Utah teen shot by police will remain in juvenile court, judge rules

Posted at 12:56 PM, Apr 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-14 23:25:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A teen shot by Salt Lake City police and then charged with the beating of a homeless man will remain in the juvenile court system.

Third District Juvenile Court Judge Julie Lund rejected a prosecution request to send Abdi Mohamed's case to the adult court system.

"I want you to know that we're giving you this chance today," she told him. "You need to make the most of it, OK sir?"

"I will," Mohamed replied.

Outside court, Mohamed told FOX 13 he was pleased the case will remain in the juvenile courts. His attorneys pushed for it, arguing to the judge that he could get rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

Mohamed, 19, was shot by Salt Lake City police outside the downtown homeless shelters last year. Prosecutors argued Mohammed -- then 17 -- was dealing drugs in the area and beat a homeless man for $1.10.

"He used a weapon to viciously attack a homeless man in order to steal his last dollar," deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Michael Colby said. "His literal last dollar and ten cents. This is all he had in the world."

Police said Mohamed ignored commands to drop a metal broom handle and advanced toward officers when he was shot. The shooting has sparked numerous protests over police use of force. After ruling the shooting justified, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill turned around and charged Mohamed with robbery and drug charges.

In court Friday, prosecutors argued that the seriousness of the crime justified moving the case to the adult court. Judge Lund noted that Mohamed had a lengthy criminal history and was also facing separate charges in adult court.

Still, Judge Lund said she believed Mohamed had better treatment and rehabilitation options in the juvenile court system. Referencing the shooting, she said she did not believe he was a danger to the community anymore.

"It's the best option not only for him, but it's the best option for everyone," said Mohamed's attorney, Sam Pappas. "It's the best option for the community."