ROBBINSDALE, Minn. -- Police in Robbinsdale have asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to conduct an independent review of an incident from last summer in which a man's body was found in a lake two days after he allegedly ran from police during a traffic stop.
Khalil Azad's death was ruled as a freshwater drowning by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner in September, but in recent days, his family has pushed for more information, alleging that he was bitten by dogs and beaten to death by police.
Police say that officers tried to make a DWI traffic stop in the early morning of July 3. However, the driver did not stop, and a short police pursuit ended when the driver lost control and came to a stop on the 3900 block of Lakeland Avenue North.
The driver fled the scene and was never found by police. Two other people in the car never identified him.
Azad's body was found in Crystal Lake two days later, and police say they eventually learned that he was the man who fled the car after the pursuit.
His family, however, says that Azad knew how to swim, and "totally disagrees" with the medical examiner's conclusion, according to a statement released by Black Lives Matter Minnesota on Feb. 25. They say autopsy photos show dog bites on his face, which were not accounted for in the examiner's report.
Autopsy photos of Azad's body are included in the statement. Family members say the incident reminds them of the beatings of Emmett Till, Rodney King and Tyre Nichols.
The statement includes a list of demands. Family members called for an outside investigation into Robbinsdale police and the medical examiner's conduct, as well as the suspension of all K-9 units in the state. They also asked for body camera and surveillance camera footage to be released to the family and to the public.
On March 3, Robbinsdale Police Chief Patrick Foley said he supports an independent review "in an effort of transparency." He added that the department is in the process of gathering body camera footage, which will be released next week.
for more features.