Momodou Lamin Sisay Hearing – February 5, 2021, 9 pm Eastern
Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Momodou Lamin Sisay
- Rapporteur Prof. Priscilla Ocen
- Commissioner Mr. Arturo Fournier Facio
- Mr Lare Sisay, father of Momodou Lamin Sisay
- Ms. Diminga George, aunt of Momodou Lamin Sisay
- Mr Abdul Jaiteh, attorney for the Sisay family
Priscilla Ocen 00:00
[Good evening] everyone. Welcome to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. These hearings are an opportunity by which witnesses can present accounts of the unjustified killings and maimings of Black people in in the United States by police officers, before an international panel of human rights experts. We will now begin the hearing in the case of Mamadou to say, My name is Priscilla Ocen. I’m a professor of law at Loyola law school in Los Angeles. I’m the rapporteur and moderator for the hearing for Mr. Sisay. Hearing and presiding over this hearing is Commissioner Fournier of Costa Rica. We have two witnesses. The first will be attorney Abdul Jaiteh, and the second will be Ms. Diminga George, Mr. Sisay’s aunt. There will be 50 minutes allocated for this hearing. Witnesses will testify, followed by questions from our Commissioner, Mr. Fournier. I will I will make a note of passage of time. Just to keep us on time I’ll know where we are at about 30 minutes and also again at when we hit the 45 minute mark. Apologies if I have to interrupt you in order to do so. I’ll try to avoid interrupting any interruptions if at all possible, Commissioner Fournier, I now present you our first witness, Abdul Jaiteh, the attorney for the family of Mr. Sisay. Mr. Jaiteh, can you just confirm your name for the record?
Abdul Jaiteh 01:45
Priscilla Ocen 01:47
and Mr. Jaiteh, do you attest or swear that the statements or testimony that you presented this commission today are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Abdul Jaiteh 02:01
Yes, ma’am. I do.
Priscilla Ocen 02:02
Great. Please proceed with your your comments.
Abdul Jaiteh 02:07
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Good evening, Commissioner Fournier. I thank all of you for participating today. In what’s been a very difficult past year with respect to police violence against people of African descent. I’ve prepared a statement that was previously submitted to the panel for their reference in the future. However, I am not conditioned to read from a prepared script. Therefore I will speak from my heart. From what I know about the unfortunate demise of Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay, I’m here today as counsel for the family. For the father, Mr. Lare Sisay, who is with us today. And the aunt, Ms. Diminga George. And the rest of the Sisay family. The wider family, the mother of the decedent. Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay, is Miriam, what, unfortunately, she passed away many years ago. Miss Auntie Diminga, essentially was the mother, who raised Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay. I apologize in advance. At some point should I get emotional about the issues before this commission? We’ve come a long way with respect to fighting for racial justice in America. And it’s never been an easy road. But we know the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice in the end. And I applaud the United Nations for allowing victims to come to this body and share their stories about what they’ve been going through. It’s is difficult oftentimes, we are not heard as people of color in our own communities. In the statement I’ve prepared and submitted to the commission. I touched on a little bit about the history of police violence and racism against Blacks. But they are experts on that issue. I might defer to those experts, and they have done a tremendous job in documenting about what we’ve been through. In order to understand police racism against people of African descent. We need to know where it began. We need to know where it began. It all started way during colonial times when they started shipping Africans across the ocean to the United States. At some point, when we earned our freedom, even then that’s when they started creating police forces to chase and hunt Black people down, arrest, capture or kill them. That’s where it started. That’s how the police forces were, were structured.
