White nationalists seized upon last summer’s fatal shooting of an Australian national in Minneapolis by a Somali police officer and placed a modest shrine outside a police precinct headquarters.
By the next day, however, the shrine was in tatters.
“On Friday, Identity Evropa activists created a shrine for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at the 5th Precinct in Minneapolis, MN where her Somali-born killer ... was assigned,” read the Twitter posting from Identity Evropa, a white separatist group created in California last year.
The tweet noted the lack of charges to date against the officer, Mohamed Noor. On Dec. 14, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he so far lacks enough evidence to charge Noor with killing the white woman late on a July night behind the southwest Minneapolis home she shared with her fiancé.
The shrine on the sidewalk’s edge near the intersection of 31st Street and Nicollet Avenue was comprised of 12 lit candles, roughly two dozen red roses, a small framed portrait of Damond and three pieces of paper reading “United We Stand” with “Identity Evropa” immediately below.
On Saturday night, the memorial to Damond appeared to have been vandalized. The photo, roses and pieces of paper were gone. Scattered on the sidewalk and the snow-covered grass were several extinguished candles in glass holders.
An officer staffing the police precinct front counter said she was unaware of the shrine’s existence and had no information about its origin or it being damaged.
Identity Evropa, whose motto is “You will not replace us!”, was established in March 2016 and has promoted white supremacy and racial segregation. It claims to have a few hundred members who are active around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Identity Evropa as a hate group.
Minneapolis Mayor-Elect Jacob Frey released this statement late Sunday: “The action ... outside the 5th Precinct was cowardly and disgusting. I condemn the perpetrators and their tactics in the strongest possible terms. Identity Evropa and those who share their values have no place in our city. Hate has no place in Minneapolis. Period.”