New video released by the Minneapolis Police Department showed that a 23-year-old man fired first before he was shot and killed by police officers during an attempted traffic stop Wednesday evening.
The footage from the cameras worn by officers appears to confirm the account of the encounter given by authorities amid forceful but peaceful demonstrations and calls for more transparency in the death of Dolal Idd.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo released the footage at a news conference Thursday in what he called a demonstration of the department's commitment to transparency. But, he said, while the case is being investigated, the body camera footage showed that officers only fired after being fired upon.
"Clearly, at least from my view of the video … my officers were reacting to that deadly threat, " Arradondo told reporters. "The investigation will uncover more details, but if the question is should the officers not react in a deadly force situation and knowing that community members' lives are at stake as well, the officers are trained to protect community members' lives and their own."
An autopsy found that Idd, of Eden Prairie, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene. Police say he was being sought in connection with a weapons investigation, but otherwise gave few details about the events leading up to the shooting, citing the ongoing state probe. Still, the shooting added to the edginess of a city still reeling from the police killing of George Floyd last May and the unrest that ensued. The footage spread quickly on social media, where some criticized the aggressiveness with which officers initially confronted Idd. Others questioned why the department had in the past waited weeks, if not months, to release footage from controversial shootings.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the 27-second video was "inconclusive" and called for more transparency.
The clip posted to the city's website Thursday afternoon shows the chaotic moments leading up to the 6:15 p.m. shooting at the Holiday gas station at 36th Street and Cedar Avenue in south Minneapolis.
As three Minneapolis police squads with flashing lights converged on him, Idd threw his car into reverse and tried to flee the parking lot. He turned to drive away, but two of the squads blocked his path and an officer approached on foot, gun drawn. The unidentified officer then pointed a gun for the driver to "stop your car," identifying himself as police and instructing Idd to put his "hands up!"
Idd ignored repeated police commands to get out of his car before he pulled out a handgun and shot through the rolled up window, shattering the glass, the footage shows. Officers fired more than a dozen rounds into his car as the clip abruptly ended.
Idd's death was the 83rd homicide of the year. It was also the first police killing in Minneapolis since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of four since-fired officers.
Floyd's death spurred protests and rioting that spread nationwide and prompted an intense, often bitter debate about the future of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Hours after the video's release Thursday, several dozen people attended a vigil for Idd and other victims of police violence.
As the vigil turned to a march, Mary Mochinski looked on and wondered aloud: "Did they watch the same video I did?
"It looks to me those cops were doing their jobs," she said. "I marched in the protests when George Floyd was murdered. This is not the same."
Sources identified the officers who discharged their weapons as Darcy Klund, Paul Huynh and Jason Schmidt. All three have been placed on standard administrative leave.
Klund, a former longtime homicide detective who is married to a Hennepin County judge, now runs the First Precinct Community Response Team, which was leading the investigation of Idd. He was one of several city officers who signed a public letter this summer condemning the killing of Floyd and committing to working with the community "to regain your trust."
Minneapolis-based attorney Aaron Morrison, who is representing the officers involved, declined to comment when reached on Thursday.
Community Response Teams, or CRTs, police quality of life issues, such as drugs and other street-level crimes. These teams investigate "crime patterns, such as the recent spate of car jackings in Minneapolis," said police spokesman John Elder.
Police say the officers pulled the car over for a "felony stop," language that could be key to the investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The term implies the person was suspected — but not convicted — of a felony-level crime, and Minneapolis police policy cites deadly force may be authorized to stop a suspect "whom the peace officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe has committed or attempted to commit a felony and the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or great bodily harm to another person under the threat criteria in clause."
The quick move to release footage marked a departure from past processes when officials waited weeks, even months to disclose video of a police killing.
City Attorney Jim Rowader called the release of the single video an "extraordinary step" toward transparency, although other videos and further information will be "strictly limited" while the investigation continues. Arradondo said he met with Idd's father and showed him the body camera footage before its release. He renewed calls for peaceful protests in the city.
Idd was first identified by his father, Bayle Gelle, of Eden Prairie, after he arrived at the gas station Thursday morning with several supporters.
Gelle said BCA agents arrived at his home Wednesday after his son was killed, said they had a search warrant and detained the residents.
"The police they are brutality. I want to get justice," he said. " ... They was pushing us around and screaming," he said. " ... They have big guns."
Gelle did not elaborate on why police searched the home, but CAIR-MN and other groups condemned the police action.
"According to the family of the deceased, the police entered their home late last night. They were handcuffed and had their house searched, and they were only informed of their son and brother's death at the end of this encounter," said state Sen.-elect Omar Fateh. "This type of treatment for a bereaved family is inhumane and unconscionable.."
In 2019, Idd was convicted of illegally possessing and firing a gun in Hennepin County. The charges say, in July 2018, Idd fired a gun in the basement shower of his parents' home around 1 a.m. with two children sleeping nearby.
Idd's mother told Eden Prairie police that her son was not permitted in the house because "he scares the children." Police arrested him later in Bloomington with a 9mm handgun that had been reported stolen in North Dakota, according to charges.
On Thursday, authorities braced for the kind of unrest that wracked the city this spring, but none materialized.
Regardless of what the body camera video shows, "it doesn't mitigate any trauma we will experience from watching," said Alicia Smith, who runs the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization.
At the time of the shooting, Smith was shoveling the sidewalk outside the groups' headquarters, about a block north of the Holiday. She ducked inside upon hearing the gunfire. She says she then went home and only learned of the shooting when she returned to the scene a few hours later.
Carmen Means said that many Blacks have always harbored an innate distrust of criminal justice system, fueled by past abuses and decades of overly-aggressive policing tactics in minority neighborhoods.
"I think the challenge is that we don't know — we're often given the same narrative from MPD," said Means, a pastor and executive director of the Central Area Neighborhood Development. "We're talking about a community that's been really traumatized, we're talking about a community that's hurting."
That mistrust is only deepened after incidents in which police manage take armed white suspects into custody without shooting them, said Shanene Herbert, healing justice program director of the American Friends Service Committee, an organization devoted to social justice causes.
When, she asked, will the system "honor a Black person's humanity?"
Adriana Mota and Silvia Landaverde were finishing up some work in the law firm De León, Nestor & Torres Wednesday night, when they heard a loud series of noises that Mota initially mistook for a car with a noisy muffler. Landaverde recognized them as gunshots and told Mota to duck down.
They saw several people in the parking lot apparently scrambling for cover, they said.
Harold Moses has lived near the Holiday for 28 years and said he heard about a dozen gunshots.
Moses, a Black single father of two, said Wednesday night he immediately assumed the victim was Black. After George Floyd was killed he stopped allowing his 15-year-old son, who is part Filipino, from jogging in the neighborhood because of concerns about safety risks imposed by the public and police.
"Nothing seems to change — policing and people's attitudes," he said.
Staff writers Andy Mannix, Paul Walsh and Liz Sawyer contributed to this report.