Police doing it right

I know most of you heard about the explosion in New York that injured a score of people and led to Trump using it to foment fear and hatred to bump up his poll numbers. We also had an incident in Minnesota, in a St Cloud mall (I’ve been there many times!), where a man went on a stabbing spree, and shouted something about Allah. Eight people were injured, and the guy wielding the knife was killed — which goes to show that it is kind of helpful to get guns out of the hands of these bad people.

But here’s the thing…Minnesota does have a substantial population of Muslims, largely Somali immigrants. They don’t have a violent reputation. But when the St Cloud police chief went on Fox News, of course the Foxites assumed we had a terrible race/immigrant problem here, and tried to stir up some inflammatory racist assumptions and remarks. Chief William Blair Anderson would have nothing to do with it, and actually made a helpful reply.

“I can tell you that the vast majority of all of our citizens, no matter their ethnicity, are fine, hard-working people, and now is not the time for us to be divisive,” he said. “We already have a very cohesive community, and I expect that this will draw us even closer together. But at the end of the day, our job is public safety, period.”

Anderson then went on to say that developing relationships with Somalis in his community was vital to rooting out potential extremists.

“We actually work very well not just with our East African community, but all of our community,” he said. “We meet regularly with any number of people, whether they are advocates for a specific ethnicity or different cause. It’s one of things that makes St. Cloud a wonderful place to live, and I know that might sound corny, but it’s the truth. We have established and maintained a very good rapport with our East African community and our community at large.”

Go away, race-baiters. The less we see of you, the better we’re doing.

That’s also the kind of responsible attitude I like to see in the police.


  1. blf says

    From the UK, another example of the police doing it right, Police arrest intruders who occupied Sikh temple in Leamington Spa (England):

    More than 50 men, some carrying blades, entered Gurdwara temple to stop wedding between Sikh bride and Hindu groom

    Armed officers were called to a Sikh temple in Leamington Spa on Sunday morning after more than 50 men, some carrying blades, entered the building to stop an interfaith marriage service.

    As a reminder, police in the UK do not routinely carry firearms, so the deployment of armed officers is somewhat noteworthy. Despite this de-emphasis on guns, the police in the UK also get it wrong more often than is comfortable — racism and other bigotry, disbelief of rape victims and the less-privileged, and so on…

    For around eight hours, the group, described by a trustee of the Gurdwara temple as “fanatical extremists”, occupied the foyer, forcing the postponement of a wedding between a Sikh bride and a Hindu groom […].

    By 4pm Warwickshire police had arrested 55 intruders on suspicion of aggravated trespass. “At this time we believe that it is an escalation of an ongoing local dispute,” a police spokesman said.

    “A significant number of bladed weapons were seized from the scene,” said Supt David Gardner. “As a result of reports that the men were in possession of these weapons we deployed armed officers as a precaution. Nobody was injured in the incident. Over the coming days we will be working with the local Sikh community to address some of the ongoing issues that have culminated in today’s events.”


    Warwickshire police said in a statement: “[…] Officers are inside the temple to negotiate a peaceful resolution. There are also religious leaders in the temple working with officers to negotiate a peaceful resolution. […]”

    Notice the police, with the help of the local community, negotiated and waited, and (say) they plan to work with the community on the (hopefully root) causes that led to the incident. On the other hand, Sikhs are generally respected, and the temple itself is somewhat privileged, being a new “purpose-built £11m” facility “opened in 2009 to serve a local congregation of around 4,000 Sikhs” (it’s quite attractive, see the photograph at the link).

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says


    yuk, this article at the link is totally strawmanning “liberals”. Never emphasizing that his training was what got him to be “hero”, not the possession of the gun itself.

    [The hero’s name is] Jason Falconer, an off-duty police officer and firearms instructor who owns a gun range.

    –emphasis added
    which the article downplays while emphasizing that he was an “armed citizen”.
    And they certainly don’t want to know an armed citizen was the one who stopped further horror. (strawmanning liberals who are anti-gun)

    Aside from all the above. It is heartening to see the police response the OP is remarking about.

  3. blf says

    Never emphasizing that his training was what got him to be “hero”, not the possession of the gun itself.

    Well, the imaginary gun-carrying waanabe heroesgunslingers never miss, never shoot the wrong person, never panic, aren’t afraid of anything, and eat raw squirrels (unpeeled). Also, they have magic sky faeries on their side.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    which the article downplays while emphasizing that he was an “armed citizen”.
    “And they certainly don’t want to know an armed citizen was the one who stopped further horror. ” (strawmanning liberals who are anti-gun)

    Actually, if he had been on duty, he might have had a TASER, which could have incapacitated the perp, allowing for an arrest, instead of something that could only kill the perp.

  5. davidnangle says

    Sadly, Tasers aren’t for doing what they are ostensibly for. Against a deadly weapon, the cops will always use deadly force. This has relegated Taser use to unarmed, often non-violent suspects. Sometimes after handcuffing.

    It’s a torture gun. Nothing else.

  6. Tethys says

    Jason Falconer also happens to have been Chief of Police in Albany MN, in addition to being a professional sharpshooter who likes to compete. Apparently he is currently suffering some trauma due to shooting this person with a knife, and does not want to be called a hero or mobbed by the media.

  7. says

    @Tehys, #9,

    Because only psychotics relish in killing another human being. Any normal person with empathy would be sick at taking another life. For any reason.

  8. gmacs says

    PZ, having grown up in Rochester and married into a St. Cloud family, I can assure you that Somali immigrants do have a reputation, with certain parts of the population, for violence and bad behavior. However, as you might expect, it is a reputation that is unearned. I know that when my wife and I go home, we’ll have to hear racist comments about this from both our families.

    I just found out about a blog site called Powerline. It is run by well-connected attorneys in MN and it is insanely racist toward Somalis. A recent article refers to “Little Mogadishu”.

    Progress is being made: In state congressional district 60B, the candidates for Representative from both parties are Somali immigrants. Unfortunately, the Democratic candidate, Ilhan Omar, has had to deal with awful and baseless rumors about fraud and marrying her brother.

  9. wzrd1 says

    Honestly, I’m highly racist, I tend to like the human race, other species, my liking is variable.

    OK, real simple, different “races” implies incompatibility, creating mules.
    PZ, can you find any group of humans on this planet that can’t interbreed and create fruitful offspring?
    No mules, no different race, screw the race baiters.
    A bit simplistic, yes. Realistic, yep.

  10. tigran56 says

    Then Oklahoma highway shooting and poof. We have a racist contingent in society, Fox etc. Trump. And the Policemen trots out some very nice platitudes, forgive my need of a little more real proof.