When Naim Rasool Muhammad went on trial this spring for killing his two young sons -- an act for which he was sentenced to death -- local news outlets focused mainly on the brutality of the crime, and understandably so.
Muhammad kidnapped 5-year-old Naim and 3-year-old Elijah in August as their mother walked them to Naim's first day of kindergarten. He took the boys to a creek, where he ordered them to get into the water and "play like y'all swimming," then held their heads under until they drowned. Muhammad told the court he was scared that the boys' mother, Kametra Sampson, would take the boys away from him.
Hanging over that narrative, however, is a big "what if." Sampson, too, had been forced into Muhammed's car, but she jumped out at a red light after spotting a uniformed Dallas County constable. She explained the situation and pleaded for help.
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The constable relayed the information to Dallas police, but told Sampson she couldn't follow Muhammad since her car didn't have lights or sirens. Besides, according to The Dallas Morning News, her precinct's policy prohibited high-speed chases.
There's no telling whether the situation would have turned out differently had the constable hopped in her car and pursued Muhammad, but the thought that it might have, and offense at the idea that a uniformed law enforcement officer lacks the authority to offer help in a bona fide emergency, led Sampson to consider a lawsuit against Dallas County.
On Tuesday, Dallas County Commissioners sidestepped that threat, agreeing to pay Sampson $350,000 to settle her claims, according to the Morning News.
"For two young lives, and what we consider to be pain and suffering, we felt that was reasonable," Commissioner John Wiley Price said, according to the paper. It was simply the "right thing to do."