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Police: Man throws pig’s foot at Somali man in Willmar

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling for hate crime charges for a man accused of throwing a pig’s foot at a Somali man in Willmar.

Willmar police say the incident happened at a local farmer’s market on Saturday at about 11 a.m. They say a 61-year-old man approached a booth run by a local Somali man and reportedly threw a pig’s foot on the table and swore at the man.

Police say the man left, but several witnesses were able to provide photos of him. Willmar police were able to identify him and issued a citation for disorderly conduct, which requires a court appearance.

Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, but if an officer does not witness it, it is not an arrestable offense, according to Willmar police.

CAIR responded to the incident in a press release on Tuesday, asking that hate crime charges be brought against the man. They claim he shouted anti-Muslim slurs before throwing the pig’s foot at a group of Muslims.

Because Muslims are prohibited from consuming pork products, CAIR said pig’s feet are often used to offend.

“If you curse a person’s faith and then throw an object clearly designed to offend and intimidate, you should be charged with a hate crime,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Amir Malik in the press release.

The case has been forwarded to the courts and a court date is pending, according to police.

According to CAIR’s press release, the organization has seen a spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the Nov. 8 election. The number of hate crimes tracked by CAIR in the first half of 2017 spiked 91 percent compared to the same period in 2016, according to the organization.

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