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Tag Archive | "Minneapolis"

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Fired from TSA, Mpls. Man gets Prison Term for Off-Duty Hate Crime against Somali

Posted on 30 November 2011 by Amago

Fired from TSA, Mpls. man gets prison term for off-duty hate crime against Somali

Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune 

A Minneapolis man who lost his job with the Transportation Security Administration for an off-duty assault of an elderly Somali man has been sentenced to six months in prison for the hate crime.

George Thompson, 64, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Thompson’s case was the first prosecuted under the act.

Signed into law in October 2009, the act was named after Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming teen who died after being kidnapped and beaten in 1998, and James Byrd, Jr., a black man who was dragged to death in Texas that same year.

“Physical violence motivated by racial or religious hatred exacerbates fear and tears at the fabric of our society,” B. Todd Jones, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said in a statement issued after Thompson’s sentencing. “Here in Minnesota, we have vibrant and diverse communities and should be celebrating that fact, not assaulting people because of it.”

Thompson also was charged in state court about three months after the May 4, 2010, assault in another bias-inspired attack on the same street as the earlier incident, but that allegation was dropped once the federal case was filed.

According to the criminal complaint in the dismissed case:

Thompson approached a man and asked him whether he was Somali. The man said he was, prompting Thompson to chase and threaten to kill him. The man found refuge with police officers who were nearby.

Thompson then went into a neighborhood bar, where he was arrested. He was drunk and had two loaded firearms with him and a permit to carry them.

Both incidents cost Thompson his job with the Transportation Security Administration. He worked for eight years with the federal agency that provides security to the nation’s airports.

According to court documents in the federal case:

Thompson was leaving a bar in his Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and “punched or shoved” an 82-year-old Somali man without provocation. The man nearly fell.

“You Muslims, go back to your country,” witnesses reported Thompson as saying, along with, “You Somali, go back to your country.”

The defense acknowledged that Thompson was embarrassed and sorry for the assault, but also noted that the defendant was frustrated by trouble that Somali youth had been causing in his neighborhood.

The defense pointed out that Thompson and others were subjected to threats, assaults, robberies and indecent exposure from Somali youth.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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Minneapolis Man Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Crime

Posted on 12 August 2011 by Emperor

Not America’s finest.

Minneapolis man pleads guilty to civil rights crime

A 64-year-old man pleaded guilty Wednesday to violating the civil rights of an 83-year-old Somali man he assaulted in Minneapolis last year while yelling that his victim was a Muslim and should go back to Africa.

George Thompson of Minneapolis appeared before U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in federal court in St. Paul.

Court papers said that Thompson, a former employee of the Transportation Security Administration, attacked his victim on May 4, 2010, because of the man’s “actual and perceived religion and national origin.”

The incident occurred near 5th Street and Cedar Avenue S. The victim was identified in court papers only by his initials.

The Hennepin County attorney’s office deferred to federal authorities because Thompson could receive a longer sentence under federal law, said Chuck Laszewski, a county attorney’s office spokesman.

Thompson was charged under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act, passed in 2009. Shepard was tortured and murdered in Wyoming by two men who believed he was gay; Byrd, a black man, was dragged to his death behind a truck by three men in Texas.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Minneapolis said Thompson could receive up to 10 years in prison.

On July 26, 2010, Thompson was arrested a second time by Minneapolis police, also near 5th and Cedar, in a similar incident.

A Somali man told police he was getting into a car when he was approached by Thompson and asked if he was a Somali. When the man said he was, Thompson told him he was going to kill him and began to chase and threaten him.

Thompson then went into the Nomad World Pub, where he was taken into custody. The complaint said Thompson was intoxicated and had two loaded firearms with him and a permit to carry them. Thompson was charged in that case with second-degree assault and making terroristic threats.

Laszewski said the Hennepin County attorney’s office will move to dismiss the charges in the July 2010 case once it gets official notice of the status of Thompson’s federal case.

Randy Furst • 612-673-7382

Original post: Minneapolis man pleads guilty to civil rights crime

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