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No Hate Crime Charges In Neighborhood Altercation, Victim Disputes Police Findings

Rahma Warsame
Adora Namigadde
Rahma Warsame was injured in a neighborhood incident on June 3.

The Columbus Division of Police say there’s no evidence that a weekend altercation which left a Somali woman’s face injured is a hate crime.

Rahma Warsame’s face is visibly damaged from the incident that happened Saturday in her apartment complex on Pinellas Court in northeast Columbus. Warsame was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital. Police say conflicting witness stories left them unable to determine who the primary aggressor was in the incident that left Warsame bruised.

“There was no indication that there were any kind of threats made or that this was ethnically or any other way biased,” Columbus Police Sergeant Rich Weiner says. “There’s no indication whatsoever that this was a hate crime.”

But Warsame says that’s not true.

“He keep saying ‘Africans you guys go back to Africa. I’m gonna ship you, I’m gonna kill you.’ He was saying that when he was chasing,” Warsame says. “’I’m gonna kill everybody,’ even when policeman was there, ‘I’m gonna kill everybody.’”

Romin Iqbal, the legal director for Council on American-Islamic Relations in Columbus, says law enforcement did not investigate thoroughly, and demands someone be charged.

“Our client simply showed up there to intervene, to stop an argument and got viciously assaulted for that. And that’s not fair,” Iqbal says.

But police say they have done due diligence.

“We did investigate the incident. Officers arrived on the scene, we spoke to multiple people that were involved in the incident,” Weiner says. “Two women were transported to the hospital in stable condition. Others reported that they were assaulted as well but they were not transported.”

Weiner says the injuries were misdemeanors, so it is up to the victims to file charges at the city prosecutor’s office.

A fundraiser through LaunchGood has raised more than $100,000 in support of Warsame, after the incident quickly garnered traction on social media.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.