Minneapolis, MN – Several hundred community members gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center on January 9 in below freezing weather, to rally and march for justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Dolal Idd, shot and killed by Minneapolis police.
On January 5, prosecutors in Kenosha announced that they would not bring charges against the officer who shot Blake in the back seven times this past August. Black Lives Matter-Minnesota had planned an emergency rally for the day after that announcement. However, as Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in DC, organizers decided to delay that emergency rally and join forces with CAIR Minnesota’s rally for Dolal Idd.
Dolal Idd, a Somali American man who was 23 years old, is the latest homicide victim of the Minneapolis Police Department. Police killed him on December 30, within a mile of the place George Floyd was killed.
Several activists and community members spoke in front of the government center to start the rally. The crowd then marched through downtown and then to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 1st Precinct station, where several of Dolal’s family members and activists spoke, before everyone marched back to the government center.
Attendees chanted and held up signs, some of which had pictures of Idd on them, calling for “Justice for Dolal Idd.”
Dolal’s father, Bayle Gelle, spoke in front of the 1st Precinct building. He said that police lied about his son being a felon and said that he and others still have so many questions surrounding Dolal Idd’s murder. “I will never give up until we get justice,” he said of his son’s death at the hands of police.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Center for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), shared that community members are learning more details about Idd’s case every day, such as law enforcement’s use of confidential informants. Hussein expressed his frustration over how law enforcement has handled Idd’s case and the cases of other individuals killed by police in Minnesota.
“It’s a closed system. It starts with the police officer, but then it goes quickly to the investigators, who continue to lie,” Hussein said. “Why can’t they show all the video that they have collected? Why do they only show us the one angle that they want us to see? So they can project the one narrative they want us to see.”
Hussein asked that anyone who has any information about what happened the night Dolal was killed to please share this information, and to not be intimidated by law enforcement. He said that he and others would have the backs of anyone who does so.
Nekima Levy Armstrong, civil rights activist and Minneapolis attorney, spoke for the Racial Justice Network about law enforcement’s actions leading up to and following Idd’s murder.
“Dolal Idd would still be alive if they actually followed protocol and procedures,” Levy Armstrong said of police. “They’re thinking they’re cowboys. Jumping out of cars, ambushing people, pulling out guns, putting the public in danger, and then continuing to blame victims of police violence for harm they initiate and harm that they cause.”
Levy Armstrong, Hussein, and other community members also spoke about the lack of justice for Jacob Blake, after he was shot in the back in front of his young children and was subsequently paralyzed.
Loretta VanPelt of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J) spoke about the need for community control of the police, to try to prevent incidents such as the shootings of Dolal Idd and Jacob Blake. “We’ve been demanding community control of the police,” VanPelt said. “We know that will hold these cops accountable for what they have done to this community.”
Speakers at the rally also compared the inaction of law enforcement at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the week, when a mob of white domestic terrorists broke into the Capitol, with the actions of police at rallies in support of Black lives, where police pepper-sprayed, beat and arrested peaceful protesters.
Several community members spoke about an unnamed white man who was killed by police in Robbinsdale the day before, just one week after Dolal Idd was killed by police. Toshira Garraway, founder of the organization Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, said that her organization would host a gathering at the Pump N Munch gas station in Robbinsdale, where this man was killed. Garraway said the gathering was planned for January 13, at 4 p.m., and there was more information about this gathering on the Families Supporting Families Facebook page.
Despite the below-freezing temperature during the rally, attendees marched, chanted and listened to speakers for around three hours. Levy Armstrong spoke to the hardiness of Minnesotans seeking justice. “We in Minnesota, we don’t care how cold it gets. The fire for justice keeps us warm, keeps us burning for justice, standing up and speaking the truth,” she said. “We have to send a message that we’re not going nowhere.”
Saturday’s rally and march were endorsed by TCC4J, Native Lives Matter, MN Youth for Justice, CUAPB, Justice 4 Marcus Golden, Black St Paul, Justice for Cordale Handy, Racial Justice Network, Anti-War Committee, and MN Disability Justice Network.
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