Muslims, police call relations improved 4 still face charges in beating incident


Members of a Northwest Baltimore Muslim group and city police say they have ironed out some of the differences that surfaced last week when four Muslims were arrested as they beat a suspected drug dealer near their Forest Park mosque.

But police and Muslim leaders remain divided on one issue.

Amiyr Muhammad, community officer for the Nubian Islamic Hebrew group, said the Muslims believe that one of the officers involved is biased against the group and should be reassigned.

"I indicated we are not happy with his presence," Mr. Muhammad said yesterday after a meeting with police this week to discuss the incident and the Muslims' citizen patrols.

However, he said the group's relationship with the Police Department "has never been a question. Our relationship with them is fine."

Sgt. Goldie S. Phillips of Northwest District Community Relations called the incident "unfortunate" but said that the meeting had re-established amicable relations and that there was no need to transfer the officer.

"The community is back to normal," he said. "You can't ask for a better model of citizens on patrol in that community. They have the support of business and community leaders," Sergeant Phillips said. "We don't want to stretch it out of proportion."

He said the Muslims have been advised to keep within the law and to notify the police through the 911 emergency number if they see anything illegal.

Mr. Muhammad said the group will "take that route" as long as the situation can be resolved that way. "We intend to do what we've been doing -- standing guard in the community."

Last Friday, three members of the mosque and a visitor were arrested after they chased a suspected drug dealer they had warned about selling narcotics near their temple and beat him with sticks.

Police officers who intervened said they were pushed and shoved, and charged the four Muslims with assault. The drug suspect fled. The four who were arrested are scheduled to be tried early next month.

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