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Shouldn't we Demand for Apology!

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For those of us who live here in utango barafleey or as they may call the twin cities in Minnesota should demand an apology from the MN media as well as the Minneapolis Police Department because as a community our name has been humiliated without an apparent cause, after one cadaan guy has been killed in a robbery and has been said that the killers were SOMALIS without being so sure of the fact.

So my concern is shouldn't we demand an apology?!

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I do agree with you. The Somali communities of MN area need to come together and pressure Channel Five Eyewitness News to retract the story or apologize. I’ve been following this story very closely and Channel Five vigorously reported the suspects were Somalis or East Africans before the police gave any description of the suspects. I watched the 6 o’clock news and they interviewed a guy who was robbed a year ago in the uptown area and thought the robbers were Somali because of their accent. No mention of police report of that alleged incident taking place.


I think WCCO and Star Tribune didn’t link the shooting to Somalis. Some critics accused WCCO to being afraid to report suspect’s race. See Don Shelby In the Know responding to those accustions. A few days later, police made some arrests and held a press in which they said they never described the suspects as Somalis. It was some media group.


It seemed Channel Five was certain the killers of being Somalis/East Africans and readily connected the crime to the Somali community, and removed the news clips and articles from their website few days later. Read the article below about the story. Email Channel Five and tell them they’re disgrace to the news organizations. Remind them to do their job professionally by being impartial and diligent.


Nick Coleman: Somalis owed apology after Uptown arrests


After the appalling murder in Uptown of Michael Zebuhr, a visitor who died after a street robbery on March 18, Twin Cities blogs and discussion forums zeroed in on the likely culprits. The killers, many agreed, were Somalis.


Or, as one enlightened soul put it in a posting on, "dirty somali ....." I've deleted the expletive he felt free to use.

I would like to introduce that fellow to some Somalis I know. But maybe he would rather pass. Mr. Big Mouth was wrong: Police have not arrested any Somalis in Zebuhr's murder. Instead, they have arrested a number of good old born-in-the-USA Americans.


What we almost had here was a 21st century lynching: No one ended up swinging from a tree, but some people were definitely in the mood.


"I was worried about something like that happening," says Omar Jamal, head of the Somali Justice Center, who met with Uptown residents after the shooting. "If I had turned on my radio and found out that a couple of Somalis were killed out of vengeance, I would not have been surprised."


At one point, Jamal announced a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers. It was a put-up or shut-up move, but it might have intensified suspicions that some Somali gang members had made the jump from robbery to murder.


Bad guys are bad guys, whatever color, and whatever caliber they carry. But there was something over the top and deeply racist about the Somali-bashing that went on after the Uptown shooting. And some parts of the media played a part in raising the temperature.


After a car was stopped by police and its occupants detained as possible suspects, Channel 5 Eyewitness News quoted "police sources" as saying the suspects were Somali or possibly East African. Leaving aside the fact that some cops can't tell an East African from an East Sider, that's like saying a suspect is Irish or maybe Western European. It is meaningless by itself.


Other TV stations followed Channel 5's lead. An entire ethnic group was under suspicion, without any description of what the killers looked like.


Neither newspaper in town reported the Somali accusation (although the Pioneer Press did report on Jamal's offer of a reward). At the Star Tribune, newsroom policy allows the race of suspects to be reported when race "can be used as part of larger description of a crime suspect," including "standard categories of identification such as age, build or weight, height and hair style or color, or includes some of those categories plus other very specific identifiers such as scars or clothing."


If police are looking for a 5-foot-10 black suspect about 20 years old weighing 180 pounds in a Vikings jacket with a tattoo on his face, shaved head and an apparent Somali accent, that should make it into the newspaper. But "police are looking for a Norwegian or possibly a Scandinavian"?


No way, Sven.


Casting suspicion on all members of a group doesn't do anything useful. It just whips the bigots into a frenzy.


Were cops looking for Somalis?


"That never came out from us," interim Police Chief Tim Dolan said at the news conference announcing arrests in the Zebuhr killing. "That assumption was made by members of the media and so forth. We never went there."


Later that day, Channel 5 news anchors read a two-sentence non-apology:


"Sources within the Minneapolis Police Department initially thought the suspects in the Uptown murder were of East African descent. That turned out not to be the case."


Huh. Not even a mention of the word Somali. And no, "We apologize to Somalis for carelessly casting aspersions. We went off half-cocked."


"I want them to correct their mistake," Jamal says. "Many people still think it was Somalis. Our community is furious."


A murder scars the city and scares a neighborhood. People want answers: Fast answers, easy answers. And, it turned out, false answers.


This was a Digital Age lynching. Apologies are due. More importantly, there is a lesson to be learned.


Nick Coleman •

Source: Nick Coleman, Star Tribune

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