Nation of Islam minister will not face battery charges

Associated Press/July 29, 2006

Los Angeles -- The West Coast leader of the Nation of Islam will not be charged with criminal battery for a scuffle with police officers last year, the city attorney announced.

Police Chief William J. Bratton had requested that Minister Tony Muhammad and two of his security guards be charged with misdemeanor battery after the three men tangled with police officers during a vigil for a shooting victim on Aug. 25.

"I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to file charges against Minister Muhammad in this matter," City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said in a statement released Friday.

The case had sparked tension between police and black community leaders.

According to the police department, a "very belligerent and uncooperative" Muhammad disobeyed police orders and took part in a mob assault on officers.

A transcript of the incident released by police showed that when an officer asked Muhammad to "back up," he twice responded, "Make me."

Muhammad has contended that an officer kicked him in the face after he was handcuffed on the ground.

"I'm happy my reputation is intact," said Muhammad, who is suing the LAPD over the incident for excessive use of force. "I know I didn't do anything wrong. It's a shame it took so long for what we knew was so obvious."

Muhammad is the western regional director of the Nation of Islam.

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