By Mike Carroll | North Augusta, South Carolina

The Jamestown Sun printed an article on Jan. 17, 2020, written by Mikkel Pates, titled, "ND AG issues cease-and-desist on widespread 'Irish Traveller' construction scams.” The journalist uses ethnicity not only to convict the accused but also to endorse discrimination and racism. The accused are Irish American Travellers and originated from White Settlement, Texas. This rebuttal is not in support of the accused or the wrongs they may or may not have done. However, I do object to the state of North Dakota's decision to employ racism in its effort to prove guilt. Is it also acceptable to the people of North Dakota for their state law enforcement representatives to exercise bigotry and intolerance against a defendant solely based on ethnicity? Racism is repulsive and an act against humanity. How can anyone condone the use of such ugliness, its only intent is to encourage condemnation of an ethnic minority.

Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota attorney general, in his attempt to establish guilt, indicts not the individual but all Irish American Travellers irrespective of age or gender. Matt Hiatt of the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Aron Matties, a McLean County detective, openly and unashamedly used racial slurs in blatant defiance of the accused civil rights. Racialism willfully printed on the pages of newspapers and magazines to disparage a minority, pushing them to the fringes of society.

In the affidavit presented to the court, these state law enforcement officers referred to our ethnic minority as a “long-standing organized crime group" and "White Gypsies." This state-sanctioned racism is reminiscent of the Nazi Party and the prosecution of the Jews. Slave, Savage, snowflake are slurs deliberately used throughout history to disparage Africans, Native Americans and Jews. Is it acceptable to the people of North Dakota for law enforcement officers to incorporate allegations regarding innocent girls “coming of age at their first holy communion party, at age 7 or 8” in a court affidavit? Is it the intent of these officials to insinuate sexual maturity, to turn one of the holiest occasions of the Roman Catholic religion into something unholy and vile?

I urge these state officials and members of the media to refrain from rhetoric that promotes the expulsion of ethnic minorities and jeopardizes the economic prosperity and safety of innocent people. I encourage the people of North Dakota to read my book titled "Irish Travellers: An Undocumented Journey Through History" available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and many other booksellers. I would welcome the opportunity to debate these state officials at a public forum.