Authorities claimed Khalil Azad died from “accidental drowning” after a traffic stop, but his family believes Robbinsdale police beat him to death.
In a case reminiscent of Emmett Till, grieving loved ones released photos of Azad’s unrecognizable body to demand answers for his suspicious death. What should have been a straightforward traffic stop led to a police chase and search by ground and air. Two days later, his body was pulled from a lake. Star Tribune reports the Robbinsdale Police Department requested the state of Minnesota to review its investigation amid accusations of police brutality.
Robbinsdale Police Officers Were The Last Known People To See Khalil Azad Alive
In the early hours of July 3, 2022, Robbinsdale police attempted to stop Azad for suspected drunk driving. They claim he evaded police for a quarter-mile before his SUV jumped a curb and hit a tree. From there, Azad jumped out of the vehicle and, according to police, basically vanished into thin air.
Law enforcement conducted a search for Azad by both ground and air, but no one saw him alive again. Two days later, a passerby discovered a body on the shore of Crystal Lake a short distance from where Azad’s SUV stopped. The Medical Examiner identified the deceased man found floating facedown as Azad.
The autopsy report determined the cause of death was “accidental drowning.” The suspicious death and the questionable official cause sound too tragically similar to a modern-day lynching to ignore. Azad’s family claims the autopsy doesn’t match photos of what they say are bruises and bites from a savage police beating and attack by police dogs.
“The family of Khalil Ahmad Azad says he was bitten by dogs and brutally beaten to death by the Robbinsdale Police Department. According to the family … the medical examiner’s stories don’t add up. The autopsy says there are no bruises on Khalil’s body, however, photos clearly show otherwise. If it was an accidental drowning, why are there dog bites on his face, body, arms, and bruises on his back?” said a Feb. 25 statement from Black Lives Matter of Minnesota.
The statement included horrific autopsy photos to support the family’s demand for an independent investigation. They also called for a suspension of police K-9 units in Minnesota and a review of “policies and practices” in the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Robbinsdale PD Asks The State To Review Investigation As Azad’s Family Demands Answers
Robbinsdale cops surprisingly echoed the call for an independent investigation. The chief released a statement two days later requesting that the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) reviews the incident. RPD claims bodycam footage from the stop and search will clear them of the police brutality and murder accusations.
“Based on a review of body-worn camera footage, Robbinsdale police officers did not have any contact with the person who fled the scene. Officers did speak with the two passengers who were in the vehicle, and neither passenger identified the driver,” the Robbinsdale PD statement said.
Unfortunately, even if Azad did drown, there could still be foul play involved in his death. The lake where his body was recovered was right near the scene of the late-night police chase. There are still no answers or arrests in the 2021 disappearance and drowning of Jelani Day. One month before Azad’s death, Tempe, Arizona cops made headlines for refusing to rescue a drowning man.
BLM Minnesota demands that the Robbinsdale mayor make all related bodycam footage available to the public. On Thursday, the community remembered Azad with a candlelight vigil at Crystal Lake, where he was found.
Minnesota and now the rest of the country are following this tragic case very closely.