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July 23, 2014

Judge recommends dismissal of father’s lawsuit in police shooting

A lawsuit brought by man a man whose son was shot to death by Minneapolis police was recommended for dismissal. Magistrate Judge Jeanne Graham recommended that a higher federal court judge should dismiss the father’s suit because he failed repeatedly to attend hearings or comply with court orders.

The Star Tribune reports that Mohamed Abdi of St. Paul brought suit after the Feb. 5, 2009 shooting death of his son Ahmed Guled, 23. Guled had been driving a stolen vehicle when two officers in cruisers began chasing him through the city’s North Side. Guled had been driving  erratically. As he was pursued, Guled drove into an unrelated police scene and was shot after speeding toward four officers standing in the street.

The department placed six officers on three days of paid administrative leave following the Guled’s death. Officer Shawn Powell was among the six. Powell is now under internal investigation and on administrative leave, accused of using racial slurs and making derogatory statements about police Chief Janeé Harteau’s sexual orientation during an off-duty incident in Green Bay.

Abdi is a Somali immigrant who speaks little English. Through a translator, he explained to the newspaper that he missed an important proceeding because he fell ill in Kenya. Abdi said he phoned the court about his predicament. Graham noted that on June 26, 2012 — two days before the proceeding — Abdi had called her chambers, advising that he would be Africa until mid-August. The judge rescheduled the proceeding until Aug. 24, 2012, stressing that it would not be rescheduled again. When he again did not appear for the rescheduled proceeding, Graham said that if the plaintiff “failed to provide initial disclosures in a timely fashion, the matter would be dismissed for failure to prosecute.”

A U.S. District Court judge is to make a final determination later. Graham recommended a type of dismissal that would allow the father to file another lawsuit, particularly after finding an attorney. He has been representing himself thus far.

Saturday, as he met with the distraught father, Omar Jamal of the Somali Mission to the United Nations said that funds would be raised to help the parents get an attorney.