The acting chief of Edmonton Police, David Korol, apologized to the city's Somali community Friday for comments made by a homicide detective after the slaying of a 23-year-old man on New Year’s Day.
"We regret the effect that the comments had and I have written a letter to the community leaders expressing these sentiments," Korol said at a news conference with Somali leaders.
Mohamud Jama, a Somali-Canadian, was fatally shot around 3 a.m. on Jan. 1 at the Papyrus Lounge at 111th Street and 107th Avenue.
After the shooting, Bill Clark, a veteran Edmonton homicide detective, expressed frustration that only one witness gave police a description of a suspect even though the club was full of people.
He suggested if the Somali-Canadian community wouldn't help, police would move on to other cases.
Victim's family filed complaints
The comments provoked an angry reaction from community leaders and Jama’s widow, Farhiya Warsame. Warsame and Jama’s mother, Amina Osman, filed complaints about Clark with the Alberta Human Rights Commission and Edmonton Police.
Police and Somali community leaders presented a united front at Friday’s news conference.
Hassan Ali, president of the Somali-Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton, accepted the apology and thanked Korol and other police leaders for discussing the issue with the community.
"We all have the same objective to solving the crime," Ali said, adding leaders will urge community members to come forward with information.
While Korol assured the community police are taking the case seriously, they have received no new tips to help them solve the crime, since witnesses are not sharing information.
"We recognize that it takes courage to speak out about the crime and any crime," Korol said. "Somebody out there knows what happened and who committed this crime."
A poster asking for information on Jama’s slaying and the slayings of other young Somali-Canadian men will be posted throughout the Somali and other African communities in Edmonton, police said.