Updated: Jan. 2, 9:45 p.m.
Most of what the public knows about the deadly police shooting of Dolal Idd, 23, comes from a 27-second clip from an officer body-camera video that Minneapolis police released Thursday.
City officials took the unprecedented step of releasing the footage less than 24 hours after the shooting, saying it was needed to further transparency and dispel rumors. Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said his officers were responding to deadly force and that the video appears to show Idd shooting at police before they returned fire. But activists remain skeptical of that narrative and still have questions about what led to the tense encounter.
The shooting set off protests and vigils, as well as renewed calls by some activists to abolish the police. It was the city’s first police killing since May 25, when Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the neck of George Floyd for about nine minutes. Floyd’s killing, less than a mile from where Idd was shot, set off a worldwide movement focused on race and police brutality.
Here’s what we know so far about Wednesday’s shooting and what has happened since then.
Arradondo said officers were executing a traffic stop, which took place at the Holiday gas station at 36th Street East and Cedar Avenue in south Minneapolis, as part of a “probable cause” weapons investigation. But he didn’t offer more specifics about it. A police spokesperson earlier said that the victim was suspected of a felony. Arradondo said after watching the video, he’s convinced that Idd shot at officers before they returned fire. Officers recovered a weapon at the scene, he said.
“Should the officers not react in a deadly force situation, and knowing that community members' lives were at stake as well?” Arradondo told reporters Thursday. “The officers are trained to protect community members' lives and their own."
A woman in the car with Idd was not injured, and neither were police.
What does the video show?
At the Holiday gas station parking lot, officers are heard ordering the driver of a white car to stop his vehicle and to put his hands up. The car keeps moving, but police SUVs box him in. A slowed-down version of the video released by police appears to show shards of glass from the white car's window shattering outward. More than a dozen shots then ring out.
Activists, along with family and friends of Idd, say they can't make out what is happening in the video. Police say this is the only video that the department will be releasing. The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, is collecting other video.
On Friday, Minneapolis City Council Member Phillipe Cunningham called the killing a traumatic and painful end to the year, but said both the city and BCA were being as transparent as possible.
On Twitter, Cunningham said it appeared that Dolal "shot at police according to body cam footage, and lost his life as a result."
What led to the traffic stop?
Other than Arrodondo’s description of a “probable cause weapons investigation,” that’s still unclear. The body-camera clip that was released starts just as an officer jumps out of his vehicle and draws his gun. Arradondo said he didn’t know of any arrest warrant involved with the incident. Police say the officers were part of the “community response team,” which has been investigating a recent surge of carjackings in the city.
“It’s still extremely difficult to believe the police version of events,” said activist Nekima Levy Armstrong on Thursday night, shortly after the video was released. “All we’re asking for are basic answers to basic questions. Why did you pull the man over in the first place? When he tried to leave, why did you cattle him in? Why did you get all ready for some bloodshed?”
Why did the city release just one video?
Activists have accused city officials of releasing video evidence swiftly only when they believe it to side in favor of police. In most cases, the city asks the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to handle the investigation; the data becomes public after the investigation is completed. Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesperson for Mayor Jacob Frey’s office, said Friday officials decided to release the footage, even while the BCA investigation is underway, to preserve public safety and dispel rumor.
“Of the video captured and available, the city provided the clearest footage in its possession,” Vlatkovich said.
Jill Oliveira, a spokesperson for the BCA, said Friday the agency will release the names of the officers “once initial interviews have taken place with incident participants and witnesses,” but she did not provide a timeframe. Oliveira said the video evidence will become public when the case is closed.
The BCA did not offer any additional information on Saturday.
Who was Dolal Idd?
Idd, 23, was Somali American and lived in the Twin Cities suburb of Eden Prairie. His father told the Sahan Journal that Idd was taking classes at Normandale College.
Idd “was a family man, loved by his folks and his friends. Only god knows the pain everyone is feeling today,” said Abdirahman Warsame, who organized a GoFundMe page to help pay for the family’s funeral costs.
According to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension records, Idd had been convicted of five misdemeanors and two felonies. Records show that he was jailed for possession of marijuana, carrying a firearm without a permit, theft, his involvement in a traffic accident, fleeing a police officer and giving a false name to a police officer. He was just finishing a three-year probation, his father said.
In an incident from 2018, police say Idd, then 21, fired a gun in his family’s basement while two younger children were sleeping on the same level, according to Southwest News Media.
His family is burying Idd on New Year’s Day, said Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
What are the concerns about how Idd’s family was treated after the shooting?
The treatment of Idd's family in the wake of the shooting drew criticism, with allegations that relatives were treated harshly when authorities executed a search warrant early Thursday morning at the family home in Eden Prairie, about eight hours after the shooting.
In an interview with Sahan Journal on Thursday, Idd's father Bayle Gelle said that when the armed Hennepin County sheriff's deputies entered his home just after 2:15 a.m., "I thought they were going to kill us."
Family members had their hands restrained with ties, Gelle told Sahan Journal. He also said authorities did not tell him his son was dead until they were done at the home.
State senator-elect Omar Fateh of Minneapolis issued a statement Thursday saying that "this type of treatment for a bereaved family is inhumane and unconscionable."
On Saturday, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office released a 28-minute body camera video showing the initial stages of what it called a "high risk, court-ordered 'knock and announce' search warrant."
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said he believes the video shows that deputies "acted appropriately, respectfully, and followed HCSO procedure for high-risk warrants."
Hutchinson said the deputies "were responsible for securing the home and the occupants at the request of the BCA" which is investigating the shooting. Hutchinson said SWAT members were used because the search warrant "indicated there was probable cause to believe guns were in the home."
The video, take from one deputy’s body camera and in which family members' faces are obscured, shows deputies entering the home yelling "police, search warrant, let me see your hands!" Family members — adults and children, some not fully dressed — are brought to the living room, with the adults eventually having zip ties placed around their wrists.
Several times, family members ask the deputies if they can explain what's happening or show them the search warrant; at one point, a female voice appears to ask, "Is it him that (was) shot in Minneapolis?" — perhaps in reference to Dolal Idd.
Deputies repeatedly answer that investigators have the warrant and will be on hand soon to talk with the family, answer questions and remove the zip ties.
After the initial entry into the home the scene appears mostly calm, with the body camera occasionally capturing what sounds like someone softly crying.
About 25 minutes after deputies entered the home, the body camera video shows a BCA special agent in the entryway. The video ends less than a minute later as deputies appear to turn over the scene to the BCA.
It’s not clear from the video what authorities were seeking at the home, or whether anything was taken from the home. The family told Sahan Journal that authorities did not take anything. The BCA has not released details on its investigation.
A rally calling for justice for Dolal Idd is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the scene of the shooting, starting at 2 p.m.
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