An unidentified man was apparently recorded in the hallway outside Fargo City Council chambers ranting against Somalis and praising Councilman Dave Piepkorn “because he’s against the Somalians too.”
For the past few months, Piepkorn has been at war with the North Dakota refugee resettlement agency, Lutheran Social Services, arguing that refugees are a burden on taxpayers. While Piepkorn’s comments have drawn loud criticism from immigrants and their advocates, and even resulted in a recall effort against him, there’s no doubt his hardline stance has also found sympathetic ears among some.
In the hallway outside the March 27 City Council meeting, someone secretly recorded a man when he began ranting about how he was robbed by Somalis for his credit card. The audio was sent to Mean Read by a tipster.
“City of Fargo didn’t do anything for me,” the man says in the recording. “And now they want to pick on Mr., you know, Dave [Piepkorn] in there. They want to get rid of him cause he’s against the Somalians too. It’s a bad deal but I look at it this way: send all these guys that are crooked son of a bitches, send them back to Somalia where they come from, big time. Get rid of them. Leave the good ones here, leave the kids here, leave the ladies here, who cares. But these guys that cause trouble, send them back.”
Immigrants commit fewer crimes per capita than people born in the U.S., according to a 2010 Census Bureau report, and an official from the Fargo Police Department said in January that “in my experience, the ratio of persons committing crime remains the same from culture to culture.”
Nevertheless, the man in the recording appears convinced of the special threat posed by Somalis.
“I talked to my daughter yesterday out in California,” he says. “She said, ‘Out here we don’t have too many of them.’ I said, ‘It’s a pretty bad deal that we have them around here.’
“I don’t know if you guys have heard of this, but it’s true,” the man continues. “In Somalia, they don’t believe in toilet paper. Have you heard this one? True. Over here they do it: they wash their ass with their goddamn hand, and they wash their hands in a pail of water. But we don’t have that here but they do it on the walls in some of the places. They just did it at McDonalds. … It’s true stuff, my daughter says it happens out there too.”
The man goes on to describe how the Somalians who robbed him received a light sentence.
“They got six months probation over in Moorhead. And I think that cost me $27,000, and I’m just so goddamn mad about the whole goddamn deal. So where do you go? I’m with Mr. Piepkorn.”
Mean Read reached out to Piepkorn for comment and will update with any response.