Bias charges filed after Somali businesses were damaged
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis man is charged with damaging property and bias crimes after authorities say he threw rocks through windows of multiple Somali-owned businesses.
Multiple charges against 36-year-old Harlin St. John were announced Friday, and prosecutors say more charges are likely.
According to a criminal complaint, St. John told police he broke the windows of businesses in the city’s Seward neighborhood on Sept. 18 in retaliation because he believed Somalis shot at one of his family members. He also allegedly said he hates Somalis.
Court records don’t list an attorney to comment on St. John’s behalf. Prosecutors will seek a tougher sentence if St. John is convicted because the victims were selected due to their race or ethnicity.
The businesses damaged include a cafe and market. And damage estimates exceed $8,000.