Update, 5:05 pm CT: Police have released footage from at least one of the bodycams, and it shows police trying to get the suspect to stop his car and come out with his hands up. Instead, as seen below, Dolal Idd tried to drive through the cars, and then fired at police, as can be seen pretty clearly in the video:
Here's the Minneapolis bodycam footage from the police officers who fatally shot a felony suspect who, to no one's surprised, fired first. pic.twitter.com/BCHeF6Mylu
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 31, 2020
The footage released by the city shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday shows a chaotic scene as officers repeatedly scream “Hands up, police!” at Idd with their guns pointed at him while he is in the driver’s seat of a car in a Holiday gas station parking lot. He is pinned in front and behind by squad cars as he attempts to flee, and is is seen peering out of the driver’s side window and pointing what appears to be a gun before the glass shatters. An officer shouts an expletive and at least a dozen shots are fired in return.
If you fire a bullet at police, they will return fire until the threat is neutralized. Will this be enough to convince protesters to stand down? Almost assuredly not, at least for the extremists, but it’s likely to keep the protests limited to only those most radically opposed to policing of any kind. Or at least one would hope so.
Original post follows …
Will this turn into a repeat of the late May-early June riots after the death of George Floyd? Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo wants to avoid that outcome, but angry protests have already begun over a police shooting in the same vicinity in which Floyd died. Police made a felony stop on a suspect yesterday evening, and it rapidly turned into the first police shooting since Floyd’s death.
Police say the suspect fired first, and so do witnesses, but the protesters seem … skeptical:
It was the first police killing in Minneapolis since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of four since-fired police 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.
After Wednesday night’s shooting, a crowd of about 100 protesters congregated near the scene and at times grew tense, shouting expletives and throwing snowballs at police. Later in the evening, protesters remained relatively peaceful as they gathered at a bonfire built in the street.
The shooting occurred as officers tried to stop the man, whom they described as a felony suspect, about 6:15 p.m. at the Holiday gas station at E. 36th Street and Cedar Avenue. Arradondo said witnesses reported that the suspect fired first, and that “police officers then exchanged gunfire with the suspects.” A woman also in the car was not hurt.
Police didn’t release much information about the suspect, or about the officers that were involved in the shooting. Protesters and reporters demanded to know the race of the man killed, but the PIO on scene said he didn’t have that information. Even if that information had been readily available, it might not have mattered. Dozens of people protested at the scene almost immediately after the shooting — a few grainy videos can already be found on YouTube — shouting slogans like “If we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace” and “I smell bacon.” This protest and that which will likely follow it don’t need specifics to flourish; it might flourish more in the lack of specifics.
Arradondo must believe that to be the case too. He’s hoping to head off any momentum for protests by releasing bodycam footage of the shooting, perhaps as soon as later today. The MPD confirmed that the officers had turned on the cameras before the incident began and that those cameras were functional, and Arradondo committed to releasing it quickly:
One has to assume that Arradondo already knows what’s on the video, or at least thinks he knows what it will show, to make that kind of promise. Or maybe it doesn’t matter; after this year, these bodycam videos will get released ASAP in every police shooting and custodial death, because to do otherwise will fuel protests and potential riots all over again. There’s something to be said for that kind of immediate transparency, but bear in mind that bodycam footage is not always clear and unambiguous, either. Cameras strapped to bodies in motion tend to produce video that requires extensive and careful analysis, which generally isn’t what immediate dissemination on social media produces.
And it didn’t take long for the protests to get violent either. Police called repeatedly to get crowd-control tactics authorized:
About an hour after the shooting, a crowd began to gather near the scene, demanding more information and shouting at police.
According to dispatch audio, an officer asked at one point for permission to use a 40 mm launcher because “they are starting to throw ice balls at us.” Launchers are authorized only “to stop imminent physical harm to officers,” dispatch said.
“Can you clarify what is authorized at this point?” one officer asked. They were told handheld aerosol, such as pepper spray, could be used to stop “assaultive conduct.”
Anything more than that, the Star Tribune explains, has to be authorized by Arradondo himself. That policy got put in place after the state’s Department of Human Rights battled with the city this year over police response to the Floyd riots. At least for now, nothing more was necessary, but how long will that be the case?
Along with the bodycam footage, police and the coroner will release the identification of the deceased and apparently also the reason for the felony stop. Depending on all of that information, it’s likely to get tense tonight again in Minneapolis, perhaps even apart from what the bodycam footage shows or witnesses say. Even with all of the murders and carjackings taking place in Minneapolis, hostility to the MPD specifically and policing in general has not abated in this city, from its leadership all the way down to the streets.
Update, 2 pm CT: Still waiting for the bodycam video to be released, but the family of the deceased have identified him as 22-year-old Dolal Idd. His father met the press along with more protesters:
Bayle Gelle, of Eden Prairie, arrived at the gas station Thursday morning with several supporters and identified his 22-year-old son, Dolal Idd, as the man shot following a stop for a felony warrant at the Holiday at E. 36th Street and S. Cedar Avenue in south Minneapolis.
Gelle said authorities have not shared more information with him about what happened and haven’t shown him any videos of the shooting.
“The police they are brutality,” he said. “I want to get justice.”
It’s still not clear what prompted the felony stop. However, Idd had a record, and his family had at one point banned him from the house after shooting up a basement shower:
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 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 Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun that had been reported stolen in North Dakota, according to charges.
That sounds like someone with poor impulse control. The bodycam video will hopefully clarify if that is what led to the police shooting yesterday.