Immigration and diversity alert. via Fight abruptly ends Cedar-Riverside caucus.
A heavily attended caucus in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood ended abruptly Tuesday night after an altercation between activists.
About 300 people, nearly all of them Somali-American, attended the event at the Brian Coyle Center. Most of them were there to support Mohamud Noor, who is challenging Rep. Phyllis Kahn for a seat in the Minnesota House.
The altercation over who would chair the event took place before any delegates were elected. Two women outside the meeting said that an aide for council member Andrew Johnson, Ilham Omar, was attacked.
“She was attacked,” Johnson confirmed in an interview. “She’s got some bruises and cuts but she’s going to be fine.”
Police escorting people outside said that no one was arrested.
“There was an argument about who was controlling the meeting, as far as I could tell,” said Park Board commissioner Scott Vreeland, who tried to break up the fight. “And then there was kind of a rush forward of folks that wanted something different.”
A handful of police quickly started dispersing the crowd, telling people to leave the building. The event, which began around 7 p.m., was over by 7:40 p.m.
It appears the two people running to chair the meeting were Mohamed Jama and Zamzam Ali. “I’m speechless,” Ali said outside the gymnasium.
Corey Day, executive director of the DFL, said the precinct elects 44 delegates out of about 700 in the House district.
“I have no clue exactly why this transpired,” Day told reporters after the room had cleared. “I’m just as shocked as you guys. I really just want to talk to the folks at the party and figure out how we’re going to resolve this.”
More. The brawl was apparently escalating for days, incited by a Somali Muslim who then cried victim:
Ilhan was an active participant in the hostile environment that occurred that night and was responsible for inciting conflict in the days leading up to the caucus. Prior to the fight, she engaged in a tat-for-tat exchange on Facebook that essentially materialized into a physical altercation between Noor supporters and Kahn supporters on the night of the caucus. Among her posts include taunting lyrics and the following tribal reference: “We ruled kingdoms made you our servants, it’s only with honor you claim to be one of us.” She has since deleted many of these statements.
Ilhan is not from the cedar-riverside neighborhood; in fact, she lives in Ward 2. Her role at the caucus was to monitor the process to ensure fairness and provide translation services as necessary. The role specifically called for someone who is neutral on the race prior to the DFL endorsement. It is a well-established fact in the Somali-American community that Ilhan was heavily campaigning for Noor, leaving many on the other side wondering how the process could be fair when the monitor herself was compromised. Her ties to Noor are deep. Not only are they co-founders of the New American Political Action Committee, but after becoming Executive Director of the Confederation of the Somali Community, Noor appointed Ilhan Omar to serve on his board. None of these relationships are problematic in and of themselves, but it’s hard to believe Ilhan when she insinuates that she was an unbiased party official at the caucus that evening. Many were also upset that she spoke with a classist tone — saying that the many low-income people in the neighborhood were “sloppy” and “uneducated” and thus needing her political guidance.
Video of the chaos here.
Corey Day, by the way, is hard core: