Racist charged with threatening Black people with knife in St. Paul

The 36-year-old white man was arrested on June 19.
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Eric Andrew Nelson

A 36-year-old St. Paul man is accused of walking around the city with a knife and threatening to kill Black people, according to criminal charges filed in Ramsey County District Court. 

Eric A. Nelson is charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in connection to the June 19 incidents, which took place around 12:30 p.m. in the area of Snelling and Selby avenues in St. Paul. 

There, a police officer spoke to a female victim who said she was standing with two others when Nelson approached her with a silver-bladed knife in his right hand and said "Give me money or I'm going to stab you." When another woman asked Nelson to stop, Nelson replied: "Why, she's a (racial slur)."

Another witness said Nelson walked into Zait and Za'atar, a Middle Eastern restaurant on Selby Ave., and asked if there were any Black people there. He then grabbed money from a tip jar before an employee walked out, at which point he put the money back and said, "OK, you're white," then leaving the store.

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Police caught up with Nelson at Snelling and Lincoln avenues, at which point Nelson held the knife to his neck and chest and told the officer to shoot him. The officer was able to talk Nelson down and arrest him without further incident. 

When asked why he was threatening racial violence, Nelson said, "People are harassing my family, like (racial slur)...I got into an argument with this woman and a bunch of (racial slur jumped me near University and Snelling.” 

He also admitted to threatening a woman with a knife because "I was mad at Black people," adding to the officer that, "you guys get away with it, why can’t I?” 

Additionally, Nelson said he was turned away when he tried to get help at an emergency mental health center, claiming that the mental health center didn't care that he was "looking for (racial slu) to kill." 

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