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Ataah Azah is a rapper (known as Ataah King), songwriter, and software developer based in Chicago, Illinois by way of New York.
On November 16, 2022, he was en route to his parent’s home in New York for the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Azah about the incident.
His morning shifted into an unexpected tragedy when he encountered Hillsville police officers on Interstate 77 in Virginia.
2022 was a Thanksgiving that Azah will never forget
According to Azah, he was unarmed, barricaded, arrested, and allegedly assaulted by the Hillsville police officers in Caroll County.
Officer Chad Reynolds pulled Azah over for not switching to the left lane during a traffic stop. Azah says that he cannot recall if the accusation is true and did not realize that he was in the wrong.
The officer demanded Azah to stop, but he continued to drive with his hazard lights on, and eventually, two officers performed a PIT maneuver.
He got out of his car and proceeded to run on the interstate out of fear due to the racial disparities of police brutality and a mental health diagnosis from 2017.
Azah was given verbal commands, stopped when he heard a Taser release, and then got on the ground. He said, “The officers then pulled my hair, pressed me into the ground, and punched me during a time of duress.”
He was arrested and booked at the New River Valley Regional Jail in Dublin, Virginia. Azah was charged with several offenses and spent two months in jail with no bond.
According to policescorecard.org, 75% of the arrests made in Carroll County are for low-level offenses. Black people are 27.4 times more likely to be arrested for low-level non-violent offenses than white people.
This traumatic experience still affects Azah
In addition to this, he says he was experiencing elevated levels of anxiety and sleep deprivation while on the road.
“In jail, I was seen by a therapist and psychiatrist, and I continue to be seen by both,” Azah admitted.
Ataah King is ready to set the record straight
Azah expressed that he did not resist arrest physically despite what the police report may say.
Because of his arrest, Azah claims he has lost his job and apartment. He also canceled show bookings.
Azah states he has attempted to contact the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Department of Justice to no avail.
His attorneys were able to get several of his charges dropped. He now awaits trial for two offenses, one being an assault on an officer.
Azah expressed that he’s advocating for himself in hopes that others will not have to experience similar situations. He added, “I’m hoping to raise awareness of my experience with hopes of the truth prevailing so my case can be justly resolved and so that something like this can be prevented from happening to any other person.”
Source link : theblackwallsttimes.com