Gang Members Soon To Get Their Own Congressman, David Strom, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006

In the United States, all of us have a right to be represented in government, right?

Until now, one group of Americans has been grossly underrepresented. Just who is this underrepresented group? Gang members and cop killers.


Luckily, that is about to change. In their wisdom, the Democrat Party in Minnesota (known here as the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, or DFL) has endorsed Keith Ellison as their candidate to replace 28-year incumbent Congressman Martin Sabo in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.

Much attention has been lavished on Ellison for likely being the first Muslim elected to Congress, and much controversy has surrounded his ties to the Nation of Islam and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. {snip}

But almost nobody has focused on Ellison’s most interesting behavior and connections—to gang members and people who assassinate police officers in political violence. The first public discussion of Ellison’s ties to criminals finally made it into the mainstream media October 19th, in a column written by Katherine Kerstin in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.


According to Ellison, gang members, domestic terrorists like the Sybionese Liberation Army, and cop killers like Assata Shakur (one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists) and Kathleen Soliah (an SLA member who pleaded guilty to murder and robbery in recent years) are really “good people” and freedom fighters trying to keep the spirit of the ’60s alive and well in the midst of a repressive corporate culture. You can read a speech that Ellison gave at a fundraiser for the defense of admitted murderer Kathleen Soliah here.

A bit closer to home, Ellison has championed the cause of youth gang members here in Minneapolis. After the brutal execution of a police officer by four gang members, Ellison led a demonstration against Minneapolis police officers in which he charged that police were persecuting gang members merely to get more money for the union. He concluded his contribution to the rally by leading the crowd in a chant—at a rally defending those accused of the assassination of a Police officer—of “we don’t get no justice, you don’t get no peace.”

Ellison’s warped notion of criminals and cop killers as freedom fighters might strike some as a disqualification for office, but apparently not here in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. The Star Tribune has generally treated Ellison with kid gloves, airing some of the stories of his questionable conduct (not focusing on the gang and domestic terrorist affiliations, though), but their columnists and Editorial writers have generally dismissed criticisms of Ellison as evidence of racism (Ellison is black) and religious bigotry (Ellison is Muslim).


Not all Democrats are sanguine about Ellison’s views, however. The incumbent Congressman Martin Sabo has implicitly endorsed Independence Party candidate Tammy Lee, taking a picture with her last week, and allowing his District Director to endorse her in a blast email to Democrats. Some business executives, nervous about an Ellison victory, have also jumped on board. John Stanoch, President of Qwest Communications for Minnesota, has held a fundraiser for Lee and getting other businessmen to invest in her campaign.


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