Column: Murdered by MPD: Dolal Idd

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Photo Credit: the Daily Dot)

By Marjaan Sirdar, Freelance Columnist

The UpTake is not responsible for the content in this column.

Claim: In Black and brown communities, Minneapolis police continue to act without regard for human life or the Constitution as evident in the recent killing of 23-year-old Somali-American, Dolal Idd. 

Police continue to terrorize

On Wednesday December 30, the Minneapolis police (MPD) shot and killed 23-year-old, Dolal Idd. It took place at the Holiday gas station at 3550 Cedar Avenue south, one mile from where George Floyd was murdered by MPD. Minnesota’s largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, confirmed the identity of the officers who killed the Somali-American youth

“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.” 

Initially Idd’s father, Bayle Adod Gelle, said in an interview shared on Twitter, he thought police were called by a cab driver. The grieving dad said, “These police are terrorists and they’re always killing Black people like animals.” At a 4:30 pm (CST) press conference on New Year’s Eve, the city attorney, Mayor Frey and the police all spoke. Chief Medaria Arradondo claimed with certainty that “the officers were involved in a probable cause weapons investigation traffic stop.” However, when he was asked if there was a warrant the chief was “unsure”. “The individual inside the vehicle fired his weapon at the officers first,” said the chief in a righteous tone. He would not say if it was justified or not when asked by a reporter, but he was supportive of his officers involved, whom he said “recovered a weapon”. Arradando would certainly know if there was a warrant or not involved which suggests he either lied or was unprepared for basic questions at his press conference. His pattern suggests he was lying. The Sahan Journal confirmed police were conducting an undercover gun purchase that went wrong. It is very conceivable that if it was a gun sale, the sellers believed they were being robbed. But activists rebut this saying the police have yet to present adequate evidence that Idd fired a weapon, or if the shot was fired from police on the passenger’s side.

Raid of victim’s home

After police killed Dolal Idd, the victim’s father told a crowd that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension raided his home in the early morning of December 31, without even telling him that his son was killed until it ended. The video shows Hennepin County Sheriffs announcing a search warrant with automatic weapons drawn upon entering the home, while failing to give any information about the late night invasion, treating the entire family as if they committed a felony. According to the Star Tribune, they did not find any weapons or “bookkeeping materials, videos and photos related to Idd’s alleged gun possession,” like the warrant suggested. So far, the record does not confirm Idd of being a “weapons dealer” or having fired a weapon before getting fired upon. It appears law enforcement are collaborating to manufacture a weapons conspiracy case against a kid they ambushed and killed, after receiving bad intelligence. 

Cover up

While searching Idd’s name on the internet, the second thing that appears is “Dolal Idd – criminal record”. This is by design. At the press conference on the 31st, with shocking disrespect to Black communities who have been fighting police brutality, in an appeal to the pro-police base watching at home, Mayor Frey apologized, not to the victims of police violence, but to the victims of “gun violence” at large. Following the chief, Frey also implicated that the police hypothetically saved lives by killing Dolal Idd and recovering a weapon. A clever way to keep the public afraid. 

Arradondo has spoken frequently in community public safety forums about MPD’s efforts to get guns off the streets, and their knowledge of gun dealers police have been targeting. On an August 5th public safety town hall hosted by Councilmember Jenkins, the chief told the online audience of 200 that they were targeting gun dealers at George Floyd Square (GFS), the activist declared “autonomous zone” where MPD killed Floyd. Many community members believed Arradondo was deceitfully creating a pretext of painting the square dangerous so police can violently force the streets back open. The question that needs answering in the use of MPD’s dangerous undercover operation on Dec. 30 is: Why didn’t they utilize their partnership with the county and perform the “gun recovery” in Eden Prairie, where the victim lived?

(Memorial for Dolal Idd at 3550 Cedar Avenue South; photo by Amina Mohamed)

In the Star Tribune’s Jan. 4th article about the killing, reporters are pushing the police narrative as gospel, but from the video it is not clear at all what happened. What is clear is that the police SUV that rammed the car Idd was allegedly driving was unmarked. The newspaper is quickly justifying the deadly shooting quoting Fred Bruno, a lawyer on the police payroll, saying “”This is one of the clearest-cut cases of authorized use of force that I’ve seen…The fact that three officers shot simultaneously tells you something…”” Completely ignoring the ambush factor. The Star Tribune has a history of one-sided coverage and bias consistently favoring increased policing (simple search in their archives can confirm this).

