EDMONTON — Tensions are continuing between Edmonton police and the city’s Somali community over a detective’s comments about the New Year’s Day killing of a Somali man.
The wife of homicide victim Mohamud Jama, 23, says she is offended by statements made by Det. Bill Clark and wants an apology and for Clark to be removed from the case. Farhiya Warsame has filed formal complaints with the Edmonton Police Service and the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
The day after the killing, Clark went public with his frustration over the reluctance of witnesses to come forward with a description of a suspect who shot Jama inside a downtown restaurant. Clark suggested the police would be better off spending its resources on other cases where witnesses were co-operating.
Leaders in Edmonton’s African-Canadian community denounced Clark’s comments at the time, saying they unfairly maligned the entire Somali community.
“When we hear people in the Somali community and these ethnic communities complaining about city administration, it frustrates us,” Clark said at the time.
“To me, our unit should be looking at this and going, ‘OK, they don’t want to co-operate, let’s shut this one down. Move on to the ones where the people want to co-operate.’ ”
“His remarks were uncalled for and, in my opinion, racist,” Warsame, who is five months pregnant, said Thursday.
“My biggest fear is my husband’s case being forgotten and never being solved.” Clark declined to comment Thursday, but Sgt. Tony Simioni of the Edmonton Police Association came to his defence.
“Were they racist? Not at all,” Simioni said of Clark’s statements.
“He was trying to get information to solve a homicide and that has to take priority over any other political consideration.” No arrests have been made in the case.