MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 36-year-old man accused of smashing the windows of Somali-owned businesses in Minneapolis, and causing $8,000 in property damage, has plead guilty to a count of second degree damage to property because of bias.
Harlin St. John was sentenced to 5 years of probation and 62 days in jail, but he is free because of time served. He’s also required to stay out of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and complete a mental health assessment.
According to a criminal complaint, on Sept. 18 police received reports of a white man throwing rocks through business windows at East Franklin Avenue and 24th Avenue South.
Several businesses had their large double pane windows destroyed.
A witness above one of the stores saw a man throwing rocks, and surveillance cameras in the area captured the incident.
The following day, security officers at the public service level of the Hennepin County Government Center saw St. John and observed that he matched the description of the suspect, even wearing the same clothes.
He allegedly told officers that, “he broke the windows and would pay for them.”
According to the complaint, he later told investigators that he did it in retaliation, because someone shot at his family and he suspected it was Somalis, saying that he hated them.