Police seek state review of Minnesota man’s death

ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (AP) — A suburban Minneapolis police department is asking state officials to review the case of a man whose death was ruled an accidental drowning after activists suggested he was beaten to death by officers.

The Robbinsdale Police Department said Friday it wants the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation to review the death of Khalil A. Azad, 26, whose body was found along the shoreline of Crystal Lake last year, two days after he reportedly fled from Robbinsdale police, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled that Azad died from accidental drowning after his body was found at the lake on July 5.

Robbinsdale, a suburb about 9 miles northwest of Minneapolis, police say that two days before his body was found, Azad fled in a vehicle and on foot after officers tried to stop him on suspicion of drunken driving. Police didn’t find him, according to a summary of the incident released by Police Chief Patrick Foley.

On Feb. 25, Black Lives Matter of Minnesota released a statement saying Azad’s family believes he was bitten by police dogs and beaten by officers. The group has circulated what it describes as autopsy photos showing Azad with bruises and dog bites on his face, body and arms.

The Medical Examiner’s Office has not officially released any photos in the case.

Foley said in a news release posted online Friday that the department has received questions from the community about Azad’s death.

“Although a thorough investigation was completed last year, in an effort of transparency, we support an independent agency to review all relevant evidence, reports and information regarding this incident,” Foley said.

Bonney Bowman, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said Saturday the agency is evaluating the request.

Black Lives Matter said the Azad family wants an outside death investigation and a review of the “policies and practices” of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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