Thursday November 30, 2023
An photograph of Abdi Edan Adam taken just after he was allegedly shot with a rubber bullet by a Minneapolis Police Officer is included in the lawsuit. ABDI EDAN ADAM / ANDREW M. IRLBECK / PAUL APPLEBAUM
Minneapolis (HOL) – Abdi Edan Adam, a 56-year-old Somali-American and Minneapolis resident, has filed a lawsuit against the city and its police department, seeking $1.5 million in damages for injuries sustained during the 2020 protests following George Floyd’s death.
The lawsuit states that Adam was near the Third Precinct at dusk in a calm scene with no curfew or dispersal order. An officer, identified as John Doe 1, fired a rubber bullet or 40 mm impact projectile from the precinct’s roof, hitting Adam in the forehead.
Adam, struck while waiting for a bus near Minnehaha Avenue and Lake Street, sustained a permanent scar, vision issues in his right eye, and neurological injuries. He suffered a concussion, emotional trauma and incurred medical expenses. Protesters, not officials, took him to the hospital.
A math tutor and Somali refugee, Adam stated in his lawsuit that his injuries were “akin to the government-sponsored brutality he had sought refuge from in this country.” He still faces physical and emotional effects, including a noticeable dent on his head.
Initially filed in Hennepin County District Court, the lawsuit, now in federal court, accuses the Minneapolis Police Department and eight unnamed officers of excessive and unlawful use of force, violating Adam’s civil rights. Adam’s attorney, Paul Applebaum, emphasized the absence of dispersal orders or curfew at the time, condemning the police’s actions as “a grotesque use of unwarranted deadly force.” He noted Adam was not committing a crime and was “utterly compliant.”
The lawsuit alleges MPD policy breaches, forbidding 40mm projectiles for crowd control and requiring supervisor response when used. It claims no use-of-force report was filed, which would have identified the officer and witnesses. The absence of the report and missing body-camera footage indicate a failure in officer accountability, perpetuating the ‘Blue Wall of Silence.’
Earlier findings by the U.S. Department of Justice showed the MPD routinely uses excessive force and fails to render aid, contributing to unlawful force patterns, particularly during the civil unrest of 2020.
While the City of Minneapolis, known for settling police misconduct claims post-Floyd’s murder, has not issued a statement regarding this ongoing case. Several other cases during the same unrest have led to significant settlements, including $1.5 million to Jaleel Stallings and $2.4 million to Soren Stevenson, highlighting a concerning pattern of police behaviour towards civilians, especially those from minority communities.
Floyd’s death, resulting in former officer Derek Chauvin’s conviction and a 22-year sentence, ignited global protests.