The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Minnesota (CAIR-MN) cited President Donald Trump’s rally in Minneapolis while discussing the recent assault of a Muslim DoorDash driver.
CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein called a press conference Thursday to discuss the incident, which reportedly took place the morning of October 27 in Excelsior, Minnesota. Hussein said bias-motivated incidents take place “pre and post incidents,” like after a political rally.
“We know the rally that our president held here in the Twin Cities—those types of events usually, we have seen in other communities, that hate crimes go up. It’s hard to pinpoint, but it’s possible,” he said.
Victim Haarun Galbayte, a 49-year-old Somali immigrant who has lived in Minnesota for 22 years, said the suspect used the “same language as President Trump to the congresswoman,” referencing President Trump’s exchanges with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05).
According to Hussein, Galbayte was assaulted after completing a delivery to a home he had been called to several times in the past. As he was leaving the house, he was flagged down by a gentleman “who began immediately verbally assaulting him and telling him to ‘go back to your country.’”
He was then elbowed in the face repeatedly by the suspect, 54-year-old Michael Anderson, who was arrested and initially charged with assault.
“I still am shocked by what happened to me on that day,” said Galbayte, stressing that Anderson’s choice of words was the “same language, like Trump.”
Hussein called on law enforcement to investigate the incident as a hate crime and said he fears hate crimes will increase in Minnesota since the state “has become a national spotlight or ground for hate movements in this country to target Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.”
“Today, CAIR-MN is calling for hate-crime enhancements to be added to the charges that have already been shared by the police department and also to take this care seriously,” he continued, saying “individuals, for whatever reason, are utilizing Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia to attack individuals who are carrying about their day in public life.”
A press release from the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department said the suspect was “dissatisfied as to where the delivery driver had left the food order,” but didn’t address CAIR-MN’s claim that the incident was “bias-motivated.”
Anderson was arrested and booked at Hennepin County Jail on fifth-degree assault charges, the release added.
CAIR-MN’s press conference came the day after Attorney General Keith Ellison hosted a day-long summit on hate crimes where he said his office will issue a report on recommended changes to law enforcement training, date collection, and statutes surrounding hate crimes.
Watch the full press conference below:
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo”South Lake Minnetonka Police Patrol Car” by South Lake Minnetonka Police Department.