And they’re there to protect property. And they’re considered slaves as property. They are chattel, and they will chase hunt them down and kill them. That’s where it started. That mentality hasn’t changed. If you don’t believe that, just look at what happened in the Capitol on January 6 of 2021. Just look at what happened. Can you imagine if this was a group of Black Lives Matter protests approaching the Capitol, there will be hundreds, or even 1000s of dead bodies on the street, and they will be firing on them like crazy. That’s the truth. So just think about it. Why do police use violence against Blacks? And they don’t use it against whites? You know why? Because the police, they look at the white race, as one of them. And they look at the Blacks, as not one of them. They’re not citizens. Our Constitution is great, but they were errors in our Constitution to begin with. And what what they were forced in our Constitution is that all men are created equal. You know what, except slaves, except Blacks. That mentality hasn’t changed. Without much further ado, I’ll tell you about my client’s story. Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay. Mr. Sisay is an immigrant of Gambia. He came here with his family when he was young.
Similar to many, many people of African descent, including myself, he was born in Gambia and came here in search of greener pastures in search of education, opportunity and prosperity. It’s very sad, we all do not achieve our dreams. And the system of systematic racism in America is a huge burden and obstacle for many who yearn for the American dream. And you know what the police prey on those who are unfortunate in our society. It’s rare, a Black man driving a car in a suit and a tie to be pulled over with it even with an expired tag. This is a true story. I’ve been driving for approximately three months now with an expired tag. I just renewed my tag. Not a single time was I pulled over because I was driving a Jaguar. And I always dressed in a suit and a tie. So this is where racial profiling comes in and stereotyping. This is how Trayvon Martin got killed. He was wearing a hoodie, with Skittles, eating and walking down the street. And they hunted down and killed him because he was Black in a rich neighborhood wearing a hoodie. This commission was created, I believe, at least in light of the George Floyd murder, in daylight. We’ve seen that. Who is it to say if George Floyd was able to flee that day, and you knew you can rewind the tape and look and say, I think George Floyd should have fled to save his life because he would have been killed, he would be killed. If you could rewind the tape, would we all tell George Floyd, you should have fled from the police? Yes, we will all say that. But he didn’t flee from the police. He obeyed. To his detriment. He obeyed to his detriment. This is not new.
The same for Sandra Bland, who was arrested from a traffic stop and taken to jail. And he was found dead probably a couple of next day or a few days after she was arrested. During the time of Mr. Sisay’s death, it was in the early hours of 3am in the morning. A Black man driving on the streets of Snellville, Georgia did In the heart of the South, where all the slavery and segregation and racism against blacks began. It may have been covered. But the racism is still there. We know the history. Early in the morning Mr. Sisay was driving home. His only crime was being black driving a car with an expired tag. Think about that. This was on May 29 2020, four days after George Floyd was killed. We watched it on TV, we saw it. And so Mr. Sisay watched it on TV. He saw what the police did to George Floyd, all of a sudden knelt on his neck for almost eight minutes. And here is Mr. Sisay all in the morning four days later, driving home with an expired tag, and he was pulled over by an officer. What is he supposed to think? I’m here alone in the world in a rural part of the county and I’m alone. Do I stay, they arrest and kill me? Or do I flee? This is not new. There are actually studies on this, as provided in the materials from a court in Boston, essentially did a report and analysis from a judge saying Black people flee from the police because they think that the safest thing to do, because if they’re caught, they don’t know if they will die or if they’ll be alive. But let’s take a step back for a moment. There’s something called in the law, a pretextual stop. You stop someone, a police officer stops someone, for something other than the reason stated.
It happens every day. That’s why a lot of Blocks are being incarcerated for petty offenses. They pulled him over not because of just the tag. That tag is pretext to for them to use to see what else they can find in the car. That’s why they did it. Okay. We have laws in the books that police cannot act on a hunch. The case is called Terry, they cannot act on a hunch they have to have probable cause that someone has committed a crime or a criminal activity is about to call it. A license plate tag violation, an expired tag is not a criminal offence, is not a criminal offence. Mr. Sisay, what he thought is best for him at the time, for fear of his life, fled from the police. That’s what led to what happened later. The officer performed a PIT maneuver on the vehicle twice. And PIT maneuvers, the studies have shown they can be deadly. And you can only use deadly force when it’s absolutely necessary.
