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City disputes man couldn't breathe in fatal arrest attempt

Muhaymin fatal arrest
AP Photo/Matt York,File
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Mussallina Muhaymin, who filed a lawsuit against Phoenix police officers in the 2017 death of her brother, Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin, as officers tried to arrest him outside a community center, poses for a portrait on June 5, 2020 in Phoenix. The Phoenix City Council approved a $5 million settlement of the lawsuit on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. During the struggle with officers, Muhammad Muhaymin, who was homeless and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, cried out that he couldn't breathe.

Newly unsealed court records show the city of Phoenix disputed a claim by a Black man that he couldn’t breathe as officers held him down during a fatal 2017 arrest attempt outside a community center.

Muhammad Abdul Muhaymin died during a struggle with officers who were called there after an employee tried to deny him access to a bathroom.

The struggle erupted when officers tried to arrest Muhaymin on an outstanding warrant.

The city’s lawyers said Muhaymin was “exerting tremendous strength in his resistance” and that officers noticed he was breathing. Two weeks ago, the city agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit over Muhaymin’s death.