Protesters question police shooting of Dolal Idd

Photo by King Demetrius Pend

Over a thousand people took to the streets last Sunday, January 3, demanding that Minneapolis police be prosecuted in the shooting of Dolal Idd on December 30. The march and rally was organized by CAIR Minnesota.

The community in all of its forms are demanding justice for Dolal and his family,” said Jaylani Hussein, president of CAIR Minnesota, “and we are learning every day more that raises more questions about the actions of the police that night’”

Minneapolis police shot and killed Dolal Idd in South Minneapolis after what they termed a shootout. From their perspective, the shooting was a “good shoot’ insofar as it appeared to be justified because Idd supposedly shot at them.

The shooting appears justified because the less-than-30-seconds video from the body cam of the officer who confronted Idd appears to show that Idd fired first. However, the evidence displayed in the video is not clear nor conclusive.

The shooting of Dolal Idd happened at a time when Minneapolis police and law enforcement have come under intense public scrutiny. Instead of putting the community’s collective minds at ease, the shooting has raised lots of questions, especially about what is meant by public safety in the city of Minneapolis.

“It was highly disturbing to learn that the Minneapolis Police Department killed a man in a public place, endangering the public unnecessarily, and intentionally putting out incomplete information,” said activist Nekima Levy Armstrong.”

“We were told Dolal was pulled over in a traffic stop. The body camera showed it was more like an ambush. We must continue to demand that full and complete body camera evidence be made accessible.”

“We are left with more questions than answers,” said Levy Armstrong. “Why would anyone take their word at face value? They always find justification for killing people, particularly Black people.”

In fact Reid Rossell, a glass expert who has worked with glass for over 40 years, took to social media to explain, “The bodycam video doesn’t prove what they say it proves. Car glass is tempered. It is molded and heat treated to create tremendous inner force and pressure, over 10,000 psi. Any projectile damage coming from outside or inside causes the glass to expand and explode outside the radius of the curve. Outside the car.”

Others who have watched the video wondered aloud why there was no muzzle flash from inside the car if a weapon was fired and why, though the police’s guns can be heard, his was not.

“Did the shooter know that it was the police that was after him?” asked anti-police violence activist Toussaint Morrison. “The video seems to show the first person confronting him was the officer from whose body camera we are viewing the events. The officer is in plain clothes and he is running at Idd with his gun drawn. It was only after that other police cars can be seen boxing him in from the front as an unmarked SUV blocked him from the side.”

“It was a big tragedy,” said 8th Ward City Council Member Andrea Jenkins. “We must have a full and thorough investigation, and if there is any wrongdoing, police need to be held accountable.”

Photo by Chris Juhn

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department conducted a raid on the Idd family later in the wee hours of New Year’s Eve. Idd’s father, Bayle Gelle, publicly complained that the sheriff’s department was rude to him and his family during the raid.

In response, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson released body camera footage of the raid. While police appeared to act appropriately, the video was nevertheless frightening, as it showed a SWAT team entering the Idd home with automatic weapons and guns drawn as they gathered the family, including little children, into their living room.

“We can show more humanity and more restraint when we are doing jobs,” said Jenkins. “We have to respect people’s humanity. The screaming and yelling, it seemed a little over the top.”

“The raid was abhorrent,” said Levy Armstrong. “They raided their family home in the middle of the night and handcuffed and zip-tied them, and they weren’t sensitive to the special needs child in the house. And they were not even shown a warrant when asked why they were raiding their home.”

While police appear to be attempting to be transparent in this case, it was not clear until days later why Idd was stopped. In fact, it was not a stop at all; police have admitted later it was a sting operation, in which they suspected Idd of selling illegal guns. A sting operation implies that the police had influence in where and when the sting would take place.

Photo by King Demetrius

What about public safety?

“As chief, I recognize the trauma that our city has been under, and we want to do everything we can to maintain the peace,” said MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo in a statement soon after the shooting. “Our city has gone through too much. We need to keep our officers safe. We need to keep our community safe,

But the circumstances surrounding the shooting made it appear that the needs and safety of the community are not taken into account in police operations.  It is as if the rose-colored glasses have been ripped off and people are less willing to accept the official version of such events.

“Why would you do an operation like that in the middle of a busy gas station and busy neighborhood intersection?” asked Hussein. “This operation endangered the lives of everyone in that neighborhood. While we were protesting Thursday night, people were still trying to get gas at the station.”

“This [shooting] reminds us that there is an urgent need to re-evaluate police protocol and procedure in Minneapolis and police departments throughout the state of Minnesota, said Levy Armstrong. “Oversight and accountability in law enforcement is still desperately needed. Law enforcement should act with wisdom and restraint.