Mr. Sisay’s vehicle came to a stop somewhere in the bush after it was disabled by the second pit maneuver. Most of the vehicle from the back to the midsection of the vehicle was all covered. You can only see the front of the vehicle hanging outside the bushes. He was surrounded. I don’t know how many vehicles but I’ve heard a lot of vehicles surrounding him. We don’t know how many because you know why. That’s another tactic of law enforcement. They don’t share the evidence. They don’t disclose all the evidence without a court order. The only time they will share the evidence of what took place. If there’s a video from the public, and they are afraid that the narrative in the public is against them. That’s the only time they will share their own version of the story through their own evidence videos for the public to see. But rarely, law enforcement will share the evidence when they could be culpable for a crime.
While he was surrounded and was not able to escape or go anywhere, allegedly Mr. Sisay pointed a gun at the officer. That’s when the officer started firing. However, we also know they were about three stages of firing. The first set of firing didn’t kill Mr. Sisay. They stopped. And there’s a video online, which I will share with the commission later. One of the officers from I believe Gwinnett County Sheriff said they saw Mr. Sisay moving around in the car, at which point they called the SWAT team to come. You would think now someone is wounded. And he’s laying down. Now it’s time to seize or fire up all the vehicles slowly and render aid, maybe call an ambulance to save his life. But no, no, that didn’t happen. They went on on a second round of shooting and a third round of shooting until they finished him. That is cruel and unusual punishment that is excessive, or unnecessary and unreasonable. I have the if you will allow me. We shared a copy of the vehicle manual with bullet holes, which appears to be over 100 bullets fired on the vehicle. You guys remember Amadou Diallo in New York? over 42 rounds were fired on him. You know why? Because he was reaching for his wallet. They thought he had a gun. Allegedly. They were even in the wrong apartment. In this case, we have information that Mr. Sisay was talking to his girlfriend. He said I’m being surrounded, it looks like they want to kill me.
We know the police took cell phones in the past in other cases as guns and then shot and killed the suspect. What if in this case, they saw him on his cell phone and shot and killed him thinking it was a gun? I would not I will admit, I don’t I was I haven’t seen the evidence. Because none has been released so far. With respect to the forensic. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation claimed they discovered a gun in the car. However, we don’t know, okay, we do know is not his gun. We don’t know who the gun is registered to. And we don’t know if the gun was planted. Again. What I’m saying here today is based on prior case law prior incidents in our communities here in America. In Baltimore, Maryland, it happened, the police would plug the evidence in the vehicle. Some of those officers later were fired. I’m not saying that’s what happened here. What I’m saying is, if you are clean, come clean and disclose the evidence. There is nothing you need to hide. However, to make matters worse, when you’re surrounded. Those who watch the shooting video, relate information to me. This will all come out later. An officer was trying to grab a non Lethal Weapon from the trunk of his vehicle so that we use that instead of the automatic firearms that they have. Instead of using a non lethal force to neutralize the suspect. They didn’t give him a chance and that’s on video. Someone was trying to put together a non-lethal weapon with the idea you should use non lethal force first. Before you resort to automatic weapons. They used automatic weapons in this case, they didn’t give the officer an opportunity to use to use the non lethal force. That was a violation of protocol. But we wouldn’t get here if he was not racially profiled three in the morning, a Black guy driving a car with expired tags. One of the ladies who got killed in Ohio he was pulled over for unsafe lane change. Come on. We can get killed for traffic, small traffic offenses, unsafe lane change. expired tag or we arrested for reaching for our wallet, or killed like Philando Castile of Minnesota.
