Newly released police records provide more details about what led up to the fatal shooting of Isak Aden by officers on July 2. Members of Aden’s family say those records show that police were not justified in using lethal force, and they’ve called for an independent prosecutor to look over the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation when it’s complete.
According to records provided by the Eagan Police Department, at 6:05 p.m. a Dakota County dispatcher spoke with a 911 caller in a car with Aden who said that he had just pointed a gun at the caller.
A few hours later the caller shared a different story. According to the Eagan police report, the woman told police she saw a gun in Aden’s waistband, but he did not point it at her.
According to the BCA, Aden was armed when he led officers on a brief foot chase before stopping near Highway 13 and Burgundy Drive.
An incident report provided by the Bloomington Police Department indicates that during the confrontation, Aden raised a gun to his head twice as officers tried to negotiate with him. Aden also put the gun down at one point and put his hands on his face.
The Bloomington report also indicates that at least one of the responding police units had a “less lethal” instrument available. But it doesn’t say if that was a Taser or shotgun loaded with bean bags.
Four and a half hours after the initial 911 call, an officer reports, “Squad 983 - Got the gun.” Six seconds later, “Shots fired.”
Bloomington Police officers Anthony Kiehl, Daniel Nelson, Matt Ryan, Adam Stier and Eagan police officer Jacob Peterson fired their rifles. A gun was found next to Aden, said the BCA.
“They isolated him, mentally and emotionally tortured him and then essentially executed him,” said Badrudin Aden, one of Aden’s siblings.
Aden's sister Sumaya said her brother was no match for police.
"There was never a standoff in this case,” she said. “Ninety law enforcement officers in SWAT gear with armored vehicles and rifles against an innocent and frightened 23-year-old are not equally matched opponents."
Police reports sent to MPR News don’t indicate how many officers responded, but dozens of squads were apparently on scene. Officers also requested an armored vehicle to respond.
The BCA said recordings from cameras worn by police and on squad vehicles may have captured the incident. When the probe is complete, the agency will turn over its findings to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom.
Jaylani Hussein, of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he wants Backstrom to turn the case over to an independent prosecutor.
"We're concerned about his role in this case going forward, knowing how difficult and how complex these cases can become,” said Hussein. “This case involved 90 officers, according to one report. And we want to get justice for Isak."
In a statement, Backstrom said he will conduct a thorough and impartial review of the BCA findings. But due to the volume of records, including video collected during the investigation, Backstrom said it may take three to four weeks before he makes a decision on whether the officers’ use of force was justified.
“Before releasing our decision to the public, we will meet with Isak Aden’s family [and their attorney], if they wish to do so, to review with them the facts and the law relating to this case and inform them of our decision,” Backstrom said.