North America

Justice for Elijah el Amin: Killed for being Black

“He was just a clown, kind of like just always being happy-go-lucky” – Elijah’s father in a 12 News interview

A 17 year old male, Elijah el Amin was on July 4th 2019, murdered by a 27-year-old suspect Michael Adams who said Eljah’s rap music made him feel “unsafe”. The stabbing occurred at a gas station in Peoria Circle K and the suspect was soon after arrested. Michael Adams had only two days prior, been released from Arizona State Prison Complex in Yuma before the fatal attack. Despite not being designated as ‘seriously mentally ill’, Jacie Cotterrell, Adam’s attorney told KTVK that following a 13 month sentence, her client was ‘set up for failure’ and left without vital mental health services.

Adams admitted to stabbing young Elijah at around 1:42 a.m. after hearing rap music coming from his vehicle. According to AZ central, Adams told police rap music makes him feel “unsafe” as he had been attacked by people who listen to rap in the past and felt they were a threat to the community.

Adams first stabbed Elijah in the back and then slit his throat. After being taken to hospital Adams died at 2:05 a.m. according to police records.

In an NBC affiliate 12 News interview, Elijah’s dad said his son “…wanted to be [in] hotel management, he wanted to move to Seattle, he wanted to move different places.”

Adams’ criminal history includes assault with a weapon and aggravated assault of a correctional employee. Adams is now under suspicion of first degree premeditated murder and is being held on a $1 million bond. His preliminary court hearing is scheduled on July 15th. Elijah’s Janaza (funeral) was held on the 8th of July.

Let us make no mistake. This was white supremacy in action. Had Elijah been a white male listening to the same music would Adams have felt the same visceral need to stamp out the perceived ‘threat’. Or if Adams was a black male, would he be afforded the same leniency in the media and by his representative who is spinning the issue as a mental health related one? White supremacy is not only societal where individual cases of violence are perpetuated against black people by white racists but also structural. Institutions internalise habitual supremacy at senior levels and at the very core of the structure to facilitate white supremacist ideology which reflects in policy making, the media and in other flows of power. An example is the headlines concerning young Elijah’s case which all pivot around ‘killed for listening to rap’. The unfortunate reality is that rap may not have been the catalyst but rather Elijah’s blackness. Institutionally racist media will refuse to see this as with other parties involved with the case.

The truth simply put is that Elijah was killed for being black and we should never forget his name.

Soukeyna Osei-Bonsu

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