I’m not saying all police officers are racist. But the first solution to a problem is to admit that it exists. And then you can foster a remedy or solutions to the problem. Our white counterparts have worked really hard alongside us, fighting for justice. For Black America, we can’t do it alone. We need them. We need the good ones. The problem is additional problems which are previously explained. Our military has been infiltrated by white supremacists. And when they leave the military, guess where they go? They join the police force. They joined, white supremacists joining the police force. So what’s the solution? What is the way forward? We can’t bring Mr. Sisay back? He’s dead, we can bring him back. But what can we do to prevent more brown and Black people getting killed at the hands of law enforcement? One, we need to rethink law enforcement in general. We need to start thinking, do you really need a police officer? when they, when when a teenager goes to having an argument? Do you really need police officers with guns, SWAT teams come into the pool? No. We don’t need them. If the property manager and someone at the pool and I engage in an argument, do you need to send armed police officers? No, it’s a civil dispute. I came to the pool because as a Black woman, I’m here the pool with my kids because I’m a resident, Why call the police? The property manager can go check the records to see if the name is in the records that this Black woman is a resident or not. So we need to rethink the use of the police. And the way to do that we need help from the United Nations and Congress. We need to, we need to feel we need to scale it back. They are needed in certain situations, but not in all situations. And we have to be careful about the Karens out there we know them who know the law enforcement do not treat blacks failing. And they are quick to call the police on the Black guy. For example, Mr. Cooper in in the park in New York. One was birdwatching and another, coincidentally, and Ms. Cooper, a white female called the police. I want to tell the police there’s a Black guy here threatening my life. It was all on video and it was a lie. He wasn’t threatening her life.
So when these types of calls happen, we need to teach law enforcement to see it for what it is. their intent is to use law enforcement and the advantage of the white race to suppress or kill us. So that in order to make it possible, we need to make sure police have the proper training. We have armed police and unarmed police in Europe. They have armed police and unarmed police in UK. In certain situations, the unarmed police officers would go, for example, someone with mental health. You send an unarmed police officer, if they can handle the situation. Then they will figure out what the next steps should be. We need to de-escalate situations. In Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay’s case, the police officer according to those who watch the video of this shooting, the police officer acted erratically, unprofessional. And he was unprovoked. He was bent on hunting and killing Mr. Sisay. That’s what he did. We need to make sure we don’t escalate traffic stops into a high speed chase. If someone is fleeing from committing a dangerous felony, robbing a bank, you’re shooting a spouse from a domestic violence situation for example, and they’re fleeing from the police or fleeing from the scene of the crime. Yes, hunt them down all you want. Or you can as long as you don’t miss the public and apprehend them.
But you do a PIT maneuver on me, because my tag expired, because I’m fleeing from you, and I’m afraid of my life, for fear that you will kill me if I stay at the scene at three in the morning and I’m alone. And it’s my word against their will. They do not leave the place. That’s how it’s been. We get, we need further, more grand approaches to fix this problem before we can afford more people getting killed. And nothing bigger than ending qualified immunity. That topic I just covered, just covered both demilitarizing the police and reducing the functions of the police. Okay, they can actually be peacemakers. I heard another witness testified today about how to make sure in the recruiting, the white supremacists don’t influence infiltrate the force. That’s difficult. But guess what? What if they all join the force? And you don’t deploy them when people call 911? Don’t deploy them with guns? Tell them no, we need an unarmed police officer go talk to them see what’s going on. But in every little phone call, they show up with their machine guns and their SWAT teams and escalate the situation. And they are poorly trained. If you just came from Iraq, you join the police force. And someone is mentally ill. And your call to that situation. You’re probably suffering from PTSD. How are you going to handle that situation? I don’t want you to think of Mr. Sisay’s case in isolation. If you put the pieces together, the bigger picture is why does this keep happening? And the only conclusion is race, is systemic racism against people of African descent, and Hispanics as well. That’s why it’s happening.
