Updated:
Original:

Woman accused in Applebee's assault won't be charged with hate crime

Author:

A woman charged with assaulting another woman at a Coon Rapids Applebee's for not speaking English will not be charged with a bias crime because it could lead to a lesser charge, the Anoka County Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, was charged earlier this month with third-degree assault after she allegedly yelled at Asma Jama, who had been speaking Swahili. When staff tried to get Burchard-Risch to leave, she refused and then smashed a beer mug across Jama's face and fled, charges say.

The Minnesota Council on Islamic-American Relations said she should face hate-crime charges in addition to the assault charge, but Paul Young, with the Anoka County Attorney's Office, told MPR News she won't face those charges.

Young said based on state law, if she is charged with a bias crime "we run the risk of a conviction of a lower level offense and we don't want to do that" – a bias crime charge would be considered a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota, he told MPR News.

"We know that this was a crime that appears to be based on hatred and bias. We are considering that and we'll keep analyzing what role that plays in sentencing," Young told the news station.

Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo tells KSTP “The charge we levied in this case is actually a 5-year felony against her. So, the penalties are much greater.”

This embed is invalid

Jama told MPR 17 stitches were needed to close the wound on her lip after the attack. She said the incident has left her traumatized, adding "I'm actually thinking about moving out of Minnesota. I'm scared for my life. I don't feel comfortable here anymore."

After the incident was reported last week, supporters of Jama contributed more than $10,000 to a fund for her – which more than doubled the goal organizers of the fund had set.

Over the weekend, dozens attended a rally in front of Coon Rapids city hall to show solidarity with Jama.

Next Up

Autumn Merrick, Autumn Rose Merrick

Man charged in shootout, crash that killed 18-year-old on scooter

Autumn Rose Merrick was with a friend near the Holiday gas station.

D Quagon - DOC photo

DOC searching for convicted sex offender who has gone on the run

The recently released man removed his GPS monitoring device.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves: 5 things you can count on for the 2021-22 season

The Timberwolves hope to return to relevance this season.

pickleball

With parking ramp roof empty most of time, Chaska adds pickleball courts

The top level isn't often used, so the entities teamed up to meet a growing need for pickleball courts.

Mauno Silpala

Former UN official ID'd as pedestrian killed in Alexandria

The native of Finland retired in 2005 and was living in Golden Valley.

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 9.37.24 AM

Here's what the future radar shows; 'a few robust' storms possible

Rain is on the way. Some hail is also possible in stronger storms.

sean peterson hopkins

Mom of man killed in Hopkins says son died in her arms

He was fatally shot on Sunday night at the apartment building where he lived.

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 6.42.51 AM

Boy, 15, undergoes surgery after being shot near south Mpls. park

The 15-year-old was transported to HCMC and was taken into surgery.

i-94 crash st. michael - 2021.10.19

Maple Grove man ID'd as victim of fatal crash on I-94

That side of the freeway was closed for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon.

Related

Jory Wiebrand

Charges: Ham Lake man linked to 10 sexual assaults, other crimes

The alleged crimes took place between 2013 and 2020.