From the New York Times:
Somalis in Minneapolis Shocked and Saddened by Police ShootingCops killing ladies who “startled” them (and practically shooting their partners in the face to do it), well, we’ll have a conversation about that at the appropriate time. But Islamophobia is intolerable!
By JOHN ELIGON and MITCH SMITH JULY 19, 2017
MINNEAPOLIS — His hiring by the Minneapolis Police Department was hailed by the mayor as “a wonderful sign.” Hundreds of Somalis attended an event at a local mall welcoming him to the force, lining up to take pictures and shake his hand.
But just 14 months after Mohamed Noor became the first Somali police officer to be stationed in his precinct, which has a large immigrant population, he is now under scrutiny for fatally shooting an Australian woman after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home. …
Officer Noor’s hiring was seen as a bridge to a refugee community that has at times felt victimized by the police. Now, one of their own is the one in uniform accused of brutality. On Wednesday, the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, posted a Facebook message addressed to Somali residents, seeking to assure them that they “are a valued and appreciated part of Minneapolis.”
Mahamed Yusuf was at Karmel Mall for Officer Noor’s welcome, and said that local Somalis had been heartened to have one of their own on the police force.
“We have a guy between the police and the community,” Mr. Yusuf said. …
As the Somali immigrant population in Minneapolis has grown, members of the community have sometimes expressed frustration with law enforcement. In 2002, after Minneapolis officers fatally shot a Somali man carrying a machete, critics accused the officers of using excessive force, claiming the man was mentally ill and did not understand English.
More recently, some Somalis here have criticized the tactics used in federal prosecutions of young men accused of trying to join overseas terrorist organizations. The strain of police shootings of black people — with a few prominent cases in the Twin Cities area — has also left some Somalis wary of law enforcement.
The Minneapolis police have worked in recent years to add Somali officers to the force and have reached out to the immigrant community. After last year’s presidential election, amid heightened concern about deportations, a Somali-speaking officer recorded a YouTube video assuring residents that the local police did not enforce immigration law.
Ms. Hodges also said that Officer Noor “won’t be treated differently than any other officer” and that the shooting had happened “under circumstances we don’t yet comprehend.”
“We cannot compound that tragedy by turning to racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia,” Ms. Hodges [the mayor] said. “It is unjust and ridiculous to assert that an entire community be held responsible for the actions of one person. That will not be tolerated in Minneapolis.”
Minneapolis police records show that Officer Noor has been the subject of three citizen complaints during his short career. …
Court records show that Mr. Noor has a son born in 2010, and that he was involved in 2015 in a custody dispute with the mother, who wanted to move out of state.
A day before the shooting, a lawsuit accusing Officer Noor and two of his colleagues of misconduct was filed in federal court. The lawsuit, filed by a woman who said the police had illegally taken her into custody for a mental health checkup in May, said Officer Noor had taken her phone from her hand “and then grabbed her right wrist and upper arm, thereby immobilizing her.”
Jordan S. Kushner, a lawyer for the woman, said Officer Noor “was a participant in what we consider a real egregious and dramatic violation of her rights.” He noted that his client had initially called the police for help that day, just as the woman Officer Noor shot on Saturday did. …
Large numbers of Somali refugees, fleeing violence and famine in their homeland, began arriving in Minneapolis in the 1990s, and around 30,000 are said to now live in the Twin Cities area.Passive voice: These Somalis happened to show up in the coldest big city in America because they happened to show up there. Why are you asking?
Members of the community have been elected to public office, worked as journalists and joined the military. But over the years, many Somalis have expressed frustration with their portrayals in the news media, saying reporters have unfairly emphasized stories about terrorist recruitment and cultural differences.Well, Mr. Bihi, you did just say you “worked so hard to get Somali police officers.”
Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali community leader in Minneapolis, said that the relationship between the local police and Somalis had improved significantly in recent years and that the community celebrates when one of its members becomes an officer. He knows several Somali youths considering careers in law enforcement.
“We worked so hard to get Somali police officers,” Mr. Bihi said.
Mr. Bihi said Somalis empathized with Ms. Damond as a fellow immigrant, but resented the news media attention on Officer Noor’s heritage.
“Why in the world would he be seen as a Somali and not a Minneapolis police officer?” Mr. Bihi said. “The community feels betrayed.”
The shooting also made headlines in Somalia, where many worried it could paint a negative image of Somalis and harm the status of refugee applications, many of which have been rejected under President Trump’s travel ban.
“Many Somalis are talking about the case as though the case occurred here in Somalia,” said Abdirahman Hassan Omar, a lawyer based in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. “Because of the travel ban, this is making us worried a lot.”Fortunately, everybody in Somalia will no doubt be able to attain (for a small fee) unimpeachable official central government documents proving they are a cousin, grandparent, and/or grandchild of Somalis in Minneapolis, thus lifting the travel ban according to the Supreme Court. If you can’t trust the Government of Somalia, who can you trust?