“Woah! Mind-boggling allegations take flight amidst the tumultuous Minneapolis DFL convention mayhem!”
Unrest and turbulence have persisted since the weekend Minneapolis DFL Party ward convention that turned into pandemonium, as accusations and ill feelings continue to fly. Nasri Warsame, a City Council candidate whose supporters stormed the stage as incumbent Aisha Chughtai prepared to speak at the convention, went on the offensive and raised a plethora of serious allegations against numerous individuals.
At a news conference, Warsame’s campaign officials alleged that a Chughtai supporter started the furore, accused a City Council member of assault, and suggested that the convention was “rigged” from the beginning and racially biased against Somalis. They claimed that DFL Socialists, most of them white, controlled the convention and flouted various rules.
Local party officials who were accused have denied all accusations and have publicly called out Warsame’s campaign manager for inciting the chaos.
The situation has become even more complex, as state DFL Party leaders are analyzing the embarrassing episode and considering imposing sanctions in response. The fracas has drawn national attention after a blogger shared a video of the disorder, and the DFL Party’s executive committee is planning an emergency meeting to discuss the matter on Thursday evening.
Minneapolis police have launched an investigation, and numerous individuals involved, as well as police reports, have indicated that the incident led to several people seeking medical attention for things ranging from dangerously low blood pressure to an injured shoulder.
Warsame and his campaign officials refused to apologize for the disorderly behavior exhibited by their supporters, who flung convention papers, pounded on a desk, and physically assaulted Chughtai and party officials, despite Warsame running on a platform of law and order. Abshir Omar, Warsame’s campaign manager, dismissed notions that his supporters were the instigators and described it as a racist narrative against black Africans, many of whom are Somali immigrants. Omar also claimed that Warsame’s supporters were unjustly excluded from the convention process.
Chughtai issued a statement in response to the allegations, saying that the convention utilized the same open and transparent process that the DFL has always used, and that campaigns that are winning and have the people’s support do not violently disrupt the process.
Omar also accused City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison of punching him in the chest with both fists simultaneously during a moment that was captured on camera, although not clearly enough to demonstrate it. Ellison denied the allegation outright and stated that he and Omar never had physical confrontations.
Warsame’s claim that the convention was unfair adds fuel to the tensions within the DFL, with several senior Minneapolis DFL officials endorsing the Democratic Socialists of America and the similarly named Democratic Socialist Caucus, groups that aim to shift the party to the left. Chughtai is the more progressive candidate in Minneapolis’ current political climate, whereas Warsame is running on a moderate platform focusing on law and order. Chughtai is endorsed by the Twin Cities chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which views law enforcement with suspicion, and often votes with a more progressive group of council members to the left of Mayor Jacob Frey and Council President Andrea Jenkins.
According to Warsame, he is on leave as a community service officer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and is currently enrolled in the police academy with the goal of becoming a sworn police officer. He is running on a message of supporting the police while addressing the increase in violent crime in recent years.