Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar shared an emotional story with a group of 400 high school students at Richfield High School in Minneapolis.
The story featured a “sweet, old, African American lady” getting arrested for stealing a $2 loaf of bread so that she could give it to her starving 5-year-old granddaughter.
Omar recounted the story as something she learned during her time serving as a Minneapolis city councilwoman and claimed to have even gone into the courtroom on the day the woman heard her sentence.
But, as the Washington Examiner reports, Omar now admits she may have forgotten some details of the story and decided to fill those gaps with embellishments.
From the Washington Examiner:
Omar said she attended the courtroom when the woman was brought in, and yelled, “Bulls—!” when the woman was fined $80 she couldn’t pay.
After the congresswoman’s speech, for which she was 30 minutes late and cost the students their lunch period, the Washington Post investigated the claim.
“I’m not sure. … The details might not have all matched, but that’s what I remember,” the Minnesota Democrat said in an interview. “She might have had a prior [arrest].”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
City officials debunked the arrest, saying law enforcement isn’t allowed to arrest shoplifters unless it’s violent or there’s likely further crime.
The typical punishment for shoplifting is a three-hour class.
“I grew up in an extremely unjust society,” the former Somali resident said in her speech, “and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all. So I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”