If a Black man enter the white church and kill nine white people, he’s not gonna get out alive. Come on, we know that. But the opposite is what happened in South Carolina. They arrested him. They put bulletproof vest on him. And they went to Burger King and got him food. You didn’t get, a Black guy will get that, who just killed nine white worshippers in a church, that will never happen. I will yield the rest of my time for Ms. Diminga George to share with you, who is Mr. Momodou Lamin Sisay. Qualified immunity is in one of my presentations about what we can do. There’s a case heading to the Supreme Court, I believe is sponsored by the Cato institute right now, in an effort to end qualified immunity. Qualified immunity in short means you can prove the police violated my constitutional right of the Fourth Amendment against illegal search and seizure. But the police get the benefit to walk free. Because he acted objectively, his conduct was objectively reasonable. That’s not in the law. The Supreme Court made that up, qualified immunity, if another officer in similar situation thinks that officer’s conduct is objectively reasonable.
Priscilla Ocen 29:10
Mr. Jaiteh, I’m going to interject here because we’re at about 30 minutes in and we have 20 minutes remaining in the hearing. And as you said, I think first of all, thank you very much for your powerful summation of the horrible events that led to the death of Mr. Sisay, the brutality and the outright misconduct and the lack of humanity. So we want to thank you for that. Ms. George, I would like to present to you for testimony. Mr. Fournier, our Commissioner, I’d like to present to you our second witness, Ms. George. Miss George, before you testify. Let me just ask you to confirm your name for the record, please. You want to unmute. Hi, you’re still muted, Ms. George. Yes, there you are. Yes, ma’am.
Diminga George 30:15
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the panel. My name is
Priscilla Ocen 30:19
Just a moment. So can you confirm your name, please?
Diminga George 30:21
Yes. Go ahead. Diminga, D I M I N G A, and George is the last name.
Priscilla Ocen 30:30
Thank you, Ms. George and Ms. George, can you attest or swear that the testimony that you will provide to this commission is true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Diminga George 30:41
Priscilla Ocen 30:43
Thank you Ms. George. Please proceed.
Diminga George 30:47
Well, I’m the sister of Mariam, known as Auntie, Auntie, Mariam is the mother of Momodou Lamin Sisay. Momodou Lamin was the firstborn of my sister. He came in to New York with them, to America when he was nine years old. Him and the brother all those years they’ve been together with their mom go to school practically, or…and adulthood was in Atlanta. What I know about Momodou, he was very respectful. He was very respectful. He wouldn’t even…when talking to him. He was a good boy, very humbled. He was pious. I never heard him fight with anybody, or heard about with nobody. The only thing I know, take care of his brothers. Make sure they okay. And be respectful to elders. It is very sad. Very, very sad. He was barely 40 when his life cut short, barely 40 he just turned 40, November of this year. Last year. 20.
Why all the time, is the young boys getting killed? I couldn’t answer it. I don’t live in Atlanta. I live in Orlando. The only thing I know what? Your sister’s son was shot. What you mean was shot. Who shot him? And why? He don’t trouble nobody. He’s not a violent person. I was so nervous that they, I don’t even know where to turn left or right, confused. I wasn’t expecting him in that format. As time goes on, I’m questioning myself. What happened? How did it happen? Who was there? I wasn’t there. Only God knows. No answers. We don’t have no answers as yet. We still searching. I thought our police were supposed to care for us. Even though something went wrong, question. Ask question. If you don’t know the answer, at least, violence, violence is no good. Because the moment they ask question with force. What is the next, the next is they kill them. I can understand this situation up till now. If I tell you I’m not confused, I’m lying. Because I don’t have answers. I do not have. This thing been going on and on and on and on and on. To what I know Momodou Lamin is not a violent person. You can even talk to him because he don’t look at you through your eyes. Anybody you ask and who knows him very well. The only thing they could tell you is a respectful person. very humble, religious. And you wouldn’t even hear him. He’s not talkative. So my question is why? I don’t understand. I do not understand up to today. I’m still emotional even talking about him. You were barely 40, he’s like got shot just like that. I hope there will be justice. I hope there will be justice. The Good Lord will serve, will decide.
