People at a rally in Minneapolis hold signs demanding justice for Dolal Idd, the 23-year-old Somali American who was killed on December 30, 2020, by police in an exchange of gunfire when officers surrounded his car at a South Minneapolis gas station. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

About 1,000 people, many of them young people, gathered in Minneapolis on Sunday to call for justice for Dolal Idd, the 23-year-old Somali American who was killed by police in an exchange of gunfire when officers surrounded his car at a South Minneapolis gas station last week.   

“I am tired of seeing so many young men be killed, so many young women to be killed. For what?” Ayan Mohamed, a young Somali activist with the group Breaking the Barrier, told the crowd, which gathered at the Holiday station where the shooting took place. “This is not a trend. We will not wake up tomorrow and forget about this…. These are our brothers and sisters, our cousins, our family members. We have rights. We built these communities. We will not stand in the face of injustice.”

Officers with the Minneapolis Police Department’s Community Response Team surrounded Dolal’s white car at the gas station on E. 36th Street and Cedar Avenue S. in south Minneapolis on Wednesday evening. The police said the stop was part of a weapons investigation.

A 27-second clip of body cam footage released the next day shows the officer wearing the body cam (who has yet to be named) yelling “police” and  “hands up,” as he approaches Dolal’s car with his gun raised. 

The officer curses as what may be a gunshot goes off — police have said Dolal fired first. The officer then opens fire and others join in. 

That night, The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) took over the investigation, and requested a search warrant of Dolal’s last known address, which was his parent’s home in Eden Prairie. 

At 2 a.m. Thursday, deputies with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office executed the warrant with a now controversial “knock and announce,” raid. On Friday, Sahan Journal published a story in which Dolal’s father, Bayle Adod Gelle, alleged that Hennepin County deputies had unnecessarily zip-tied the adults, pointed guns at him, his wife and their children, and only told them of their son’s death after it was over. 

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office released body cam video the next day, and Sheriff Dave Hutchinson praised the deputies for their “professionalism,” saying they “acted appropriately, respectfully, and followed HCSO procedure for high-risk warrants.” Others, including State Rep. Hodan Hassan, took a different view, pointing out that deputies did not wear masks for COVID-19 safety and calling the raid’s tactics culturally insensitive and inhumane.

On Sunday, a diverse crowd braved the cold and bundled up for a march down Cedar Avenue to Lake Street, before turning on Bloomington and eventually heading back to the gas station, chanting Dolal’s name as they went. Others held photos of Dolal.

A woman who gave her name as Sarah held a sign saying “Shame on the HCSO,” a reference to the late night raid. “It doesn’t matter how professionally they acted, it was the wrong thing to do,” she said. 

State Senator-elect Omar Fateh was one of the few elected officials to speak. In an interview with Sahan Journal, he noted that he and Dolal had a lot in common. He said he hoped people would continue to remain engaged with the issue and help him push for change  

“Dolal was a young Somali man, a Black man and a Muslim man, and I thought that was important for me to show up not just as a senator of the district, but because he looked just like me,” Omar said. “And we need to continue to fight this fight that’s been going on for decades in terms of police accountability and the justice system.” 

Dolal’s family members also were present. His uncle, Jamal Hassan, said the family felt  “supported,” and relieved to see the crowd. He called for people to continue to attend rallies as they push for justice. 

“We want to make sure that everybody stands with us in whatever form we need so we can get to the bottom of what happened to Dolal. We don’t want what happened to him to happen to anybody else,” he told Sahan Journal. 

As the march passed, residents and business owners came outside to watch, including Hassan Madad, 35, who stood outside his phone shop. A resident of Minneapolis for 16 years, he said he used to trust the police, but he now felt they were too quick to resort to lethal force. 

“We need a safe community, but everyone deserves justice too,” he said.

Mohamed Ibrahim, the deputy director of CAIR Minnesota, was among those to address the crowd when it gathered a second time at the gas station following the march. 

“I don’t want us to leave here and fall asleep. The movement will not be televised, but it will be live streamed like it was this summer and we’ll continue to fight day in and day out,” he said. “But understand that this movement is made by the young people. So if you are young and you are able, this should not be your first one or your last protest. I need you to be here. We need all of you.” 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article has misidentified the name of the Minneapolis Police Department unit that surrounded Dolal Idd. They were part of Minneapolis Police Department’s Community Response Team. We have also corrected the spelling of Mohamed Ibrahim’s last name.

Jared Goyette is a freelance reporter based in the Twin Cities. He is a plaintiff in an ACLU class action lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis, the state of Minnesota and the MPD.