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Carver County orders Scream Town shutdown over memo targeting Somalis

The county canceled its policing contract with the Chaska attraction.

Carver County has ordered Chaska Halloween attraction Scream Town to shut down after its owner released a memo singling out Somali customers.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, the Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson, County Attorney Mark Metz, and County Administrator David Hemze announced it had terminated the sheriff's office contract with Scream Town and owner Matt Dunn.

The sheriff's office had been contracted to provide security, grounds patrol, traffic and crowd control and law enforcement during its 6-week opening period.

With no contract in place, the property that hosts Scream Town is in violation of its Conditional Use Permit.

"The County today issued an immediate stop work order for the Scream Town operation on the SSP Holdings’ property," it said.

It comes after Matt Dunn posted a memo to a Scream Town Actors Facebook group calling for "zero tolerance" to be shown to Somali customers, after problems the attraction had with a group of about 8-10 people last weekend. 

After a screenshot of the memo was widely shared on social media, Scream Town issued an apology, saying it welcomes people of all backgrounds.

The memo read:

"Note that we are having a zero tolerance policy with Somalis. (Other guests, you make your best judgement call) But absolutely zero tolerance with Somalis. Your diligence in this matter is crucial. 

Carver County says that the posting of this memo contravened its contract with the sheriff's office, which said there should be no discrimination based on race or nationality.

Even if it were to find another security provider, Hemze told Bring Me The News it would need to alter its permit for the land.

"We hold equal treatment of all people among our highest principles,” Hemze said in a statement.

"Mr. Dunn’s comments discriminated against one group based on their national origin. There is no ambiguity to Mr. Dunn’s comments. Mr. Dunn encouraged his employees to racially profile a targeted group and his comments are completely unacceptable. They do not comply with County policy, and they breached our contract with him."

"Carver County unequivocally does not allow anyone in its organization to discriminate based on national origin or race and we most certainly will not contract with any business that discriminates or has discriminatory policies,” County Board chair Gayle Degler added.

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