Priscilla Ocen 36:42
Thank you Ms. George and our sincerest deepest condolences to you and the rest of your family. understand Mr. Sisay’s father is watching this hearing and I want to extend condolences to Mr. Sisay as well on the loss of your son. We hope that this this process this hearing will be a part of that effort to seek justice on behalf of your
Diminga George 37:15
I hope so, I hope justice will prevail. Because it’s too much, too much. You’re young, you be innocent going about your business. They have to do something to trigger you. Or whatever they want to do, they do. It’s unjust.
Priscilla Ocen 37:39
Diminga George 37:40
Who is here to protect us? Who, who will protect us? These are the people we believe that they’re going to be beside us to protect us.
Abdul Jaiteh 37:58
The father may have a few words to say, Professor Ocen, if you don’t mind.
Priscilla Ocen 38:04
Absolutely. Mr. Sisay. I’d like to invite you if you would like and you don’t have to. But if you would like to say a few words, we would open the space for you to do so.
Lare Sisay 38:17
Good evening, everybody. Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to talk about our our grief. I don’t understand how a group of police officers with automatic weapons can pump more than 200 bullets in a car that is stationary. I don’t see how anybody can make me understand that. The young man as the aunt said, is very pious, very religious, has never had any issues with the law. And they just killed him like that. Because he’s a single Black person in a dark, small street in Snellville. No evidence. As lawyer Jaiteh said, we’ve been pushing and pulling for them to give us something to look at. They are refusing. It’s like you just hunt down an animal, kill it. And that’s it. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations did not give us anything to go by. The DA’s office hasn’t given us anything to go by. We know, we are told the police had body cameras on them, but we have not had access to any of that. And this is the United States of America, 21st century United States of America, where you can kill a human being sit on the evidence with impunity, and the police officers are just going about doing their business.
I sit here sometimes, I get very emotional. A for losing my son. B for the injustice that took place in losing him. And three, a system that has closed ranks and is refusing to hear what we have to say. That system is there. I lived in Georgia, I lived in that area. I know how it is. And honestly, if anybody tells me these police officers, including the district attorney’s office is going to release this evidence for us to see, I’ll tell you, you kidding, you’re not gonna do it. Unless, of course, if the lawyers decide to take certain legal measures for them to release the evidence that they have. But otherwise, as far as I’m concerned, this police officers, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office, Snellville police, they don’t give a hoot about what happened to my boy. They don’t care. And I hope they understand that they have caused a lot of grief in this family. It’s a huge family, anybody who knows my family, who knows his mother’s family, you know, it’s a huge family. And we are all collectively grieving. Because we have no understanding of why he had to die the way he died. We have no trust in the jurisdictional authorities to do the right thing by us by him. So we go on plugging day by day. until something happens. I don’t have any confidence in the notion that we can get justice. I have absolutely no, no, no, no reason to believe that that that could happen to us. Because I lived in Georgia. I lived in the Atlanta area. I know the area that this shooting took place. It’s what you would describe as a redneck zone. We were in college we used to call that, don’t go to the redneck zone. What Hey, this is the 21st century. These things are not supposed to happen. Especially in a country that is touted to be a beacon of democracy and justice globally.
As far as I’m concerned, the moral authority is lost. America has lost its moral authority by virtue of the fact that defenseless Black men and women are being killed. And they are being killed with impunity. So what moral authority do you have to preach to us in the world that we should espouse democracy, rule of law and justice for? America has lost it. And honestly, the four years of President Trump has just exacerbated, the genie is now out of the bottle and people are going to be killed and are dying because of the color of their skin.
Priscilla Ocen 44:56
Mr. Sisay I would like to say, we have about five minutes left. And I just want to begin, thank you for your your, your testimony and your advocacy of both you and Miss George, for your son. We just have a few minutes, but I want to invite Commissioner Fournier, if if he has any questions to ask maybe one or two. Before we conclude for the evening, I know it’s late, especially for those of you on the on the east coast. So I’ll turn it to you, Commissioner, and know that we’re waiting for your questions.
