This is a weird story and I expect there will be some explanation forthcoming, but it didn’t stop CAIR and Somali mouthpiece, Omar Jamal, from demanding more sensitivity training at the St. Paul PD.
Police Chief: Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of the city of St. Paul!
Here is the story from TwinCities.com (hat tip: Megan):
A man seen in a photograph dressed as a female Muslim Target employee is a St. Paul police officer who worked off-duty at a St. Paul store, police and Target Corp. said Monday, Feb. 4.
Mukhtar Ibrahim directed a Tweet to the official St. Paul police Twitter account at 7:55 p.m. Sunday: “Can u pls verify if this man mocking Somali women employees at Target is one of your officers?” Ibrahim, who used to live in St. Paul, is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist.
Ibrahim received a reply from the St. Paul police Twitter account at 8:35 a.m. Monday: “SPPD wants to thx u for bring this to our att. We take this seriously&are investigating.”
Police Chief Thomas Smith said in a statement Monday, “After an image was brought to my attention this morning, I ordered an immediate investigation to determine all of the facts surrounding it. The St. Paul police department has worked hard to establish a strong and respectful relationship with our Muslim communities, and I will not allow these types of images to erode that relationship. Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of the city of St. Paul, and we expect each one of our officers to respect and take pride in serving each of our diverse communities.”
CAIR: “more diversity training” needed! It sure sounds like they have that police chief well-trained!
Lori Saroya, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Minnesota chapter, said her organization has good relationships with the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments, but if the photo does show a St. Paul police officer, she thinks that individual needs more diversity training to “help eliminate anti-Muslim stereotypes and prejudice.”
Omar Jamal: “additional sensitivity training” needed!
Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali Mission to the United Nations, wrote in an email Monday, “This is a clear indication that police should have additional sensitivity training about the community, culture and religion.”
For new readers: This 2011 post, “Why so many Somalis in Minneapolis?”, is almost daily one of our top most-read posts. I see today it is number one.