In April, two Johns Creek police officers shot a woman they said had a knife. Shukri Said’s family recently watched dashcam footage of the shooting that killed her.
Said’s family says she suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but had not taken her medicine in months.
Aisha Hussain said she called 911 on Saturday April 28 because she knew she couldn’t help Shukri. Her 36-year-old sister was hearing voices and was determined to leave the house they shared in Johns Creek. She never imagined Shukri would be killed, with five bullets from two police officers.
CAIR Georgia, the Awad Law Firm and Masjid Jafar mosque are hosted a town hall on police and mental health 11 a.m. Saturday at Masjid Jafar in Johns Creek. At the event, a panel discussion featured mental health experts, a civil rights attorney and a family representative. Community members asked questions of the panelists. The leaders covered how families, faith groups and law enforcement could better address issues related to mental illness and implicit bias.
Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director with the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said attorneys for the family are awaiting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation report into the shooting.
Community members in Johns Creek also hope to work with local officials and statewide activists to improve the way Georgia treats the mentally ill.
"Having now learned what is on the video, we are absolutely confident in that conclusion that Shukri was not treated properly the way a mentally ill person should have been treated," Mitchell told GPB News.
A preliminary investigation by the GBI showed Said refused to drop a knife at the intersection of Abbotts Bridge and Sweet Creek roads. Police tried using a Taser and non-lethal weapons, but when Said wouldn’t drop the knife, two officers fired, Rich said. Said was pronounced dead at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.
It was the last thing Hussain expected.
The first time Said had a mental health breakdown in public, about 2010, the sisters lived in California. When police found her, they called an EMT who sedated Said and took her to a hospital. She stayed under supervision for about 20 days as doctors got her back on medication.
"That's exactly what I was expecting when I called," Hussain said, referring to the April 28 incident. "I didn't expect police to be sent. My expectation was that they will send an EMT."
Shukri became more confused and agitated after officers stunned her, Hussain said after watching the dashcam footage.
The Hussain family moved with Said to Johns Creek in 2015. They wanted to be closer to their older sister who’d lived in the neighborhood for 16 years. The morning she was killed, Said had been off her doctor-prescribed medicine for four months.
"In January, my sister decided the side effect of the medication was too much for her," Hussain said. "She just didn't want to take the medication anymore."
After watching a documentary series, Said thought she could manage her symptoms of mental illness by eating more omega fatty acids and eliminating anything that might cause inflammation in the body.
"So, she was going to try to do that," Hussain said. "So fast forward four months, without medication you could tell now that something was just not right."
Hussain said she told 911 that Said had a knife, but Hussain said she was never afraid of her sister. The only reason she didn't chase after Said when she left the house was because her young children were inside and she thought help was on the way, Hussain said.
Capt. Chris Byer with Johns Creek police said four officers were on the scene at the intersection of Abbotts Bridge and Sweet Creek roads. Their names have not been released. The two who fired weapons were placed on leave, pending the GBI’s investigation. One officer who fired his gun was a trained SWAT team negotiator with 300 hours of combined training in negotiations and crisis intervention. Byers also said all the officers who arrived that morning had taken a 5-hour de-escalation tactics course.
The GBI expects to release its report to the district attorney's office later this week, spokeswoman Nelly Miles said Tuesday.