‘No mas’ to leniency

On Friday 12/30/22, Jeremy Ellis, 26, became the 80th Minneapolis murder victim in 2022. Ellis was found shot to death behind the wheel of a car, adjacent to US Bank Stadium at 9 p.m. 

Idris Haji-Mohamed, 28, of Rochester was arrested that evening as he fled a nearby apartment building. Haji-Mohamed admitted to investigators that he had killed Ellis allegedly during a drug deal after Ellis pulled a gun on Haji-Mohamed and attempted to steal his car. 

If these events weren’t twisted enough, the question of why Haji-Mohamed wasn’t already behind bars should make us all question what is going on with our court system. You see, Ellis is the third person Haji-Mohamed has shot at, and the 2nd he has killed since 2017 — that we know of. 

Yet here he was, free to continue his mayhem while our court system flits away with misplaced concerns of “over-incarceration” and “disparate outcomes.”

Minnesotans have rightfully had it with such fecklessness.

Minnesota District Court records lay out the following details about Haji-Mohamed:

  • In May 2017, Haji-Mohamed and others were witnessed chasing and shooting at a male near the Olive Garden restaurant in Rochester, Mn.  The formal complaint indicates an eyewitness identified Haji-Mohamed as one of the shooters.  It is unclear if anyone was hit, but Haji-Mohamed was arrested and charged with Attempted Murder¸2nd Degree Assault, Negligent Discharge of Firearm, and 3rd Degree Riot.  He was given $1 million bail, and at some point was conditionally released from custody.  He failed to appear at a subsequent hearing and was arrested by warrant.  At his next appearance, Haji-Mohamed was allowed to plead guilty to the riot charge, while the attempted murder, assault, and firearm charges were dropped.  On Feb 9th, 2018, Haji-Mohamed was sentenced to serve 365 days in the Olmstead Co. Jail and given credit for having served 272 days.  He also received a fee of $75 to be paid to the Public Defender for legal services which he never paid.
  • In April 2019 Haji-Mohamed and others chased a man into a gas station in Rochester threatening that “he was next.”  The victim claimed that Haji-Mohamed and others were threatening to kill him for being a “snitch.”  Haji-Mohamed was arrested and charged with 3rd Degree Riot.  At some point, he was conditionally released from jail and failed to appear at a scheduled court hearing.  Another failure-to-appear warrant was issued and he was arrested.  On 10/31/19 Haji-Mohamed was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct, while the more serious Riot charge was dismissed.  Haji-Mohamed was sentenced to probation for 1 year, and fees of $465, which he failed to pay.
  • In September 2021, according to the Star Tribune, Haji-Mohamed was in Moorhead and chased a man on foot.  Haji-Mohamed shot at the man until he fell, then fired 5 shots into the man at point-blank range, killing him.  Haji-Mohamed was arrested, and a Grand Jury indicted him with 1st Degree Murder.  The Clay County Attorney argued for a $10 million bail, but the judge set bail at $3 million cash or $1.75 million with conditions.   In June 2022, Haji-Mohamed paid a bail bondsman $175,000 cash to put up the bond and was released from jail with an ankle bracelet monitor. 
  • 6 months later while under court supervision, Haji-Mohamed was in Minneapolis with his ankle bracelet.  He armed himself with a .40 cal pistol and was in the middle of an apparent drug deal gone bad when he killed Ellis, firing at least 5 times before fleeing on foot. Haji-Mohamed sits, for now, in the Hennepin County Jail with a $2 million bail.

Haji-Mohamed’s history is yet another example of a court system that is failing to hold offenders accountable. It’s a given that each of the judges and county attorneys who have dealt with Haji-Mohamed would say they did what they could. The Clay County Attorney appears to have an argument given his request for $10 million bail. Similar arguments don’t appear in the records available.

Our public safety is being served poorly by far too many prosecutors and judges who continue to fail at holding offenders accountable.