Lare Sisay 45:39
I just thank you for giving me the opportunity to say something.
Arturo Fournier Facio 45:46
All right. Ms. George. Mr. Sisay, Please receive our sympathy on your grieving for the loss of the dear one. And we are trying to attract international attention to your son’s case, your nephews case, in order to try to obtain justice. We’re doing our best. We can’t assure you that we will serve justice, but we are trying our best. So please receive our condolences.
Diminga George 46:23
Arturo Fournier Facio 46:24
And well, just a couple of fast questions. was Mr. Momodou fluent in English or did he spoke? Did he speak? The language, the main language in Gambia.
Diminga George 46:48
English. He spoke English. He spoke mostly English. He barely he spoke little. his peers. He spoke our language. But not, not that correct. He spoke English most of the time.
Arturo Fournier Facio 47:03
Right. So the police can’t say that he didn’t understand.
Diminga George 47:10
He didn’t understand what.
Abdul Jaiteh 47:12
No, the police cannot say that.
Arturo Fournier Facio 47:15
The police to speak to him? Did they try to speak to him or explain to him? Why were they stopping him?
Diminga George 47:27
Well, I was in, I live in Orlando, as I say, not in Atlanta. When the incident happened, they called me. By the time I was in Orlando, the time I went to Atlanta. He was
Abdul Jaiteh 47:50
Diminga George 47:56
Excuse me. What happened? And when when I wasn’t there. It’s only God that will be there.
Arturo Fournier Facio 48:05
Was there any witnesses at all?
Diminga George 48:09
I do not know. Like I say I don’t live there. By the time I will, my…
Arturo Fournier Facio 48:17
Abdul Jaiteh 48:19
Yes. May I come in? Thank you on that. Based on our investigation. so far, we do not have any witnesses. We hired a private investigator to canvass the neighborhood to see if there’s anyone by chance recorded the event. We knocked on doors in the neighborhood. Nobody saw it. This is cold blooded murder early in the morning at three o’clock when nobody’s around. And that begs the question, why high speed chase when the public is not in danger in any way, shape or form?
Arturo Fournier Facio 48:53
They were wearing the body camera?
Abdul Jaiteh 48:56
Yes, they were all wearing body cameras. However we’ve learned, we’ve learned that one of the body cameras, according to one of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers who I met with personally in his office, he informed me that one of the body cameras they were trying to operate and they couldn’t operate it and it has a recording on it. Okay. Does this sound familiar, whereby law enforcement may find a way to say a particular evidence is lost or destroyed or they can operate it? So there were body cameras on them, yes.
Arturo Fournier Facio 49:34
So you haven’t been able to obtain the videos?
Abdul Jaiteh 49:37
No. they they they hide on the disguise of the law that as long as there is an ongoing investigation, when there is a criminal investigation going on to determine whether they charge the officers with any any crime. Therefore they cannot release the evidence because the investigation is ongoing. This is a this is an old tactic in the book. In which law enforcement behind the code of investigation will hide the evidence before you know it? The evidence is gone. So we have no faith in them. However, we do have plans in place to file suit and subpoena the records.
Arturo Fournier Facio 50:17
Have you been able to find out how many officers were there that night?
Abdul Jaiteh 50:25
We have a list of —
Arturo Fournier Facio 50:29
You have their names already?
Abdul Jaiteh 50:31
We have a list, the names of the officers who responded not all of them participated in the shooting what. With at least, over 100 of them.
Arturo Fournier Facio 50:41
100 policemen at least?
Abdul Jaiteh 50:43
100 police officers, yes.
Arturo Fournier Facio 50:46
Present that night?
