Watch CBS News

Woman Pleads Guilty To Attacking Muslim Not Speaking English

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Ramsey woman plead guilty Monday to attacking another woman in a restaurant because she was speaking Swahili.

The assault happened at a Coon Rapids restaurant last year.

Forty-four-year-old Jodie Burchard-Risch got upset when she heard Asma Mohamed Jama and her relatives speaking in their native language.

"Seeing her made me a little bit nervous. That's normal I guess for every victim when you see the person that hit you," said Jama.

Jama says seeing Jodie Burchard-Risch face to face was not easy but worth it.

"At least she admitted to what she did and she admitted to being biased. Although she didn't use the word hate crime, she agreed to what she did was based on how different I am from her," Jama said.

Jama says her speaking Swahili at the Coon Rapids Applebee's with a cousin and her children set Burchard-Risch off.

Court documents say Jama was abused verbally for not speaking English.

Restaurant staff tried to intervene but Burchard-Risch took a large beer mug and hit Jama across the face.

It took 17 stitches to close her wounds.

"I cannot condone what she did at all, it's disgusting," Dawn Sahr said.

Sahr is Burchard-Risch's sister.

"I'm just thankful my parents aren't alive to see what she's done to her life. Maybe this is what she needs to wake up and realize that you cannot treat other human beings like this," said Sahr.

She came to court today to see her sister plea to felony third degree assault and offer support to Jama.

Sahr says her entire family is sorry for the pain and suffering Jama has had to endure.

"I am so much better than I was seven months ago and I am happy with where I am today," Jama said.

Jama says she hopes no one ever has to experience what she did.

"My intention was to bring it to light that this is what's going on and if we don't stop it as Minnesotans or Americans it's going to continue happening," Jama said.

Under the plea deal, Burchard-Risch will face 180 days in jail and five years of probation.

If she violates probation she could spend three years in prison.

Burchard-Risch will be sentenced in December.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.