Feras Morad was a top student who aimed to get into Harvard Law School. He was already a debate team champ with a national ranking. Just 20-years-old, with a 3.9 GPA at a community college and also an Army cadet, Morad never had any trouble with the law.
But on Wednesday, May 27, at about 7:30 in the evening on a street in Long Beach, California, where he planned to attend a four-year college later this year, a police officer — whose name has not yet been made public — shot him three times, putting a sudden, tragic end to all of his plans.
What happened? The Long Beach Police said that the officer who fired that fatal shots felt that Morad was threatening him. The official police story says that Morad got into a fight with some friends — a fight that ended with Feras hurtling out a second story window to the concrete below.
Police allege that when their officer showed up to assist the paramedics, Morad was badly bloodied from a severe cut and immediately walked toward the officer, who commanded him to stop. When Morad ignored his commands, police say, the officer tasered him but nothing worked. They also claim that Feras — who was shirtless and unarmed — threatened to attack the officer, even saying, “I’m going to kill you.”
So the officer opened fire, killing Feras Morad.
But the student’s friends who were there say that the police account is baloney.
What really happened, say the witnesses who posted their story on the Justice For Feras Morad Facebook page — set up by one of Morad’s fellow debaters — is that Feras, who had little if any experience with drugs, chose that night to experiment with psychedelic mushrooms, also known as the drug psilocybin.
There was no fight in the second-story apartment, they say. Feras just freaked out. He either jumped or fell from the window, and when the police officer showed up, he was badly disoriented and probably suffering from a head injury.
When the cop showed up, Feras’s friends — who had rushed down the stairs to help as soon as Feras went out the window — yelled to the officer to tell him that their stunned friend was unarmed and in need of serious medical help.
“Morad did not threaten the officer. He did not physically swing, attack, or verbally indicate aggression toward the police officer or anyone else,” the Facebook account says.
“Feras Morad was unable to comply with any of the officer’s demands for compliance and continued to be confused and injured, ‘like a bird with a broken wing hobbling around in the house,’ one witness said,” according to the Facebook account.
Two of his friends, Kamiran Dadah and Ryan Fobes, say they were still screaming that Feras was unarmed when the officer shot him.
“There were so many other things they could have done. My brother didn’t have any muscles. He had a chubby little stomach. He couldn’t harm anyone,” said Feras’s sister, Ghada, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper. “They could have cuffed him. Pinned him down. He didn’t have to die.”
But he did die and, in fact, his shooting was the fourth police shooting in Long Beach so far this year. The most recent victim was 19-year-old Hector Morejon, who was also unarmed, killed by an officer responding to a trespassing call. The Inquisitr story of that shooting can be read at this link.
Nationwide, Feras Morad was the 462nd person to be killed by police in the United States this year. Since Morad died on May 27, 16 more people have died in confrontations with police officers. According to a study by the Washington Post, which covered the first 385 police killings of 2015, in about half of the fatal encounters, “police were responding to people seeking help with domestic disturbances and other complex social situations: A homeless person behaving erratically. A boyfriend threatening violence. A son trying to kill himself.”
[Image via Justice For Feras Morad Facebook Page]