By Jonah Ruddock
With the death of George Floyd off the news, the Minneapolis Police have returned to their nightmarish behavior. On December 30th, after fatally shooting 23-year-old Dolal Bayle Idd outside of a Holiday gas station, officers ransacked his family home. Bayle Odad Gelle, father of Dolal and ten other children, described the search to Sahan Journal. He reported that cops tightly handcuffed him and his wife, pointing guns at them and three of their young children, whom had joined them downstairs. Gelle, a diabetic, experienced dizziness as the cords handcuffing him interrupted blood flow to his fingers. “I thought they were going to kill us,” he remembered. They searched the house for around two hours, answering none of the frightened family’s questions. It was only after they completed their search that they informed Gelle that his son had been shot to death.
After reviewing body-cam footage, Sheriff David Hutchinson stated that the officers “acted professionally and politely.” He added, “Law enforcement never knows for sure what it’s walking into in these high-risk situations.” It was not identified what about invading the home of a sleeping family who runs a home health-care agency for a living was high-risk.
Later that day, Gelle and other family members were taken to City Hall and shown footage of Idd’s murder from the involved officer’s body-cams. Gelle is still looking for answers about why exactly they chose to shoot him, remarking, “They could have done many things.” The police were little help, so he questioned the gas station attendant who had been there at the time of the incident, which did not yield much either.
Gelle’s confusion is understandable. The officers stopped at the gas station as part of a weapons investigation, and when they spotted Idd in his car, they identified themselves as policemen and told him to put his hands up. After a gunshot was heard, they immediately started firing on him. The 23-year-old’s autopsy revealed that he died of multiple bullet bounds.
“I’m frustrated that the police don’t seem to have any strategy to preserve life during a tense situation,” City Council member Jeremiah Ellison told Sahan Journal. “I’m concerned that any Black person with a gun seems especially vulnerable to being killed by police. And I’m troubled by the knee-jerk escalations our police have to any and all demonstrations against them.”
Idd’s history with the law included traffic offenses, possession of a pistol without permit, and firing a gun in his parent’s basement. He was just finishing a three-year probation at the time of his death. Those who knew him said he was trying to improve his life and was taking classes at a local community college. “For them to take him is just evil,” said Abdirahman Warsame, co-founder of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization for youth who have lost people to drugs, and a friend of Dolal’s. “Who are you to take somebody else’s life, [when] they are trying to do better for themselves, to do better for their family?”
The family has since left their home to live at a nearby mosque. Gelle expresses concern about how the traumatizing ordeal will affect his children, especially his four-year-old, who tried to run away from the officers but was shouted at to remain in place. “There was screaming, it was loud, and there was a bunch of guys – at least 20 or something like that – they were pushing us down and screaming and saying ‘don’t move.’ And I have a small kid,” he told CBS.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) has called for an investigation. So far, the officers involved in Idd’s shooting- Paul Huynh, Jason Schmitt, and Darcy Klund- have gone unpunished. The Minneapolis Police Department would not release their names until Communities United Against Police Brutality took them to court. All three had multiple complaints against them, ranging from eight to twenty seven, prior to the incident.
Dolal was laid to rest on January 1st. For many in the Somali-American community and the wider Minneapolis area, his death was a tragic display of the police brutality that plagues the country.