Minneapolis police were conducting a gun sting operation when they exchanged gunfire with Dolal Idd last week outside a South Side gas station, killing him, according to new court documents.
The shooting occurred Wednesday night, when police said Idd showed up to a gun deal at a Holiday gas station at 36th Street and Cedar Avenue. When officers moved in to arrest him, a "gunfight ensued," a state investigator wrote in a sworn affidavit accompanying a search warrant.
The warrant, filed Monday in Hennepin County District court, sheds new light on the circumstances leading up to the fatal encounter. It also explains what led authorities to an early morning search of an Eden Prairie home where Idd lived with his parents and siblings, leading to criticism of how the family was treated and the subsequent release of body camera video of the raid. The warrant says that authorities suspected they might find guns, bookkeeping materials, videos and photos related to Idd's alleged gun possession, but nothing was recovered.
Idd's Dec. 30 killing was the first by Minneapolis police since George Floyd's May 25 death, which sparked widespread protests and a state human rights investigation of the MPD. Body camera footage released a day after the shooting appeared to show Idd firing first at police. Speaking to reporters last week, police Chief Medaria Arradondo defended his officers' decision to fire, saying that they were "reacting to that deadly threat" when Idd shot at them.
But hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets in recent days to demand justice for the 23-year-old, reigniting a debate on excessive police force and race relations.
Toussaint Morrison, a local community organizer, said the core problem is a lack of trust between some residents and the MPD dating back decades that makes it difficult to give officers the benefit of the doubt.
"To me, talking about policing and community safety, one of the pillars of that is trust; you're going to need trust if you're going to employ somebody to keep you safe," said Morrison, while questioning the decision to arrest Idd at such a public place like a gas station, where presumably innocent bystanders could be put at risk. "Regardless of what you think about what [Idd has] done in the past or who he is, just give him his day in court, because right now, what you're seeing is the MPD acting as the judge, jury and executioner."
But attorney Fred Bruno said that officers were entitled to use deadly force after they were fired upon. He said that the encounter was rife with risk for officers and the public, because they believed Idd to be armed and then he "rams them, or has no disregard for the personal safety of the police officers, when he's accelerating his car to get away."
"This is one of the clearest-cut cases of authorized use of force that I've seen," said Bruno, who has built a successful practice defending police officers in use-of-force cases. "The fact that three officers shot simultaneously tells you something — three cops making the wrong decision? No, that's not likely."
The warrant affidavit, signed by state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent Brandon Johnson, says that members of the MPD's 1st Precinct community response team had been investigating "a person selling firearms illegally and prohibited from possessing firearms." Using a confidential informant, they arranged to buy a MAC-10 semi-automatic pistol with an informant acting as a potential buyer. The informant told officers that the alleged seller had more guns at his home, the warrant says.
Idd — who is identified in the warrant as the suspected seller — showed up at the gas station in a white Chevrolet Cobalt, with an unnamed woman riding in the passenger seat.
A short body camera video released the day after the shooting shows officers closing in with guns drawn and giving orders for Idd to get out of the car, before Idd attempts to flee in his vehicle and is pinned by squad cars. At one point in the video, Idd appears to raise a gun and fire through the driver's side window — sending glass shards flying outward from the car — prompting officers to fire more than a dozen rounds into the car, killing him.
The warrant does not say whether a gun transaction occurred before police closed in.
According to the warrant, a silver and black handgun was found in the car after the shooting, between Idd's body and the center console. The BCA says that a MAC-10 was also recovered. Investigators later interviewed Dolal's girlfriend, who was in the car at the time, but wasn't wounded. She told police she knew him only as "Bird" and that she had been to his Eden Prairie home where he lives in the basement. Police said there were "several" calls for service at the home, including a 2018 incident which led to Idd's conviction on weapons violations in Hennepin County after he fired off a gun in a shower.
The warrant requested a nighttime search "to prevent the loss, destruction of removal of objects of the search." Idd's family members said the family did not learn of his death until after law enforcement searched their home, and are seen on body camera footage repeatedly asking police why they are in the home.
Days after the shooting, questions continued to swirl about the police's handling of the case.
Sam Sanchez of the police reformist group Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, said that officers' response in Idd's case is a sharp contrast to other cases in which people who fire at police are later arrested without incident. Oftentimes, in those cases the suspect is white, he said.
"It was very clear from that video that they were coming after Dolal and they had him pinned in there," he said. "They could do the same thing that they do to white men who shoot cops first."
Also on Monday, the Dakota County Attorney's office said it will review the case to determine whether the shooting was justified. The decision comes under a new protocol established in June among five Twin Cities county attorneys — Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties — on how to handle incidents when police kill civilians in the line of duty. It dictates that the county attorney's office where the death occurred will not be involved with the investigation or charging decision to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Instead, it will be overseen by one of the other four counties.
"This protocol was established to mitigate issues that may arise. It is similar to the way other criminal cases are handled when a prosecutor's office thinks it might have a conflict-of-interest with a defendant, witness or others involved in a case," the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a statement, adding that the protocol had been "invoked" twice.
The BCA identified the officers who discharged their weapons as Sgt. Darcy Klund, a 33-year veteran of the department, Officer Paul Huynh, a 23 year veteran and Officer Jason Schmitt, a six-year veteran. All three have been placed on standard administrative leave.
Klund is married to a Hennepin County Judge, presenting another potential conflict of interest had the case landed there.