Minneapolis Police Release Bodycam Footage of Fatal Shooting

Bayle Gelle, of Eden Prairie, holds a phone with a photo of his 22-year-old son, Dolal Idd, in south Minneapolis on Thursday. (Chao Xiong/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (CN) — Minneapolis police released body camera footage Thursday of a fatal exchange of gunfire with a Black man that brought protests back to South Minneapolis Wednesday night.

The slain man, who police say opened fire on officers first, was identified by his father Thursday morning as 23-year-old Dolal Idd, a member of the Twin Cities metro’s large Somali community. Police have yet to confirm that identification.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that gunfire erupted during a traffic stop of a felony suspect Wednesday evening about a mile east of Cup Foods.

That is where George Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death sparked nationwide protests and riots this summer and spurred a fierce debate in Minneapolis as to whether the department can be effectively reformed. Wednesday’s event was the first police shooting in Minneapolis since Floyd’s death in late May.

The released footage shows an officer approaching a small white sedan in the snowy parking lot of a gas station at the intersection of 36th Street and Cedar Avenue, a major thoroughfare through southeast Minneapolis. 

The officer draws his gun and orders the driver to put his hands up. The driver attempts to peel away but is met by three police vehicles, and for a split second can be seen holding up an object. The sedan’s window shatters, apparently outward, and a nearby officer shouts “Fuck” before the camera user and others fire just over a dozen shots at the sedan.

The shooting took place around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, and was quickly followed by community and government response as news spread online. Arradondo said at a press conference Wednesday night that witnesses reported the man opening fire at police officers before they returned it. A woman in the car with the slain man was not hurt, nor were any of the officers involved.

While nowhere on the scale of summertime protests and riots, the shooting drew a crowd of protesters to the gas station, chanting and at times throwing snowballs at police. Later in the evening, tensions cooled as protesters gathered at a bonfire built in the street.

As tensions ramped up on-scene through the night, Arradondo and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for calm. Arradondo said Wednesday that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was at the scene collecting evidence on the shooting and urged protesters to remain calm and avoid damaging the crime scene.

“We cannot allow for destructive criminal behavior. The city has gone through too much. And so if, in fact, those demonstrations or protests should evolve into civil unrest, I will make the decisions in terms of how we can try to peacefully resolve that,” he said. “I want to stress this again, for those who are out there, that we respect you exercising your First Amendment rights, but we need to keep our officers safe, and we need to keep our community members safe.”

Arradondo promised to release the footage Thursday, and it was made available shortly after 4 p.m.

Trust between the Minneapolis Police Department and the city’s residents has been thin in recent months, with many skeptical of police-released information after early press releases about Floyd’s death bore no mention of the officer who knelt on his neck for several minutes. 

The city erupted into a second round of riots in August after a Black homicide suspect committed suicide in the city’s downtown after rumors spread that police had killed him. Civil unrest stopped only after the city released surveillance footage of the suicide.

Idd’s father, Bayle Gelle of the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, said Thursday morning that police had raided his home after the shooting and detained its residents. 

“The police,they are brutality,” he told reporters. “I want to get justice.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Idd had been previously arrested on gun-related charges, including a 2018 incident in which he allegedly fired a gun in his parents’ home and another in which he was arrested with a 9mm handgun which had been reported stolen in North Dakota.

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