Somali community leader responds after video of Starbucks threat surfaces
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A cell phone video of a man making heated statements in a Starbucks parking lot in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis is raising concerns among those in the Somali community.
Some Somali community leaders believe the video shows an extreme example of the increasingly hostile treatment their community faces every day.
FOX 9 does not have a record of what happened before the video started recording or what happened afterwards.
The video begins with an unidentified man launching into an angry tirade aimed at a group of customers outside the Starbucks on Sunday night.
"You come to my country and tell me how you don't like my culture and that you are going to overthrow it,” said the man. “You are walking into your own goddamn death trap and you don't even know it."
For nearly four minutes, the man paces in the parking lot, yelling at the mostly Somali men. At one point, the verbal assault threatens to turn into a physical one.
"Look at the ground,” he said. “Look at the ground. Look at the goddamn ground. Look at the ground. Look at the ground. You're not scared. I like that. I like that."
After the tense encounter, the man eventually got in his black SUV and drove off.
"Yeah, I'm scared because I go there when he entered the car,” said Abdikarin Aliwagad, a witness. “I don't know what he is doing. He have gun or something? Why [did he] enter it?"
Abdi Bihi, a Somali community organizer, says the encounter has raised safety concerns in the East African community.
"It’s really a terrifying experience for those who were there as well as those who were not there," said Bihi.
He says with the increasingly heated rhetoric and rising number of hate crimes aimed at immigrants in general and Muslims in particular, the Somali community has to take situations like this seriously.
"He's got the rhetoric,” said Bihi. “He's got the anger. He's got the look. He's got the profile and he's got the walk. He just didn't have the weapons. We hope."
Bihi says what's worse is that this happened outside a well-known gathering place where his community exchanges information and ideas. This confrontation has left some feeling their safe space may not be so safe anymore.
"We don't want to create unnecessary fear,” said Bihi. “We are advising people to be aware of their environment."
FOX 9 tried to track down the man in the video, but was unable to identify him.
Minneapolis police say they received a call during the encounter, but when officers got there, the man was gone. A spokesperson says no police report has been as filed and they are not investigating.