News Brief

A Black, Muslim Teen Was Found Hanged in the Woods and His Community Wants Answers

The family of 18-year-old, Ben Keita, seek answers to his puzzling death.

Last November, it was reported that 18-year-old, Ben Keita, an African-American, Muslim teen, had gone missing.


A month after he disappeared from his home in Lake Stevens, Washington—a neighborhood just outside of Seattle—his body was found hanging from a tree in the woods.

His death was initially ruled a suicide, but on Tuesday, the county's medical examiner changed the ruling cause of death to "undetermined." Now his family is seeking answers.

He had “no history of depression, anxiety, any psychological break down at all, so he was a very young, happy young man,” said his father, Ibrahima Keita. “He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School,” he continued. “He was already in the Running Start program at Everett Community College and he was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor and work as a medical examiner. Now those dreams are over.”

His family along with the Council on Islamic American Relations (CAIR), of Washington are pushing for the FBI to investigate Keita's puzzling death.

“We want to make sure that the expertise, the experience, and the human resources of the FBI are brought in to make sure that everything is comprehensively investigated, no stone is left unturned and we really want to get answers about what may have happened,” said Arsalan Bukhari, CAIR's executive director.

Despite what seem like glaring reasons to begin to investigate the incident as a possible hate crime, the FBI has responded to the request for their involvement with the following statement:

“The FBI is communicating with our police partners,” the group said in a statement. “We are aware of circumstances of the individual’s death and will review them with consideration of federal law. If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.”

 

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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