Minneapolis, MN - Last Friday, Minneapolis City Council Member Michael Rainville made public comments at a community meeting on public safety, in which he unfairly and incorrectly blamed Somali youth and the Muslim community as being responsible for the recent crime in Minneapolis. Members of the Minneapolis Delegation in the Minnesota Legislature released the following statement condemning Council Member Rainville’s remarks:
“We strongly condemn the comments made by Council Member Rainville, specifically that he would be ‘going over to a mosque in Northeast to meet with Somali elders and tell them their children can no longer have that kind of behavior.’ That kind of prejudiced language has no place in our city, no place in our party, and no place in our elected offices.
“Council Member Rainville’s comments are not only divisive and disrespectful — they are representative of a politics which leverages fear and perpetuates systems of inequity and discrimination. This does nothing to make our city safer. The suggestion that Somali youth and our Muslim neighbors are disproportionately responsible for recent crime in Minneapolis is as racist as it is inaccurate. Amplifying anti-Somali and Islamophobic sentiments — especially as an elected official at an official event — erodes community trust and emboldens those with hateful beliefs to justify harm and over-criminalization.
“Although Council Member Rainville has since issued an apology regarding these statements, we urge him to make good on his promise to ‘meet with community members’ by holding public accountability forums to discuss why his actions are harmful and how he can tangibly demonstrate improved understanding.
“We stand in solidarity with our Somali and Muslim communities, and urge the City Council and Mayor to take formal action to hold Council Member Rainville accountable for his behavior. As elected leaders representing Minneapolis, we are committed to protecting all our residents and ensuring accountability for words and actions which unjustly target any of them. We look forward to continuing to work with the community, city leadership, and Council Member Rainville to repair relationships and rebuild trust.”
Members of the Minneapolis Delegation, all members of the DFL, include Representative Mohamud Noor, Representative Hodan Hassan, Representative Aisha Gomez, Representative Sydney Jordan, Representative Esther Agbaje, Representative Jim Davnie, Representative Fue Lee, Representative Emma Greenman, Representative Frank Hornstein, Representative Jamie Long, Senator Omar Fateh, Senator Scott Dibble, and Senator Patricia Torres Ray.