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Judge orders court records unsealed in wrongful death lawsuit against Phoenix police

A federal judge has set a timeline for unsealing court documents in a multimillion-dollar wrongful death and disability lawsuit against Phoenix and a group of police officers.

A city spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on the order.

Court records say Muhammad Muhaymin had post-traumatic stress disorder, claustrophobia and schizophrenia. He died in 2017 after Phoenix police officers allegedly put their weight on him during an arrest.

Muhaymin’s sister sued and a cache of court documents have been kept sealed.

Now a judge plans to release most of the records. He wrote that some appear to have already been revealed in state court. 

“And if that is the case, there is no reason that those same records should be shielded from public view in a federal court filing,” said attorney Larry Wulkan, a partner at the firm Zwillinger Wulkan. 

Wulkan is not involved in the lawsuit which is scheduled to go to trial in April.

Judge Douglas Rayes was recently assigned to preside over the case after Judge Susan Brnovich recused herself.  

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.