Families of men killed by police settle lawsuit against BCA

Five families who sued the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for information on relatives' killed by police have settled for $165,000, setting new standards for how the agency responds to similar data requests.

The families of Dolal Idd, Zachary Shogren, Okwan Sims, Tekle Sundberg and Brent Alsleben will split the money evenly, and their attorney Paul Bosman says members were given all data requested about their loved ones' death. Settlement terms also require the BCA to provide a one-page document when families request data about deceased relatives. That page must include:

How to get private dataWhat families must do to get dataA written link to the BCA's proceduresContact info for the BCA's family victim and community coordinatorInstructions for family to contact the local law enforcement agency involved in their case if requesting personal property of deceased loved ones

"These people are at the peak of grief for losing a loved one by violent means, with no way to understand what's going on, and the BCA was not giving them that information when the law said they should," Bosman said. "We're hoping that this improves things for families. Both because: They've promised to do better, but also because they have an incentive to do better."

Although the case is settled, Bosman said some families still do not have their loved ones' belongings because they were unaware they must contact the law enforcement agency involved in their relatives' death.

Monday's agreement comes months after those five families gathered at the Ramsey County Courthouse with pictures of slain relatives and demands for accountability. Idd's family said they waited nearly three years for info on the death of their son's, who was killed by Minneapolis police in late 2020 — nearly the maximum time allowed to pass before Minnesota's statute of limitations prevents people from filing wrongful death lawsuits.

In a statement, the BCA said it settled the lawsuit to avoid its financial and emotional toll on everyone involved. More resources are now in place to quicken the agency's response.

"Prior to this lawsuit being filed, the BCA had already sought and secured funding from the Legislature to bolster our data practices team," the statement read. "Requests for data from the BCA have increased dramatically in recent years and this additional funding and staffing will mean faster responses for anyone who requests information in the coming years."