A mob of more than a half-dozen Somali teens terrorized riders of a Minneapolis Metro train with pipes, and possibly hammers, resulting in two now facing criminal charges.
University of Minnesota Police were dispatched to the East Bank light rail platform where a mob of Somali juveniles were reportedly terrorizing riders with hammers and other weapons shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday, according to the UMN Police report.
The Facebook page 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch reported that university police requested assistance from Minneapolis police and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and reported injuries.
An alleged witness, Jay Hall, posted about the experience on the Minneapolis Crime Watch Page.
“ … It was a group of Somali young males with hammers and bars,” he wrote. “They were attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white. I didn’t stick around all that long I’m not dumb and being pretty much unarmed I wasn’t taking on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects.
“I kind of hurried an older white lady away and walked a few blocks to catch a bus. They pretty much ignored me but I was in ratty work clothes and am half Arabic,” Hall continued. “Guess they gave me a pass. I didn’t see to much more I’m sorry and I really wish I had a concealed carry permit because then maybe I could have stopped at least a few of them.”
The incident occurred at the Green Line station at the center of the University of Minnesota campus, across the street from the UMN police department and a location popular with students and visitors, Alpha News reports.
When police arrived, they spotted a group of Somali teens as they tried to run off, but officers eventually caught up with the culprits, including two who had pipes with them. One of the teens gave officers a fake name and information, but one officer the scene recognized the boy from previous run-ins with the law.
Police initially detained seven teens involved in the incident, but only charged the two with weapons, identified as juveniles between the ages of 12 and 15.
Despite giving police false information, the teens were quickly identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions, UMN spokeswoman Lacy Nygard told the Pioneer Press.
“Two people harassed two male students and demanded their wallets. When the students refused, the suspects assaulted them and fled from the platform,” the Press reports. “The students were taken to the hospital for evaluation after they received bruising and cuts on their faces, according to the alert” from the school.
The teens were charged with misdemeanors for fleeing police, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and hauled to the Juvenile Supervision Center, where one of the teens had visited earlier in the day for truancy, according to the UMN Police Report.
The incident comes amid volatile race relations between the city’s growing Somali population and others in the community. On June 7, former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor, a Somali and Muslim, will be the first Minnesota police officer in recent memory to be sent to prison for murder.
The 22-year-old was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting Justine Ruszczyk, an Australian who moved to Minneapolis to be with her fiancé. Noor shot Ruszczyk in a dark alley as she approached a patrol car because he claimed to have fear for his partner’s life, though he couldn’t recall parts of the “traumatic experience” at his trial, CNN reports.
Local Somali leaders have called the case a miscarriage of justice. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Somali Muslim who represents the district, alleges it illustrates a double standard for minorities.
We must have the same level of accountability and justice in all officer-involved killings. My statement on last night’s Mohamed Noor verdict: pic.twitter.com/WU9bH7e4Vq
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) May 1, 2019
“For the first time in Minnesota’s history, a guilty verdict was returned in an officer-involved killing. The verdict is an important step towards justice and a victory for all who oppose police brutality,” Omar wrote in a prepared statement. “It cannot be lost, however, that it comes in the wake of acquittals for officers who took the lives of people of color, both in Minnesota and nationwide.
“We must have the same level of accountability and justice in all officer-involved killings and address violence-based training for police officers,” she wrote.
Omar, one of the two first Muslim women in Congress, has courted her own criticism for anti-Semitic language and comments downplaying the 9-11 terrorist attacks – criticism she alleges is fueled by racists plotting to twist her words.
And like most of the media, she hasn’t bothered to address the attack on passengers of the Minneapolis metro last week.