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Fight abruptly ends Cedar-Riverside caucus

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: February 5, 2014 - 9:53 AM

Updated at 1:25 a.m.

A heavily attended caucus in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood ended abruptly Tuesday night after an altercation between activists.

About 300 people, nearly all of them Somali-American, attended the event at the Brian Coyle Center. Most of them were there to support Mohamud Noor, who is challenging Rep. Phyllis Kahn for a seat in the Minnesota House.

The altercation over who would chair the event took place before any delegates were elected. Two women outside the meeting said that an aide for council member Andrew Johnson, Ilhan Omar, was attacked.

"She was attacked," Johnson confirmed in an interview. "She’s got some bruises and cuts but she’s going to be fine."

Police escorting people outside said that no one was arrested.

"There was an argument about who was controlling the meeting, as far as I could tell," said Park Board commissioner Scott Vreeland, who tried to break up the fight. "And then there was kind of a rush forward of folks that wanted something different."

DFL Executive Director Corey Day said facilities staff decided to end the event. A handful of police quickly started dispersing the crowd, telling people to exit. The event, which began around 7 p.m., was over by 7:40 p.m.

It appears the two people running to chair the meeting were Mohamed Jama and Zamzam Ali. "I'm speechless," Ali said outside the gymnasium.

Day said the precinct elects 44 delegates out of about 700 in the House district.

"I have no clue exactly why this transpired," Day told reporters after the room had cleared. "I'm just as shocked as you guys. I really just want to talk to the folks at the party and figure out how we're going to resolve this."

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