A wild brawl at a Minnesota Democratic convention where dozens clashed left opposing sides agreeing on one point as the blame game commenced: “This should never have happened…”
The battle to win a seat on the Minneapolis City Council became just that Saturday when an endorsing convention for Ward 10 went sideways. Members of the city’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party gathered at the Ella Baker Global Studies & Humanities Magnet School seeking party backing only to devolve into a fracas that shut the entire event down.
An uproar could be heard off camera as video from the event showed supporters of incumbent Councilmember Aisha Chughtai taking the stage. Moments later, supporters of challenger Nasri Warsame moved to the front of the gathering where the opposing sides clashed with shouting and shoving before disrupters moved to the stage.
Amid the chaos, convention chair Sam Doten could be heard telling everyone to leave the building, “This is embarrassing. We are shutting this down — this is no longer safe.”
Part 3 pic.twitter.com/oEFQ9hlNIo
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) May 13, 2023
Officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the scene that sent at least one man to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to CBS News, while a woman was said to have been treated by EMS on location.
Reacting to the conflict, Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released a statement that read in part, “Violence has no place in our politics, and it goes against our party’s most cherished values of democracy, inclusivity, and empathy. I sincerely hope that the perpetrators will be held accountable by law enforcement, and I will work to ensure they are held accountable within our party as well.”
“I would like to extend an apology to the delegates, volunteers, and campaign teams who attended today’s convention,” he went on. “This should never have happened, and it is deeply unfortunate that the actions of a small number of individuals could overshadow the hard work that so many put into this convention and the process of electing leaders they believe in.”
On social media, Martin added, “it is clear that the assaults and violence at the Ward 10 convention were perpetrated by supporters of [city council candidate] Nasri Warsame.”
After reviewing video evidence & talking to convention participants it is clear that the assaults and violence at the Ward 10 convention were perpetrated by supporters of Nasri Warsame. There is no place in the @MinnesotaDFL for this type of behavior:https://t.co/HlAUvLB8Nn
— Ken Martin (@kenmartin73) May 14, 2023
For his part, Warsame played the victim as he posted messages from the hospital including one that claimed, “My campaign manager has been assaulted by one of the other campaign staff members, and he’s now being transported to hospital by an ambulance. The convention was shut down due to turmoil, and all the people were instructed to exit the building. No endorsement at this point, but more questions to ask regarding the process.”
Meanwhile, Chughtai asserted the lack of endorsement had been the entire reason for the disruption as she sided with Martin and suggested she had garnered 60 percent of the delegates before the event was shut down.
“Today was horrifying, unacceptable, and indicative of the growing threat to progressive, pro-people candidates and movement leaders,” her own statement read.
Today was horrifying, unacceptable, and indicative of the growing threat to progressive, pro-people candidates and movement leaders.
See my campaign’s statement on the violence perpetrated by the Nasri Warsame campaign at the Ward 10 convention today.https://t.co/zSt6y2811i
— Aisha Chughtai (@aishaforward10) May 14, 2023
“Over a dozen of our supporters and DFL volunteers were physically assaulted that we know of right now; there are likely more who haven’t gotten in touch with us yet. The Warsame campaign punched multiple women of color on our campaign team, and shoved and harassed LGBTQIA2S+ delegates and supporters,” the councilmember added, injecting even more politics into the dispute.
According to Minneapolis DFL chair Briana Rose Lee, “Several DFL volunteers were assaulted today, including 4 members of the State Executive Committee and several campaign volunteers/staff and delegates. The behavior displayed today was despicable and unacceptable. I don’t know the next steps yet. But there will be repercussions.”
While an investigation was underway, CBS News reported that no arrests had been made related to the conflict.
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