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On July 4, a white man killed a Black 17-year-old named Elijah Al-Amin by slitting his throat. He said he felt threatened by the rap music Al-Amin was playing.
Now people are demanding justice with the #JusticeForElijah hashtag.
According to AZ Central, Al-Amin was listening to rap music while parked in his car at a convenience store parking lot in Peoria, Arizona. Michael Adams, the 27-year-old alleged killer, heard the music and later told police that it made him feel “unsafe.” Adams also said people who listen to rap music are a threat to the community, so he decided to be “proactive rather than reactive.”
.@PeoriaPoliceAZ Investigating Homicide - Suspect In-Custody, occurred at 1;45 AM at Circle K, 6735 W Peoria Ave. 17-year-old male victim died from injuries, suspect 27-year-old Michael Adams in custody. For more info: https://t.co/Ptfz0znoOi #PeoriaPDAZ #Peoriapoliceaz pic.twitter.com/p3WuWsdKEr— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) July 4, 2019
Surveillance footage shows that Adams followed Al-Amin into the convenience store and lunged at him with a pocketknife, stabbing him in the back and slitting his throat. Al-Amin ran out of the store before collapsing under a gas station canopy. Police began CPR, and Al-Amin was taken to a hospital, where he died at 2:05am.
People were outraged upon hearing of the crime.
If my music makes you feel unsafe, then walk the fuck away. #JusticeForElijah— James Andre Jefferson Jr. (@JamesJeffersonJ) July 8, 2019
Adams’ lawyer, Jacie Cotterell, said Adams was “set up for failure” because he couldn’t access mental health services after being released from prison two days earlier, according to AZ Central. Adams’ criminal history includes theft, disorderly conduct, and assault, according to Maricopa County Superior Court records.
Meanwhile, a statement from Bill Lamoreaux, a spokesman from the Arizona Department of Corrections, stated that Adams was “not designated seriously mentally ill.”
People aren’t buying the “mentally ill” defense and want it to be called a hate crime.
Young black teens are being murdered in the US for wearing hoodies, playing with toys, listening to rap music, standing outside a store. This is a racial issue, not a mental health issue. These people are white supremacists and terrorists. Tired of this shit. #JusticeForElijah— davey (@jerseyh0mo) July 8, 2019
Every time a Black man kills he's a thug. Every time a White man kills he's 'mentally ill'. STOP! This man slit a young boys throat over nothing but bigotry! These parents lost their little boy! This is who we are! Send him away for life!#JusticeForElijah— Michelle Guido (@heyyguido) July 8, 2019
Adams was charged with first-degree murder and is being held in a Maricopa County jail on a $1 million bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 15.
This story has been updated.
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Katie Balevic is an editorial intern at the Daily Dot where she enjoys covering social justice issues and politics. Her previous work has appeared in the Daily Texan, the Victoria Advocate, and the Houston Defender.