Minneapolis police release body camera footage of fatal shooting

A screen shot from a officer's body camera footage appears to show a man shooting a gun at police from the window of his car.

The Minneapolis Police Department on Thursday shared a 28-second clip of a fatal police shooting from the night before that shows officers shooting into a white car at a man authorities say fired on officers first after being stopped on a felony warrant.

The department’s uncharacteristically swift release of the video less than 24-hours after the incident aims to quell tensions in a city still raw from the last police killing — of George Floyd on May 25.

“In continued efforts to increase trust with our community, Chief (Medaria) Arradondo has made the unprecedented decision to release officer body worn camera video within 24 hours of this incident. This was done to further aid efforts in understanding and fostering transparency,” spokesman John Elder wrote in a statement.

The graphic video posted to the city’s website shows just a part of the fatal encounter that began around 6 p.m. at a gas station near 36th Street and Cedar Avenue on Wednesday. The video begins as a plain clothes officer steps out of a van with his gun pointed at a white car cornered by another squad car.

The driver of the car, a Black 23-year-old man later identified as Dolal Idd by his father, pulls away from the approaching officer as the officer yells, “Hands up! Hands up!”

The car is blocked by other squad cars outside the crowded gas station. Idd appears to be pointing a gun before his driver’s side window shatters, and officers fire several rounds into the car. Idd was pronounced dead at the scene.

The stop was part of a “weapons investigation” according to Elder. The police department has not named the officers involved in the shooting, but the Star Tribune identified them as Darcy Klund, Paul Huynh and Jason Schmidt.

Idd’s father, Bayle Gelle, said police searched his home in Eden Prairie after police killed his son, according to the Star Tribune.

“They was pushing us around and screaming,” he told the Star Tribune, although declined to say why police searched the home.

Idd was convicted in 2019 in Hennepin County of illegally possessing and firing a gun that had been reported stolen, according to court records.

The incident happened less than a mile from where Floyd was killed at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. That intersection is still barricaded for a block in each direction and occupied by activists as a so-called autonomous zone.

Soon after the Wednesday death was reported, activists at what’s now called George Floyd Square put out a call for supporters to go to the Holiday gas station and “hold space.” A crowd of demonstrators soon swelled to around 100 people, who built a bonfire in the intersection. The scene became tense at times with demonstrators swearing and throwing snowballs at police holding a perimeter around the scene.

Arradondo held a press conference late Wednesday calling for peace, saying officers were fired on first and promising to release the body camera footage soon.

Reports that police acted in self-defense did little to satisfy those distrustful of the police; police first described Floyd’s death as a medical incident. Prosecutors initially blamed cardiovascular disease and intoxicants for Floyd’s death, citing preliminary findings from the county medical examiner. Later the medical examiner would rule Floyd’s death a homicide.

Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey urged protesters to remain calm; the city still bears the scars of the riots and arson that reduced portions of Lake Street to rubble.

“Events of this past year have marked some of the darkest days in our city. We know a life has been cut short and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile. Rebuilding that trust will depend on complete transparency,” Frey said in a statement released Wednesday night. “We must all be committed to getting the facts, pursuing justice, and keeping the peace.”

Since the civil unrest in the summer, the city has chosen to release video evidence early when it exonerates police officers.

In August, the Minneapolis Police Department tweeted a surveillance video showing a man killing himself downtown after being pursued by police, helping quash misinformation that he was shot by police. The city’s official account retweeted the video to more than 200,000 followers before it was deleted.

Body camera footage is typically only released months after an incident, if ever. Body cam footage from Floyd’s killing didn’t become public for more than two months. Even then, the police department didn’t release the video. Rather, a defense attorney for one of the former officers charged with Floyd’s death filed it as evidence in the criminal case against them.

The police department says it won’t be posting more video footage beyond the 28-second clip as “the investigation and any subsequent prosecution or appeal are active,” according to the city’s website.

Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.