Man shot by Phoenix police for throwing rocks at them had mental illness, family says

Ali Osman, 34, was reportedly throwing rocks at officers before he was shot and killed by Phoenix police.
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:04 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:42 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A loving brother. A devoted son. A good man. That’s how family and friends describe 34-year-old Ali Osman, who died Saturday night during an encounter with Phoenix police. Osman was reportedly throwing rocks at officers when he was shot and killed.

On Tuesday, Osman’s family and attorneys held a news conference to express their outrage about what happened. “They could have used any other non-lethal method,” said Osman’s niece Ikran Aden. “They could have tased him, gotten help through backup, just any other way than shooting him. It was wrong, really wrong, over a small rock. That is not justified.”

According to Phoenix police, two different officers were driving near 19th Avenue, south of Glendale Avenue, when they heard something hitting their patrol car around 6:45 p.m. Saturday. The officers pulled over and saw Osman throwing rocks at them. They reportedly told Osman to stop throwing rocks, but when he refused, officers opened fire.

“As a former police officer that backs the blue, I cannot fathom a set of circumstances described to us, that that would warrant this young black man being shot down by police in the streets of our city for throwing rocks,” said Quacy Smith, the family’s attorney.

Family members said Osman suffered from mental illness and was receiving regular treatment. He had been living in Tucson and came to Phoenix to visit friends. It’s unclear why he was throwing rocks at officers.

Arizona’s Family reached out to the Phoenix Police Department and received this statement:

A witness video taken at the scene shows someone with a background in counseling and intervention offering to help police calm the situation before anyone gets hurt. “It’s really hard,” said Halima Osman, the victim’s sister. “I can’t describe how I feel. Ali was really special in my heart.”

“He’s one of the best people I have ever known,” said friend Loay Alyousfi. “He did not deserve this.”