back inside the store on July 4. Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate are speaking out on Twitter about the killing of a 17-year-old Muslim youth at a suburban convenience store by a white man who said he was threatened by the boy’s rap music. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
1393284_web1_1393284-61bba2ab8a9647c2b4690c3deab8e4fd
A makeshift memorial is set up for Elijah Al-Amin at a local Circle K store for the death of the stabbing victim Tuesday, July 9, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz. Peoria police arrested 27-year-old Michael Adams on suspicion of first-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Al-Amin, who was stabbed in his throat and back inside the store on July 4. Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate are speaking out on Twitter about the killing of a 17-year-old Muslim youth at a suburban convenience store by a white man who said he was threatened by the boy’s rap music. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
1393284_web1_1393284-0d35c42e15524494aee75fa3d1c72093
This undated booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff Office shows 27-year-old Michael Adams who has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. Adams who was recently released from prison was arrested in the fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old boy found face down by fuel pumps at a metro Phoenix convenience store. (Maricopa County Sheriff Office via AP)

PHOENIX — Hundreds of people including a presidential candidate spoke out on Twitter this week after a 17-year-old black youth was killed at suburban convenience store, allegedly by a white man charged Tuesday with first-degree murder who has said he felt threatened by the boy’s rap music.

Family members have told local media that Elijah Al-Amin would have turned 18 in two weeks and was looking forward to his last year in high school.

Friends and family hugged Monday at the Islamic Community Center in Tempe, where prayers for the teen were held before burial in Maricopa County.

A modest makeshift memorial outside the convenience store where Al-Amin was stabbed was still erected on Tuesday, with a pair of white porcelain angels, fresh flowers and burning calendars — including one dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Catholic patron saint of Mexico.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said it filed a direct complaint Tuesday charging Michael Adams, 27, in the Thursday morning killing. First-degree murder carries a sentence of life behind bars or death.

Adams is next scheduled to appear in court July 15.

The Twitter hashtag #JusticeForElijah began trending over the Independence Day weekend after police in the suburban Phoenix city of Peoria arrested Adams. He had been released from state prison two days before.

“Another one of our children has been murdered in a heinous and unprovoked way—the DOJ must investigate this hate crime immediately,” Democratic candidate Cory Booker wrote on his Twitter account Monday. “RIP Elijah. #JusticeForElijah.”

Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American civil rights activist from Brooklyn, New York, called the crime “outrageous” and said it recalled the 2012 killing of 17-year-old high school student Jordan Davis in Jacksonville, Florida. “Rest in power Elijah Al-Amin,” she wrote.

Michael Dunn, who is white, was later convicted of first-degree murder in that earlier killing, a shooting that erupted during an argument about loud music coming from a car carrying Davis and other black teenagers.

In the Arizona attack, first responders discovered Al-Amin collapsed outside the Peoria Circle K store’s gas pumps and took him to a hospital, where he died. Several people inside the store had watched as Al-Amin was stabbed in the throat and the back before he ran outside.

Officers found Adams nearby with a pocket knife and blood on his body. Adams told them he had felt threatened by the rap music coming from Al-Amin’s vehicle.

Adams’ attorney, Jacie Cotterell, told the judge at his initial appearance hearing that her client was mentally ill and released without any medication, “no holdover meds, no way to care for himself.”

Cotterell said during the videotaped court hearing that “this is a failing on the part of the (Arizona) Department of Corrections.”

Adam’s bond was maintained at $1 million. He had been freed July 2 after serving a 13-month sentence for aggravated assault.

Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said in a statement that “the tragic death is terrible, and Mr. Adams will have to answer for his alleged actions.”

The statement said that when Adams was released he “was not designated seriously mentally ill” and that once the department transported him from the state prison complex in Yuma where he had served his sentence to Maricopa County it “had no further legal authority over him.”

Many of the people commenting on Twitter said that claims about Adams’ mental illness should not be used to explain away what they believe was a hate crime.

There is no hate crime statute in Arizona, but a judge’s determination that a hate crime has occurred can toughen sentencing.

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.