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Police defend shooting of Muslim teen in Tracy, California

Police in Tracy, California released edited body cam footage which they say shows police asked a Muslim teen to drop his knife five times before they shot him.

ABC10 reports authorities believe a fight had occurred prior to their arrival between a number of family members. They say the teen had been fighting with his brother and that surveillance video shows several people from the same family had been scuffling on the street, according to Fox2.

The Stockton Record identified the officer involved in the shooting as Officer Carlos Ramirez. Police Chief Sekou Millington says Ramirez got out of his vehicle and heard the teen’s brother yelling “my brother,” and “fight.”

Ramirez can see an object in the teen’s hand which Millington says would be later confirmed as a knife.

“Put down the knife!” Ramirez is said to have commanded. Millington said he repeated the command several times. The Chief admitted there was a language barrier between Ramirez and the teen who is Afghani, but defended Ramirez’ action saying he conveyed his intentions through body language that anyone can understand.

The teen with the knife at his side can be seen walking toward the officer who is backing away. Two shots can be heard and the teen dropped to the ground as his family rushes toward him.

The teen is rushed to the hospital after police perform first aid.

“Fearing for his safety and the safety of those in the area, the officer discharged his duty firearm, striking the individual,” reads a statement from the Tracy Police Department. “A large knife was recovered from the scene.”

The Council of Islamic American Relations disagrees.

“Having watched the video of this tragic incident, we believe that the officer could hve used actions other than potentially deadly force to ensure the safety of all those involved, including the child who was shot. Potentially deadly force should be reserved exclusively for situations where no other alternative is available,” CAIR said in a statement sent to AsAmNews.

The department says Ramirez was also armed with a taser, but “didn’t have time to react to consider a taser” instead of a gun.

The officer is on administrative leave. The teen who is still hospitalized is likely to be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

CAIR is calling for full transparency in the investigation. Authorities promised to release an unedited version of the police video in the coming days.

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