White man accused of pulling gun on group of Muslim teenagers at McDonald’s

Confrontation began after man wrongly suggested teenagers were using welfare assistance to pay for food at Minneapolis restaurant 

Mihir Zaveri
Friday 23 November 2018 10:07
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Edward Lloyd Johnson has been arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun at a group of Somali-American teenagers at a Minneapolis McDonald’s
Edward Lloyd Johnson has been arrested after allegedly brandishing a gun at a group of Somali-American teenagers at a Minneapolis McDonald’s

A man who displayed a gun during an argument with a group of mostly Somali-American teenagers at a McDonald’s in Minneapolis has been arrested, police said.

The confrontation with the man on Monday began after he wrongly suggested that the teenagers were using welfare assistance to pay for their food.

The incident, which was partly captured on a video that has been widely circulated on Twitter, ended without any shots fired or injuries sustained.

On Wednesday Eden Prairie police arrested Lloyd Edward Johnson, 55, under probable cause for second-degree assault, the city said in a statement.

Mr Johnson was being held at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Centre. A city spokeswoman said on Thursday the Hennepin County attorney would decide whether to file charges.

For Jihan Abdullahi, 17, one of the teenagers in the group, the confrontation was a shocking instance of racism that left her scared but thankful that things did not turn out worse.

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Ms Abdullahi said she and some friends left a library just before 8pm on Monday and went to a nearby McDonald’s. “It’s our hangout spot,” Ms Abdullahi said.

Ms Abdullahi said she and a friend tried to pay with a mobile payment app, but the system didn’t work.

Then, as they were passing the man, he asked if they were using electronic benefits transfer cards, which are like debit cards for welfare benefits, to pay for their food.

Ms Abdullahi said she asked him if he had said that because she and her friends were black, and the man said yes.

An argument escalated before the man put his hands in his pockets, Ms Abdullahi said, adding: “He told everybody to back up.”

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The next few moments were captured on video by one of the group of teenagers. The video shows the man pointing at the group and yelling as he backs out of the restaurant. Then the group scatters, shouting that the man has a gun.

After the man left, the video shows, an employee used expletives to tell the teenagers to leave the restaurant.

Another employee, who was also recorded in a second video, told the group the gun had been pulled “for a reason.”

Paul Ostergaard, the owner and operator of the Eden Prairie McDonald’s franchise location, said in a statement he was taking the matter seriously.

New York Times

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