Police in Minneapolis released body camera footage that appeared to show a 23-year-old man was the first to open fire before he was shot and killed by officers during an attempted traffic stop on Wednesday. It’s difficult to make out the video but the footage from the cameras worn by one of the officers seems to confirm at least part of law enforcement’s version of events. But demonstrators who gathered at a vigil Thursday said it wasn’t as conclusive as officers were claiming and insist there are other things law enforcement could have done rather than open fire.
The video shows an officer stepping out of a squad car and screaming at the man law enforcement was trying to stop. The man then tries to drive away but is blocked by other squad cars. “Hands up! Police! Hands up!” one officer yells. Then there appears to be at least one shot fired from inside the car before officers returned fire. The man seems to have shot through the rolled up window, shattering the glass toward the outside of the car. Officers then fired more than a dozen shots into the car. Authorities confirmed the man killed was Dolal Idd, 23. His family had already released his identity to the media earlier in the day.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the release of the video demonstrated how his department is committed to transparency while the investigation is ongoing. But he also made clear that for now the evidence shows that officers were not the first to open fire. “From my view of the video and the preliminary information that also mentioned that a witness saw the individual fire first at the officers, my officers were reacting to that deadly threat,” Arradondo said. “The investigation will uncover more details, but the question is, ‘Should the officers not react in a deadly force situation and knowing that community members’ lives were at stake as well?’ The officers are trained to protect community members’ lives and their own.”
The death of Idd was the first police killing in Minneapolis since George Floyd in May. Dozens of protesters gathered at the site of the killing Thursday, calling for an investigation and insisting the bodycam footage isn’t as conclusive as authorities are claiming. “It blows my mind that that’s even a question for people to be like well that person shot first or this and this. Don’t we have all these different classes and trainings that the people go to in order to avoid a situation where its escalated to the point where there’s a weapon drawn,” a Minneapolis resident said. Jaylani Hussein, the director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the video was “inconclusive” and there are many ways the officers could have handled the situation without opening fire. “There are so many ways to deal with incidents like this. They have no de-escalation efforts at all,” he said.