Riot erupts in Salt Lake City after police shoot teen allegedly holding just a broomstick

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Riot police were called out to downtown Salt Lake City Saturday night after protesters responded to the police shooting of a teen allegedly holding just a broomstick.

Abdi Mohamed, 17, remains in critical condition after being shot three times by police. Here's what the police claimed happened: Officers responding to a separate call were alerted to an "assault in progress" downtown. They came on the scene and saw two males "with metal objects attacking a male victim." The officers ordered the alleged attackers to drop their weapons. One did, but Mohamed, "continued to advance on victim and was shot by officers."

And here's what happened according to Selam Mohammad, 19, a witness on the scene, per the Salt Lake City Tribune: Mohamed was in an altercation, and was holding part of a broomstick, Mohammad said. The officers "told him to put it down, once, and then "started shooting him as soon as he turned around," he said Police fired four times and that the teenager was hit in the chest and stomach, Mohammad said.


He also told station Fox13 this:

We were trying to break it up before the police even came, but the police ran in on foot and pulled their guns out already. They already had them, like, as soon as he was running he was already grabbing for his gun, not even trying to Tase him or anything.

Reuters reported that "scores of police" were deployed downtown Saturday; they were confronted by "crowds of angry onlookers hurling abuse, rocks and bottles at the officers." Authorities said four people were arrested for civil disorder. The two officers involved in the shooting have both had been placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation. Both were wearing body cameras, but the footage was not being released yet because of a probe led by the Unified Police Department.

Fox 13 quoted relatives as saying Mohamed moved to Utah from Kenya about 10 years ago. He has a son.


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.