How would we tell the events that led to the death of an eighteen-year-old Somali Finn youth last Sunday at the Kannelmäki railway station?
According to one account, supposedly the victim’s witness that experienced the whole horrific event, which has shocked many, especially Somalis and other black people.
According to one account, the victim and his friend walked down the stairs when they encountered the two suspects. The witness says that they weren’t acquaintances.
Something was said to the two that walked down the stairs. The witness didn’t answer back, but the suspect did. The stabbing happened so rapidly that the witness though the victim was joking when he said he was stabbed.
The blood gave away the gravity of the situation and the witness called 112.
The witness believed that the two young men were drunk. Even so, being drunk or having a criminal record does not absolve you from committing a hate crime.
Was it a hate crime? Do the suspects belong to a hate group like the Skinheads? These are some of the questions debated on social media forums right after the death of the victim.
Apart from investigating the crime like seeking the testimony of other witnesses, the police have also at their disposal CCTV cameras.
One of the questions that some Somalis and other black people are asking is if what happened was a hate crime, or that the attack and death of the Somali Finn youth were due to his ethnic background.
While such questions need to be thoroughly investigated by the police, some white Finns may not consider them to be necessary even if the opposite is true of some visible minorities and migrants. Why? Because many of them face racist harassment and microaggressions daily.
Many feel that they live in a racist society and have the psychological, some even physical wounds, to prove it. Too many believe that the police and society aren’t serious about tackling a social ill like racism.
What about if the crime at Kannelmäki were committed by two blacks and the victim was a white Finn? We have seen a lot of social media lynch mobs during the years, especially when sexual assault cases come to public light, as was the case recently in Oulu.
If one remembers what happened in Oulu, the police, the media, and politicians – all-white – were fueling the fires of suspicion and labeling the whole Muslim community in the process.
Since we strive to live in a society that solves problems, one matter that the police should show now is leadership by contacting the Somali community and hold a meeting to calm down fears. Present at such a meeting should be representatives of Victim Support (Riku), the police hate crime unit, sociologists, NGOs, and others.
The usual answer, “this was not a hate crime” with no further explanation will not do. It is not enough and will only increase suspicion of the police’s credibility in resolving such crimes.
One Somali Finn put it in the following words: “Is the police going to sweep the issue of racism under the rug? Are they going to conclude that the suspects had mental issues? Were they [the suspects] under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are they hardened criminals? Or did they grow up in broken homes?”
Distrust of the police shows that such a public service still has a way to go before winning the trust of Finland’s culturally diverse communities.
The death of the Somali youth could be a good place to start.