Minnesota prosecutors filed terrorism charges against a man on Monday, but his identity was surprising given the racial bias involved in the alleged crimes.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged 55-year-old Lloyd Edward Johnson, a white man from a Minneapolis suburb, with making felony terroristic threats and carrying a gun without a permit. Johnson was accused of waving a gun at a group of Somali-American teenagers at a McDonald’s in Eden Prairie on Nov. 19.
“Mr. Johnson did everything he could to provoke this incident, by insulting the young lady in front of him, to confronting a second person and finally pulling a gun after he already had moved away from the confrontation. While he is innocent until proven guilty, this is outrageous behavior and it is only through sheer luck that no one was injured by his actions,” Freeman said in a statement.
The state’s large Somali Muslim community has been the focus of multiple terrorism investigations. In 2016, a jury found three men guilty of federal charges that they tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. At the same time, the community has been the target of terror attacks, many of which have gone unreported to federal authorities.
Johnson initiated a confrontation while standing in line behind the teenagers at the restaurant, Freeman said.
Two of the girls had trouble paying for their meal through a digital app.
“You were probably trying to pay with EBT,” Johnson said, referring to the electronic benefit transfer card used by low-income people to access their federal benefits.
After walking away, Johnson returned seconds later to video record the argument with his cell phone. “He then told everyone to back up and pulled his handgun from his waistband before walking out the door,” according to the prosecutor.