Akbad, Jihad, 28

San Francisco


2002-10-09 09:23:18+002002A former football standout at UC Berkeley who worked in juvenile justice and AIDS prevention, Akbar battled depression and an addiction to methamphetamines. He had been arrested three times, once in Santa Cruz for drug possession, once in San Francisco for resisting arrest, and once in Berkeley for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest -- the assault charge was later dropped. He was eager to enter a residential treatment program but was rejected because his mental illness "was considered not severe enough," said his domestic partner, Tim Silard, a San Francisco assistant district attorney. On Oct. 8, 2002, at the Bagdad Cafe on Market Street, Akbar took two 10-inch knives from the kitchen, then walked up and down the sidewalk in front, "dancing around with the knives with a big smile on his face, and making racial and homophobic statements," according to police reports. Officers repeatedly ordered him to drop the knives. Akbar reportedly leaped at Officer Michael Celis, who fired twice. One bullet hit Akbar in the chest; the other went through two apartment windows across the street, hitting no one. After the shooting, as Akbar lay face-up on the pavement, more than 20 witnesses gathered and argued heatedly over the necessity of the shooting, said one witness, Robert Little, 34, a chiropractor in El Cerrito. "It was hard to see him die," he said. "The problem was he was so close to other people. The police officers came between us and him, which put them really close to him. You had to err on the side of safety." Silard, the dead man's partner, said in an interview that the shooting was "grossly excessive and avoidable." Instead of trying to de-escalate the crisis, officers shouted at Akbar and trained their weapons at him, "someone clearly in a mental health crisis." "Could nothing have been done to stabilize the situation while protecting Jihad, police and the public?" he asked. Akbad was mentally ill.Arab