Community members gathered in front of the Governor’s Residence on Jan. 4, 2022, in remembrance of Dolal Idd, who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers on Dec. 30, 2020. Activists called for the release of evidence, including more video footage of the incident, and for Governor Tim Walz to assign a new investigative unit for police murders.
“It’s been almost a year later, and [Bayle Gelle, Dolal Idd’s father] doesn’t have all the evidence he needs… and that’s inhumane,” said Toshira Garraway Allen of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence (FSFAPV). “That’s inhumane behavior because this family deserves closure. This family deserves answers.”
A deeply emotional Gelle spoke to the group assembled on the sidewalk.
“It is almost a year that they take the life of my son… I remember lots of time we have lunch, me and my son, in my home,” he said. “Although I know my son is not coming back… but it’s still, always in my heart.”
According to a case summary issued by Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena, who investigated the incident, Idd was under investigation for the illegal sale of firearms. A 27-second video clip of a body-worn camera shows law enforcement in vehicles surrounding Idd’s car in the Holiday Station Store lot in south Minneapolis before shots were fired. Keena announced in August 2021 that she had concluded that the officers “were legally justified when they used deadly force during this incident.”
Paul Johnson is among activists calling for the release of more video footage. He addressed his remarks directly to anyone watching a livestream, challenging them to count the cameras at the Holiday, as well as the number of police and police vehicles, and ask why only one angle was provided.
Gelle’s home was also raided the same night Idd was killed. With a search warrant, armed Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office deputies barged into the house at 2:30 a.m., traumatizing his family. Gelle said officers pointed guns, including at his four-year-old child, and didn’t tell anyone about Idd’s death earlier that evening. Gelle didn’t know what officers were looking for, and no evidence was found in the home.
“It is unacceptable. We are talking about human life. We are not talking cockroach or rats or insects,” said Gelle. “My son and others who the police killed, they are human, and we wish they were here today with us.”
He turned toward the front door of the mansion and called to the governor, “Come out please and share the pain we have. Please come outside and talk to us.”
After a brief march along Summit and Grand avenues, Idd’s cousin Abdibasit Makadin spoke of Dolal’s character and the significant role Idd played in his life.
“A lot of people have said Dolal is my twin. And he was,” said Makadin. “Dolal taught me how to shoot my first basketball. Dolal taught me how to play football. Dolal gave me my competitive nature. Dolal taught me how to be a man. He set a great example for me. I don’t have any older brothers, but I was blessed with Dolal.”
Rep. John Thompson (67A) cautioned activists against being fooled by buzzwords like “equity,” “equality” and “reform.”
“Don’t let [legislators] sell you on this crap. Tell ‘em the truth. Tell ‘em we are overfundin’ public safety while our schools are closin’ right now in this doggone state. Let’s overfund public schools. Let’s overfund mental health providers. Let’s overfund homelessness and fix the problem,” he said. “You can’t tell me we gonna try to reform police officers. You can’t tell me that because post George Floyd you shoulda done it. Post Philando Castile you shoulda done it. Post Justin Teigen you shoulda done it. Post Cordale Handy you shoulda done it. And you haven’t. You’ve only given us lip service.”
In 2021 Thompson introduced HF 784, the Philando Castile Omnibus Act, which would appropriate funding for African American culture and heritage preservation, entrepreneurial and business training, housing stability, community service centers, culturally competent health services, school breakfast and lunch debt forgiveness, guidance counseling, tutorial services, STEM training and technology access, urban agriculture, crime and violence prevention, recidivism reduction, among other initiatives.
Garraway Allen vowed to be at the Capitol again this year urging passage of police accountability legislation. Among bills brought forward last year by FSFAVP and Minnesota Coalition partners is one that would end the statute of limitations for wrongful death civil suits and another that would create an independent investigatory and prosecutory body for officer involved critical incidents.
There’s little confidence in the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s ability to conduct an impartial investigation among police accountability advocates. Garraway Allen supports shutting it down and replacing it. “They’re not doin’ investigations, they’re covering up murders,” she said.
In a followup conversation, Garraway Allen wanted to be clear that while she’s not saying all police are bad, she does want acknowledgement of evidence presented by community members that shows harm done by law enforcement.
“There’s a certain group bein’ protected and a certain group being brutalized in our urban communities. It’s not right. We just need the rules that have been in place to be changed so all people can be treated equally in our communities. We are all human beings, we all have families, it’s only right that we treat each other as such,” she said. “If we ever want to build our communities up and start the healing process, the first step in that is accountability so that everybody can feel safe as human beings.”
The legislative session begins Jan. 31.
More information can be found at www.fsfapv.org.
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