Press Releases

CAIR-Cleveland Calls for Bias Probe of Shooting Targeting Muslim Teen

cair clMuslim civil rights group asks that bail be denied to alleged shooter, seeks hate crime enhancements

(CLEVELAND, OHIO, 12/1/16) – The Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Cleveland) today called on local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for the November 26 shooting of a Muslim teenager and to seek all relevant hate crime enhancements under Ohio statutes. CAIR is also asking that the alleged perpetrator be denied bail.

The 16-year-old Lakewood High School student, who was wearing an Islamic head covering called a “kufi†at the time of the alleged attack, says he was walking home from his part-time job when he was shot by an armed man who then fled the scene. According to the Muslim teenager, the alleged perpetrator called him a “terrorist†and “Taliban b*ch†before the shooting. The victim was struck in the shoulder and was left bleeding at the scene. (Cuyahoga County Case Number: CR-16-611940-A)

SEE: Lakewood Man Arrested for Shooting 16-Year-Old

Lakewood Teenager Shot in the Arm

The alleged perpetrator, Denzel R. Johnson, age 26, was arrested Sunday morning. A Lakewood Police incident report obtained by CAIR-Cleveland lists the charge as “attempted aggravated murder.†A bail hearing is set for Friday, December 2, in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The court docket lists an initial bond of $10,000. CAIR is calling for bail to be denied.

[MEDIA AVAILABILITY: CAIR-Cleveland officials will be available for comment before and after the bond hearing.]

In a statement, CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson said:

“According to the alleged victim, there are clear indicators that this crime was motivated by ethnic and religious hatred, and we believe it should be investigated with that possible bias motive in mind.

“We call on law enforcement authorities to investigate this case as a possible hate crime and for the prosecutor to request that bail be denied and for any and all sentencing enhancements be sought under the state law.â€

CAIR’s national office has noted a spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 presidential election. More than 100 anti-Muslim incidents have occurred across the country according to CAIR and almost 1000 incidents targeting different minority groups have been documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization recently said that newly-released FBI hate crime statistics showing a 67 percent jump in anti-Muslim incidents in 2015 should push the nation’s leaders to repudiate growing Islamophobia.

SEE: CAIR Says FBI Report of Sharp Jump in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Should Push Nation’s Leaders to Reject Islamophobia

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: www.cair.com/report

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Cleveland Executive Director Julia Shearson, 216.830.2247 or 216.440.2247, jshearson@cair.com, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202.744.7726 ihooper@cair.com

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