Founder of Nonprofit Focused on Preventing Incarceration Charged with Murder

(Kansas City Star) A Kansas City entrepreneur who is locally lauded for his work helping to prevent people from being incarcerated has been charged with murder in a mid-July homicide.

Na’im Al-Amin, 44, of Kansas City, was charged on July 17 with one count of second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one charge of unlawful use of a weapon, court records show. Al-Amin is the founder and CEO of Swagg Inc., a nonprofit focused on preventing people from being incarcerated and helping those released from prison to re-enter society.

It does not appear he had been arrested as of Monday. No one by Al-Amin’s name is being held at the Jackson County jail, and an initial court appearance has not yet been set.

At about 1:52 a.m. on July 14, police were called to the area of East 83rd Street and Troost Avenue on a report of shots fired, according to charging documents. Police at the scene found two spent casings in the driveway, but did not see any blood. They left.

Several hours later, at about 9 a.m., Kansas City police were called back to the area where a man was found lying in the backyard of a home near the 1300 block of East 81st Terrace. The victim, later identified as Todd Tillman, 36, was declared dead at the scene, police told media at the time.

Al-Amin’s face had been shared all over local news in recent years for another reason. He has a compelling narrative, and one intertwined with hope and perseverance.

Al-Amin tells the story often: He was 8 years old the first time he was put into handcuffs, he wrote in a 2021 guest blog for the DeBruce Foundation.

Then a boy from Junction City, Kansas, but raised in the foster care system in Los Angeles, Al-Amin had been caught trying to rob someone.

“Since then, I spent time in juvenile detention, county jail, and finally, in prison,” he wrote. “I was released for the last time on March 22, 2018. Today, my mission is to help others never go in and never go back.”