Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bangladeshi killed in Detroit

From the Citizen:

Chanting “We want justice,” over 100 men and boys from the Bangladesh community stood outside City Hall last Friday protesting how police handled a recent homicide.

Community members claimed police left behind the body of Rafiqul Islam at Detroit Receiving Hospital without first identifying him or informing his family.

Islam, 46, was shot to death last Tuesday at about 10:30 p.m. in front of his house.

Police say it could have been a botched robbery or carjacking attempt. Neighbors called 911 after hearing gunshots.

When police arrrived, Islam did not have his wallet or identification on him. He was taken away by ambulance while police tried to track the suspected gunman and was later pronounced dead at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Witnesses say a suspect was seen fleeing from the area and got into a dark van at Ellery.

On Friday, family, friends and concerned members of the Bangladesh community held funeral services and then went to City Hall to protest.

Their anger seemed to come from two issues, the police allegedly abandoning Islam at the hospital and previous shootings of members from the community.

Babul Miah said officers “spoke down” to the family and had an “attitude.”

Interim Police Chief Ron Mathias explained to the crowd that when police arrived they had to act fast to try to save Islam’s life and also hunt for his killer. He said police did not even know that Islam was in front of his house in the first few minutes they were there.

He said no matter, this case will be handled just like any other homicide.

“I can’t make promises we are going to catch someone or not,” he said.

Investigators have very little to go on in this case. State police are helping in the gathering of forensics evidence.

City Councilmember Abdul Algazali told the crowd that he would make a resolution to investigate how police officers conducted themselves during the investigation.

At one point in the rally, held during bitter cold temperatures, a hearse drove up in front of City Hall. A man got out of the hearse and opened the back door of the hearse, where a casket could be seen. It was not clear if the casket contained the body of Islam.

Another man from the crowd immediately closed the door and the hearse drove off.

Islam had just returned from a downtown restaurant where he was part of the wait staff. He is married and has two sons.

This is the first homicide of the year.

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