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Thursday, 24 December 2009
Fort Morgan Somali Murder Case Rumors Aired in Kaffeeklatsch
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My colleague Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch has an update on the Somali murder case in Fort Morgan, Colorado that we had posted earlier,  here.  The venue was a kaffe klatch with Fort Morgan police chief  Keith Kuretich and some locals captured in the Fort Morgan Times article. There were implications made by us and others that the murder of a Somali woman worker, Warrsen Aden Abdi, employed at a Cargill meat packing plant was perpetrated by a possible relative or clan member, a Somali male, Ahmed Abdi. Ahmed  Abdi, another Somali emigre worked at the JBS Swift meat packing plant in Greeley, Colorado, shared the same last name.  Further, eyewitnesses to the crime said that the assailant knew the victim.  In the Fort Morgan Times "coffee with a cop" piece, the police chief. Keith Kuretich tries to quell the grisly rumors about Miss Abdi's murder, while revealing little about the crime, despite the lifting of a court gag order. Instead Kerutich suggests that the crime was no different than other murders in Fort Morgan and that Somalis present no problems as they are being rapidly Americanized. Sure!

Here is the Corcoran RRW post with a comment from yours truly:

Do you remember this story from back in the first week of November. From time to time, I’ve returned to the Ft. Morgan Times to see whatever happened with the case of the Somali woman stabbed to death by a Somali man with the same last name (honor killing?).  Initially a gag order was placed on the case, but to the generally politically correct Ft. Morgan Times credit they appealed to have the gag order lifted and it was. 

However, effectively there must be a gag order because I haven’t found another word printed about it since, until I saw this innocuously titled article from a few days ago:  ‘Coffee with a Cop draws Ft. Morgan locals.’ The article begins with a boring paragraph about the mundane issues affecting the everyday lives of Ft. Morgan residents. But then launches into what appears to be on many peoples’ minds—the Somali murder.

Gruesome details spreading on blogs? Gosh I would love to know which blogs! And, by the way, Ft. Morgan Times, if straight factual news reporting on the case would be occuring there would be no rumors spreading! I have seen no further reporting on the murder since early November (if there has been, someone send me a link!).

Several people sat down with Fort Morgan police officers Friday to talk about traffic, speeding, the hazards of foliage that blocks the line of sight at intersections and the rumors which abound in the community.

For instance, there are rumors floating around that the murder allegedly involving Ahmed Abdi of Greeley in Fort Morgan last month was a ritual killing, but that’s not true, Police Chief Keith Kuretich said as he sat in Cafe Lotus talking with locals during what he’s calling “Coffee With a Cop.”  [Edit:  Honor Killings are a form of ritual killing]

He was joined by Lt. Darin Sagel and Lt. Jared Crone.

One Fort Morgan resident asked Kuretich about the rumor that the woman who was killed was also decapitated.

That also is not true, nor is it true that her tongue was cut out or that she was stabbed multiple times, he said. Those are things said on blogs, but bear no resemblance to reality.

In fact, the murder was no more violent — perhaps less so — than some other stabbings seen in Fort Morgan, although he could not go into too much detail due to the ongoing prosecution, Kuretich said.  [Chief Kuretich, which is it, we learned previously that murders in Ft. Morgan are very rare, so what stabbings are you referring to? Do you have a lot of stabbings to compare it with?]

Yesterday I discussed the case with Jerry Gordon who writes about Somali Muslim issues (among other things) at New English Review, and here is what he said about this case:

The Fort Morgan Police Chief’s kaffe klatch remarks about the murder of the Somali woman, is a bit disingenuous. His dismissal of the ‘rumors’ floating around the blogosphere of grisly details may be appropriate. However, he was less than forthcoming about the relationship between the Greeley Somali assailant and victim who shared the same last name and from eyewitness accounts knew each other. I get concerned about marginalizing any murder, whether it is this one or others that might have occurred in Fort Morgan by saying that this was was no different from others. The chief ought to be taken to task for that and his scrupulous avoidance of the possible family or clan relationship to the Somali woman murder victim. Over all, his remarks were very PC and callous at the same time.

Back to the ‘Coffee with a Cop’ article which abruptly switches to mundane issues like the line at McDonalds as part of a discussion on driving issues.

Many of the things people brought up were fairly common, but Kuretich said he was surprised to hear about the problem with traffic around the McDonald’s restaurant on some days.

Then we return again to what apparently was really on peoples’ minds—the Somalis in their midst.  The Chief assures them that everything will be just fine in the end once the Somalis understand our culture, once they become “Americanized.”  Oh yeh, go check out Lewiston, ME that has a Somali population for many more years than Ft. Morgan has had one, and is where roaming gangs of Somali ‘youths’ are now (years later) randomly attacking and robbing residents. But in Ft. Morgan everything will be peachy.

One of the challenges officers face is not being able to speak the languages of the different East African refugees who have moved into the community, he said.

Residents should remember that not all of the black people in town are Somalis or Islamic, and groups have their own cultures, Kuretich said.

East Africans are like any other people, with most trying to fit into the community and obey the laws, but there are always some in any group who challenge authority, he said.

The main law enforcement issue is the driving of some Africans, who are inexperienced, Kuretich said.

However, with the help of Cargill Meat Solutions and OneMorgan County, some training is going on and that can be seen in practice at Cargill, he said. [Edit:  Cargill lured the Somalis to Ft. Morgan in the first place]

African community members were concerned about driving, too, especially after one person died in an accident, Kuretich said.

Most other concerns come down to understanding cultural differences.

In Somalia, for instance, people hang out in the village square, but that translates to what Americans call loitering if done in downtown Fort Morgan, Kuretich said.

And they do speak loudly sometimes, which is another cultural expression, he said.

Somalis have been cooperative once they have learned what it means to locals, although there are young refugees who might resist it, Kuretich said.

They truly consider Fort Morgan home and want to fit in, he said. They are becoming more Americanized as the months go by.

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Posted on 12/24/2009 6:56 AM by Jerry Gordon
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