High school English teacher and Powderhorn resident, Cynthia Gomez, who lives blocks from where the Idd killing took place, told me on a walk near GFS, “I’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been waiting for this. They can’t go very many months without murdering a Black person,” she said about the police. Her students resumed online classes the Monday we spoke after holiday vacation only to return to discussions of another police killing; whom many of the students themselves have tumultuous relationships with, she told me. Gomez, who is white, attended the #JusticeForDolal rally hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and other groups, on Sunday at the gas station where Idd was killed. She spoke in awe of the Somali community’s organization and resilience. She said, “They’re not gonna lie down on this.” With all of the media coverage from the police killings and the steady helicopter surveillance since Floyd’s death, neighbors have expressed to me concerns that this community will be a target for continued violence. Both George Floyd and Dolal Idd were killed within the boundaries of the Powderhorn neighborhood. 

Everyday racism

Tragedies like this are no holiday for racists in Minnesota, who are forever present in the comment section of the Star Tribune and any of the mainstream online media in this city. Racist social media commenters have implied that Idd’s family must have been engaged in illegal activities to afford living out in Eden Prairie. There has in fact been a growing Somali community in Eden Prairie for at least two decades. Over fifteen years ago my mother’s friend, who is Somali, lived out there. I’ll never forget an incident in 2004, at the Eden Prairie Redstone night club, out with my mother and her friend, where I was harassed and accused of being a “terrorist” by a white patron. I am African-American, but any Black or brown person can affirm this intense racial discrimination in suburbs like Eden prairie.

I think it’s clear why the police did not choose to hold this “gun recovery” operation in the suburbs. They know exactly how deadly these undercover stings can end. They also know that there are ten times the guns being housed, transported, and sold in the suburbs. Had the sheriffs raided any of the homes of the victim’s white neighbors, they certainly would have found weapons. The case of Jason Mesich of Bloomington, where the cops took him alive after he murdered his wife Angela, went and shot a woman and a young girl who lived next door, then fired 40 rounds at police, proved that de-escalation tactics work. This contradicts Chief Arradondo’s claim that his officers faced a deadly threat when Idd allegedly fired one shot at the unmarked vehicle and they returned fire over a dozen times killing him. The double standard is glaringly obvious. New Jersey officials report that, although 2020 was the roughest year for law enforcement, officers in Newark did not fire one shot during the whole year. 

On a Jan. 5th phone call with Somali-American activist Amina Mohamed, she said she was feeling “Too emotional. No one deserves to go through what the family has been through,” speaking of Idd’s surviving family. Amina also attended the Sunday rally at the scene where Idd was killed: “It was powerful. Community really showed up. Even the Nation of Islam was there,” she said. The last time Amina attended a protest was after Floyd’s killing. This time there was no police present at the demonstration. Everything was peaceful. Amina has a Somali friend who lives in Eden Prairie, the same suburb where Idd’s family lives. Mohamed used to live in Montana, where she said she was harassed frequently by police. There was no Somali community for support, so she stuck out. Despite her concerns for the family and community, overall, her tone was upbeat. “I want all Somali people to come together and unite behind defunding the police.” Mohamed ended the conversation by saying: “It’s time we wake up. This is not the first time, and it’s not gonna be the last,” referring to police killing Somali people. 


(Photo from Sunday’s rally, by Amina Mohamed)

Take action 

The Minneapolis Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins has consistently championed increased police enforcement. I reached out to her in an email requesting answers regarding the activities of MPD at the time of the killing. 

  • Submit statements to your councilmembers demanding answers and an end to the dangerous practices which led to the killing of Idd. 
  • Demand accountability for Chief Arradondo who has repeatedly lied to the press and the public. 
  • Contact Mayor Frey, who has not had any accountability since the last police killing and the subsequent burning of our city, and let him know the buck stops with him. 
  • Write letters to the editor of the Star Tribune who has a history of partnering with the police, politicians, and the downtown business community, while ignoring the voices of Black youth, who are the victims of police violence. Demand truth telling instead of racism in their reporting.
  • The Minnesota Dept. of Human Rights is currently conducting an investigation into the Minneapolis police. You can call 651-539-110 to share your experience of police misconduct or something you have witnessed, or visit their website here, and be sure to specify that your complaint is about the MPD.  

Conclusion

It is plausible that the 23-year-old living in Eden Prairie was struggling and engaging in self-destructive behavior. But there is nothing that suggests this kid was the kind of “weapons dealer” that he is being made out to be. The evidence that has been made public certainly does not justify the fatal execution of Idd, the 2 a.m. invasion of his family’s home, nor the racist attacks against the family and the Somali community at large. At this rate of the MPD killing Black people and the response from the community, it will be just a few years before the entire city is one big autonomous zone. In a city still healing from the last police killing, where grieving demonstrators seeking justice are constantly given marching orders from the city to disassemble, no one should be surprised that this is how the Minnapolis police closed out 2020. Or that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey supported this extrajudicial killing. All of this is more evidence that our officials are clueless on running anything but a government that disregards the human rights of Black people while maintaining the status quo of white male supremacy. The family of Dolal Idd and the community deserve justice.

About the author: Marjaan is a freelance writer in South Minneapolis’ Bryant neighborhood, where George Floyd was killed. He is the host of People Power Podcast.




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