At the Mall

In the Paul Simon song, it’s all happening at the zoo. In Minnesota, it’s all happening at the mall — the Mall of America. Sunday was a big day at the Mall. We had the knife stabbings that did some serious damage to two customers trying on clothes at Macy’s. Minnesota man Mahad A. Abdirahman is the alleged perpetrator. He is charged with two felony offenses and being held on $750,000 bail.

It turns out that Abdirahman has previously been ruled mentally ill with schizophrenia in a matter that involved a previous stabbing. Minnesota Public Radio’s Tim Nelson reports:

Court records show he was taken by paramedics to the Hennepin County Medical Center’s psychiatric unit in October last year after his family called to report he was having a mental health crisis. He’d been hospitalized just a short time before for mental illness and prescribed medication but stopped taking it. Three days later, he stabbed one of the hospital’s psychiatrists with a pen and had to be physically restrained and sent to the intensive care unit. He faced criminal assault charges in that case, as well.

“As a consequence of his mental illness, Respondent engages in grossly disturbed behavior or experiences faulty perceptions and he poses a substantial likelihood of causing physical harm,” says an order dated December 12, 2016. It says when he was hospitalized he was “talking and mumbling to himself in auditory hallucinations. He made a statement that the FBI can control his thoughts and read his mind.”

It isn’t clear from court records where he was placed for treatment.

Abdirahman had a hearing in June, and agreed to a 7-month extension of his commitment. He was ordered released on a provisional discharge, in a June 1 order signed by referee Mike Lien and Hennepin County district court judge Elizabeth Cutter. Cutter’s staff referred questions about the case to a court spokesperson, who did not respond to repeated requests about the nature of Abdirahman’s case or why he wasn’t ordered committed through the end of this year.

Instead, he was at the Mall of America last weekend.

Incidents like the Minnesota man’s stabbing attack open a window onto aspects of our life in Minnesota that is usually kept tightly closed. Tim Nelson is an excellent reporter and is to be commended for cracking open the window a bit more here. By contrast, the Star Tribune has run a seven-sentence AP story. Pitiful.

Sunday was a big day at the Mall of America. A Mall of America ride operator is alleged to have molested a patron after she was buckled in and with her young son along. The Star Tribune gets around to the story here.

The alleged perpetrator in this second Sunday case is Minnesota man Amin I. Mohamed. He was charged on Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with fifth-degree (gross misdemeanor) criminal sexual conduct. Mohamed is alleged to have slipped his hand between the woman’s legs with one finger extended. I have undoubtedly led a sheltered life, but using the ride’s restraint to take advantage of a woman in that fashion is a new one on me.

Mohamed was arrested Monday. Unfortunately, however, Mohamed is now free on $6,000 bond, if I am reading the sheriff’s record correctly.

James Woods recently posted 45-second video showing hundreds of Somali Muslims gathering at the Mall’s Nickelodeon Universe on his extremely popular Twitter feed. Highlighting the scene, Woods commented: “I would suggest getting your Christmas shopping done early. Oh, wait …” Disparaging Woods, the Star Tribune has prominently featured the story and reactions to his tweet on its home page. It’s all happening at the Mall, as I say, and the Star Tribune wants to make damn sure that we get our minds right.

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