City Council member warns public not to focus on race after police shooting; Warsame: ‘… this is a policing problem’

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, July 25, 2017

By George Dornbach

MPR News/90.1 FM

Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame said in a press conference Sunday that the actions of the Somali American police officer who shot and killed Justine Rusczyzk do not represent the city’s entire East African community.

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It’s dangerous and divisive to focus on the ethnicity and religion of Officer Mohamed Noor, Warsame said.

“We have a large, American, Minnesotan, Minneapolis community — law abiding, patriotic, that love this country,” he said. “And what we’re seeing is a lot of racism, a lot of hatred.”

Joined by community members in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood, Warsame demanded justice for the death of Rusczyzk.

He also spoke in support of rebuilding the city’s independent civilian police oversight board to give its members more discipline power.

“This is not a Somali problem, this is not a Muslim problem, this is not an immigrant problem; this is a policing problem. And that is what we need to look into,” he said.

Warsame also hopes acting chief Medaria Arradondo will be able to make changes in the department and Warsame will press him for answers during the confirmation process.

Warsame represents the city’s Sixth Ward and was the first Somali elected to a U.S. city council.