Prosecutors: No evidence of impropriety in Khalil Azad’s death

Prosecutors say there is no evidence of wrongdoing by law enforcement in the death of a man who community activists claimed was injured by police officers.

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announced Monday that her office won’t file any charges in connection to Khalil Azad’s death, saying evidence indicates that he died in an accidental drowning.

The 24-year-old’s body was found in Crystal Lake in Robbinsdale two days after police officers tried to stop his vehicle for suspected intoxicated driving. However, police say Azad fled and wasn’t found when law enforcement searched the area.

After Black Lives Matter Minnesota shared graphic images of what it claimed was Azad’s body and alleged police misconduct, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agreed to investigate Azad’s death. Robbinsdale Police also released bodycam and dashcam footage from officers who tried to stop Azad, but nothing ever showed they made contact with him.

“My thoughts are with Khalil Azad’s family and loved ones in this difficult time,” Moriarty said in announcing her decision. “Losing someone so young is devastating. Although this is not the result they hoped for, our victim support team remains available to help them through this extremely difficult time.”

“The BCA uncovered no evidence that any member of law enforcement had any physical contact with Khalil after the initial traffic stop,” she added. “The investigation also did not reveal evidence that any member of law enforcement did anything other than seek in earnest to locate Khalil, utilizing multiple officers from multiple agencies, multiple K9s, a State Patrol helicopter, and thermal imaging, and trying to acquire information from the two others who had been in the same vehicle.”

“Our continued sympathies and condolences go out to the Azad family. As seen on the body worn cameras, everyone involved in this incident was treated respectfully and compassionately by our officers in the Robbinsdale Police Department.  This is the expectation of our staff,” Police Chief Foley added.

An autopsy by the Hennepin County medical examiner found no apparent injuries to Azad, ruling his death as caused by freshwater drowning.