The family of Khalil Amir Azad, Jamal Johnson(center), Ayisha Johnson(right) and Fatimeh Todd(Left) at a student protest Monday, Mar. 6 (Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK Press)
Protesters say they are planning to gather outside of the Robbinsdale Police Department at 3:30pm today after watching the video footage released by the police for the night they attempted to pull over Khalil Ahmad Azad.
Members of Khalil's family released a statement saying they believe the original footage was edited before being released. They pointed out that the released footage begins after the police are already in pursuit of Azad’s vehicle.
“We… noticed parts of the audio cut out for significant amounts of time. In addition, we noticed skips, pauses, and freezes of the body camera footage, with multiple moments of blurriness... We are concerned because there were absolutely no time stamps on the footage we watched."
The footage shows angles from three officer’s body cameras, as well as from their vehicles. The footage begins during a high speed chase between the police and the vehicle Azad and two others were in, before the vehicle crashes. Azad was not in the vehicle when the cops approached it; the other two passengers remained on the scene and were later questioned by the officers. One of the officers called for K9 support, and after the Plymouth Police K9 unit arrived, pursued Azad on foot around the vicinity of the traffic stop. The search takes place near Crystal Lake, where Azad’s body was found days later. The footage concludes without any sighting of Azad.
“We want full transparency about the agencies who were called to secure the perimeter,” the family’s statement continues. “We have yet to see body camera footage from New Hope, and Crystal officers who also secured the perimeter of Crystal Lake. In light of the footage we received from Robbinsdale Police Department, we are also demanding footage from additional agencies involved: New Hope, Crystal, Plymouth, and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department & State Trooper Patrol (helicopter). Including the dispatch audio from all agencies involved.”
The statement from the family notes that Azad’s mother requested the camera footage in September of last year. Yesterday’s release of the footage comes just a day after a large student walkout and march in downtown Minneapolis demanding access.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has said it will conduct an
Investigation into the circumstances surrounding Azad’s death.