Charges: Man damaged African businesses in Minneapolis, says he hates 'the Somalis'

He's been charged with bias crimes.
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A man has been charged with bias crimes in connection with the damage caused to a number of East African-owned businesses in south Minneapolis earlier this month.

Harlin St. John, 36, of Minneapolis, has been charged with five counts of property damage, three of which are described as being "because of bias," in connection with the crime spree.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office says more charges are likely as other cases have been submitted since he was arrested.

Several businesses in the East Franklin Avenue area were damaged in the early hours of Sept. 18, with surveillance video showing a man throwing a rock through the double pane windows of one of the storefronts.

He was picked up the next day by police who saw him at Hennepin County Government Center, realizing he matched the description from the surveillance video, including wearing the same clothes.

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After initially saying he would pay for the broken windows, he later said he did it in retaliation "because someone shot at his family members and he believe it was Somalis."

He then added that he hates "the Somalis," the criminal complaint says.

In total, more than $8,000-worth of damage was caused to businesses including the Capitol Cafe, $5 Pizza, and Seward Market & Halal Meat.

Business owner Shamsudin Hassan, who owns a grocery store in the area, told the Sahan Journal – which covers the Twin Cities immigrant communities – that they "don't feel safe" following the attack.

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