Abdul Jaiteh 50:49
Give me a second. Let me pull out the sheet I have here. Ashley, are you here? Okay, so let me see. I know we are running against time, a quick count here. First Page I have about about 20. About about 30 that we were able to identify in my seat right now. However we believe at least 100 officers responded because you have the Gwinnett county sheriff, you have the Snellville police department, and you have the Atlanta Police Department responded depending on. At least we know Gwinnett county and Snellville participated in the shooting. The other agencies who came conducted the referral investigations, regarding who owned the car and things like that. But I believe at least 100 officers responded.
Priscilla Ocen 51:57
Commissioner, this will be the last question. Thank you.
Arturo Fournier Facio 52:01
Yes, I was informed that one of the officers crashed Mr. Momodou’s car with with the police car. But now I hear that there were over 200 shots on his car.
Abdul Jaiteh 52:19
Well, I think we have a time constraint. But I can share we are estimating here about the amount of shots fired based on the photograph of the vehicle. Because the vehicle is tagged with bullet holes, a bullet hole is tagged. So if Professor Ocen will allow me I can try to share it on the screen for everyone to see the photo of the vehicle, which was part of my presentation. So based on the photograph, we’re looking at, we’re estimating a lot of shots were fired. I guess its objective with respect to me looking at it, I think at least over 100 was fired. Mr. Sisay thinking maybe over 200 was fired. But remember, these are machine guns, automatic rifles, they can fire a lot of rounds really quickly. So there is the possibility it probably exceeded at least 100. And that’s a cruel and unusual and excessive use of force on the United States Constitution. The Eighth Amendment and the 14th amendment of equal protection. They killed him like a dog. It’s unacceptable.
Priscilla Ocen 53:24
And so Mr. Jaiteh, just to be clear, they used the PIT maneuver to –
Abdul Jaiteh 53:29
I’m sorry, yes. So Mr. Commissioner Fournier, yes, they crashed their vehicle into Mr. Sisay’s vehicle twice. The first class, we call it position intervention maneuver, which is abbreviated as PIT, PIT, for sure, as a PIT maneuver. So they crashed it the first time and spun the vehicle around, they crashed the second time and pushed it into the bushes and was almost at the edge of a lake and about to fall off. And there was nowhere for you to go to stop, trapped, neutralized. There was absolutely no need for the additional use of force. They could have called again, they could have called people who specialize in let’s say, negotiating crisis situations for example, if they believe it was a crisis, but remember, we Blacks don’t get that benefit. If a white guy or white suspect they do get that benefit. They will come to arrest them, give them water, bring them food, we don’t get that benefit.
Arturo Fournier Facio 54:34
Is there any recording of his conversation with a girlfriend?
Abdul Jaiteh 54:40
I’m still trying to. The girlfriend is traumatized. One of the younger brothers has been traumatized is not even able to live by himself anymore. We are trying to get the information from the girlfriend. She did leave the call on during the shooting but I don’t know if she recorded But what we know, he told her, I’m surrounded by armed officers. I think they’re going to kill me.
Arturo Fournier Facio 55:07
Yeah. That will be very important.
Abdul Jaiteh 55:11
We will try to get it. Thank you.
Priscilla Ocen 55:14
So we unfortunately, we will have to stop there. I know there’s much more we can discuss in this deeply, deeply troubling murder of Momodou Sisay. I want to thank our witnesses, Mr. Jaiteh, Mr. Sisay, the father of Momodou Sisay, and Miss George, the aunt of Mr. Momodou Sisay. We want to thank all of you for your powerful testimony and witness on behalf of your son and your nephew, and friend. And I want to thank especially, Mr. Commissioner Fournier, for his time and attention in his very important questions about each of the cases that were heard today. And with that, I will conclude the this hearing about the murder of Mr. Momodou Sisay. The hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry will resume tomorrow at 9am Pacific time with the case of Casey Goodson excuse me, yes, Goodson. So for those of you who are interested, please tune in tomorrow when our hearings will resume. Again with that we will conclude this evening’s hearings. Thank you all very much.
Abdul Jaiteh 56:41
Thank you, Professor Ocen. Thank you.