MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis councilmember Michael Rainville was addressing constituents regarding the disruption and destruction downtown on July 4 when he made comments that have many demanding he take responsibility for his words.
Rainville, who has served as councilmember for Ward 3 since assuming office in January, indicated he planned to speak to Somali elders, where he planned to tell them, “Their children can no longer have that type of behavior.”
The comments drew immediate criticism, including from several of Rainville’s colleagues within city council.
Friday evening, councilmembers Jamal Osman, Jeremiah Ellison and Aisha Chughtai issued a statement condemning Rainville’s words as “inappropriate, incorrect and disturbing.”
In the statement, the three demanded Rainville make a formal apology while holding a community meeting to allow others to share how his words affected them.
Other groups, including Minneapolis DFL and CAIR-MN, joined in condemning Rainville’s words.
“Racism has no place in Minneapolis,” wrote Minneapolis DFL Chair Briana Rose Lee in a statement.
Shortly after 10 P.M. Friday, Rainville responded in a tweet.
“I was trying to convey that we need more support for our youth,” Rainville wrote. “But the fact is what I said and the way I said it was not appropriate.”
“His statements which were false, and made without any real evidence, painted our community and scapegoated our community,” said Jaylani Hussein of CAIR-MN Saturday. “When a criminal commits a crime, regardless of who it is, it’s that person, we should always talk about that criminal. The community they come from, the churches they attend, who they associate with, those didn’t commit the crime.”
Rainville further apologized for his statements during an Eid al-Ahda celebration in Northeast Minneapolis Saturday, Somali leaders say.
“He apologized in very strong terms, and we took it in good faith,” said Abdul Artan, outreach coordinator for Dar Al-Qalam. “People can do mistakes. Mistakes do happen. If you come back and apologize, it’s another level, and we have taken his apology.”
Council Member Michael Rainville declined an interview when contacted by WCCO-TV.