Questions remain over ‘high risk’ search of Idd's family home

Rally and march calling for justice for Dolal Idd
Ikhlas Ahdirahman, 20, a cousin of Dolal Idd, speaks about Idd's death and about law enforcement agencies' treatment of Idd's family during a march demanding justice for Idd on Sunday in Minneapolis. Idd was shot and killed by Minneapolis police outside a gas station on the city's south side on Dec. 30, 2020.
Nicole Neri for MPR News file

Community members continue to question why law enforcement authorities conducted a high-risk raid on the family home of a 23-year-old man shot and killed by police last week

Family members have said sheriff’s deputies and state investigators entered their home with guns early Thursday, zip-tied the adults and didn’t tell them that their son, Dolal Idd, had been killed until after the search was over. 

The raid was condemned during a protest march that included hundreds of people over the weekend, and by community groups including the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Some say it showed a lack of concern for the children in the house, and others said the raid could have ended in tragedy. 

“This type of treatment for a bereaved family is inhumane and unconscionable,” said newly elected state Sen. Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis. “The police have lost the public trust, especially within BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities.”    

After initial criticism, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office released body-camera footage of the raid, which they participated in at the request of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said that the raid was “high risk” because of the possibility that weapons were at the scene. 

Video shows that officers, with guns drawn, banged on the front door and then streamed into the home, shouting, “Police! Search warrant!” and corralling the home’s residents in a living room. 

Idd was shot and killed by Minneapolis police as police tried to catch him in an illegal gun sale on Wednesday evening, according to an application for a search warrant. The application also said that a criminal informant had told them that Idd kept other firearms at the home in Eden Prairie, Minn.

But the mere presence of a weapon doesn’t mean that the raid would be risky for officers, said professor David Harris, who studies police behavior at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  

“If you have people in the home who present some kind of risk, you can understand why police would do this,” Harris said. “But we would want to know as members of the public, well, what did they know or think that led them to think that these terrified people would be some risk to them?” 

Fists in the air outside a gas station.
People raise their fists during a vigil on Dec. 31, 2020, for Dolal Idd who was identified by family as the man fatally shot by police the previous night at the Holiday gas station near 36th Street East and Cedar Avenue.
Nicole Neri for MPR News 2020

Hutchinson said in his only statement on the raid that he was proud of the “professionalism” his officers displayed during the raid, and that they conducted themselves “appropriately and respectfully.” 

Police have a lot of options when deciding how to search or raid a home, Harris said. At a time when police behavior is under unprecedented scrutiny, law enforcement should share more information with the public about what motivated these actions, he said. 

“It would be really great if, despite the difficult circumstances, police were able to communicate to the public why they had done what they had done instead of just saying, ‘We did the right thing,’” Harris said. “I don’t have the sense that what the sheriff had to say would really satisfy the public.” 

Hutchinson and the sheriff’s office did not respond to questions from MPR News about the raid.

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