A Metro Transit surveillance video capturing the collision that killed five young women was posted online before families of the victims could see it.
Some of that anger is directed at the driver of a vehicle who was reportedly impaired and doing 100 miles per hour late Friday evening before striking a car carrying the victims. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified them as 19-year-old Siham Adan Odhowa, Sahra Liban Gesaade, 20, Sabiriin Mohamoud Ali, 17, Sagal Burhaan Hersi, 19, and Salma Mohamed Abdikadir, 20.
The posting of the video has triggered questions about who leaked the jarring clip, and accusations that at this point appear unfounded. On Sunday night, Minneapolis City Councilman Jamal Osman sent out a news release decrying the tragic loss of life and blaming law enforcement for releasing the footage.
“… My office has learned that elements of law enforcement have released traffic camera footage of the moment these young sisters were murdered,” Osman wrote. “This, despite senior law enforcement members giving me direct assurances that this video would not be released until after families had a chance to view it.”
“I am outraged and I am angry,” Osman continued. “And the families – they are stunned, especially given the assurances from law enforcement personnel.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara is refuting the allegations that his department authorized the release of the video, saying in a statement on Sunday, June 18 that an investigation will be launched immediately to identify the source of the leak.
“We do not know who shared the Metro Transit surveillance video to be posted online, but we will conduct an internal review along with Metro Transit PD to try to determine the source,” O’Hara said. “I will also review and consider policy changes to limit how video of evidentiary value may be received from an outside agency by members of the MPD.”
In regards to the council member’s assertion that Minneapolis police leaders made promises regarding family members viewing the video, Chief O’Hara insists he is not aware of who the “senior law enforcement members” are that reportedly gave Osman assurances regarding viewing of the Metro Transit surveillance video.
Council member Osman says after the women are laid to rest Monday, he will be seeking answers as well, vowing that the mayor, the MPD police chief, Metro Transit police and others in public safety will be expected to explain how the release of the video could happen.
“We as a city can and must do better,” Osman concluded.