Family of Murdered Phoenix Teenager Calls for More Arrests
The family of a murdered 16-year-old Phoenix girl wants to know why people who had a role in the girl's shooting are still on the streets.
Niani Allen was in a car that was stopped at a red light the night of February 23, when an SUV pulled up alongside them, and a passenger in the SUV opened fire on the car, killing Allen. The alleged shooter, 18-year-old Jason Lindsey, was arrested by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, but five others in the car with him weren't.
"I haven't received a police report, I haven't got anything," says Allen's mother, Deshawn Oliphant. "I don't know what's going on at this point."
See also: -16-Year-Old Girl Shot and Killed in Phoenix
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Local activist Jarrett Maupin and attorney Benjamin Taylor have been working with the family to get to the bottom of several issues surrounding Allen's death, but particularly the fact that the others in the car haven't been arrested.
"I think most of us here contend today that if this happened to a 16-year-old girl in Scottsdale, everyone would be in jail, everyone would have a high bail amount, [and] everyone would be facing criminal charges," Maupin says.
According to court documents previously obtained by New Times, both Allen and Lindsey had been at a basketball game that night at Sierra Linda High School, at 67th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road, and court records indicate that Lindsey had some sort of altercation earlier that night with someone who ended up in the car with Allen.
One person in the car with Allen said the white SUV Lindsey was in followed them from the high school, and said he saw Lindsey "all of the sudden" shooting out of the rear passenger window of the SUV.
Court records indicate that the car was hit several times, and a bullet blew out the rear driver's side window. Allen was hit while sitting in the front passenger seat. Lindsey later told MCSO investigators that he didn't know Allen was in the other car.
Lindsey also told investigators that someone else in the SUV handed him the gun just prior to the shooting.
"These five other people are just as responsible," attorney Benjamin Taylor says. "Why haven't they been brought to justice?"
Taylor says he has been in contact with the county attorney's office, but declined to give specifics of those conversations.
Allen's family members who gathered together yesterday, as well as representatives for her family, seem to agree that Allen is being treated differently because of who she is and where she's from.
What if Allen was from Scottsdale or Gilbert instead of South Phoenix, Maupin asks.
"Look, MCSO talked more to the people who lost their dogs in the Green Acre tragedy than they have to the mother of Niani Allen," he says. "That's crazy, and it makes our community feel like 20 dogs are worth more than one black teenage girl. We know better than that."
UPDATE 11:01 a.m.: We asked MCSO about this issue, and got the following response:
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office interviewed all the witnesses to the shooting including the suspect, Jason Christopher Lindsey, who ultimately was charged with 1 ct. of first degree murder for the death of Niani Allen and 3 cts. of Aggravated assault. There is no evidence to support additional charges at this time. Sheriff's detectives provided their investigation to the County Attorney's office who ultimately makes the decision whether or not to charge a suspect or suspects.
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