City council member says Justine Damond shooting not about race, culture
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Nearly a week after the shooting of an Australian woman by Minneapolis police, city council member Abdi Warsame is pointing a finger at the media -- specifically The Daily Mail -- and also former congresswoman Michele Bachmann for making the shooting an issue of hate or cultural differences instead of what it is -- a police issue.
Offering condolences to Damond’s family, Warsame said Sunday her death is not the fault of the Somali community.
Officer Mohamed Noor is the officer who shot and killed Damond on July 15, he was the first Somali officer in the fifth precinct, but Warsame says the officer's race and culture is irrelevant and he wants the hate and blame toward the Somali community to stop.
“I’ve seen the change in the community -- social media is driving it, the far right media is driving it the Islamaphobes are driving it,” Warsame said.
Warsame specifically called out former congresswoman Michele Bachmann for comments she made.
"We had a man, Mohamed Noor, who was an affirmative action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges, " Bachmann said at a recent event, adding, "We need to step up deportation in the country of people who are unwilling to bear allegiance to the United States."
Warsame’s frustrated that Bachmann is making the shooting about race.
“But when you have somebody like congresswoman Michele Bachman that go on I don't know TV or radio and say that this was done because he was a Muslim I mean I think that's unacceptable," Warsame said. "We are part and partial of this city and state. And I would like to tell Michele Bachman personally that I'm not going anywhere, my family is not going anywhere and my community is not going anywhere."
Warsame does believe change is necessary within the police department --- and he hopes it starts with newly appointed police chief Medaria Aarrondondo.
“I haven't spoken to Rondo yet, but I will have frank discussions with him and I will put in front of him the changes that I expect," Warsame said.
Some of those suggestions include a new independent civilian oversight board, even going as far as saying both state law and city policy need to change so that board has subpeona power for investigations and can discipline police misconduct.
Warsame said he has not spoken to officer Noor and will not pass judgment until all the facts are known. He did say he thought the mayor and former police chief were more or less out of line when they offered up their opinions on the shooting.