A referee who was tried twice but never convicted in the shooting death of a Rochester teen has been removed from the list of officiants used by Rochester Public Schools.
Parents and family of basketball players recognized Alexander Weiss refereeing a Century High School girls ninth-grade basketball game Friday at Century.
Monique Shanice, who attended the game to watch her sister play, said she recognized Weiss from the high-profile murder case.
Weiss was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Muhammed Rahim. Weiss shot and killed Rahim after a crash involving Weiss’ Subaru and a Chevrolet Cavalier Rahim was driving on 31st Street Northeast near East River Road in Rochester on Jan. 14, 2018.
Weiss was tried twice. Both trials concluded with hung juries, meaning the panels of 12 were unable to come to a consensus on Weiss’ guilt or innocence.
Weiss didn’t dispute the fact that he shot and killed Rahim, but maintained he did so in self-defense. The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges against Weiss on Nov. 25, 2019. The dismissal does not establish Weiss’ guilt or innocence.
Weiss asked that the charge be removed from his record and no longer be available to the public. A hearing for that motion was delayed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was ultimately granted.
Shanice said a parent of another player asked if that was Weiss who was refereeing the game. Shanice confirmed it appeared to be him.
“My stomach was in knots,” she said.
Shanice said she understands that Weiss no longer faces charges in the shooting death.
“It’s still a fact of knowing that he shot to death a teen in this community,” she said. “And now he’s acting as an official over students in this community — that didn’t sit right with me.”
Shanice’s mom, Amy Caine, watched as Weiss officiated over the game in which her daughter, an eighth-grade student at Kellogg Middle School, was playing.
“My reaction was I wanted to get (her) off the court,” Caine said.
However, she didn’t want to cause a scene or embarrass her younger daughter.
“It felt like a no-win situation,” she said.
Shanice wanted to give other parents a warning that they might find themselves in the same situation and posted a message on social media about Weiss officiating the game, along with images of him that showed he wasn’t wearing a mask, which is required of all the players and spectators at the event to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
During Weiss’ trial, he contended that he was unable to leave the scene of the confrontation with Rahim due to severe asthma.
“This about the kids’ safety,” Caine said.
Shanice’s post garnered a lot of public reaction — in support and against. However, several people agreed to contact the district and ask RPS not to use Weiss as a referee.
Weiss was brought in to officiate the game through the Rochester Area Officials Association.
However, Mark Kuisle, activities director at Century High School, responded that Weiss has been removed from RPS' list of officiants. Kuisle’s response did not specify a reason Weiss was dropped from the list.
Shanice said her goal was to warn parents, but she was glad he won’t officiate games at RPS sites. However, she added, she doesn’t believe he should officiate games where RPS students might be playing.
“Some of these students might have known (Rahim),” Shanice said. “I just feel he shouldn’t be in that position.”
Weiss could not be immediately reached for comment.