Minnesota Man Charged After Son Dumps Deer Carcasses on Somali-Americans' Cars

YMCA St. Cloud
Skinned deer carcasses were dumped on top of two cars at a YMCA in St. Cloud, Minnesota, on November 14. A 62-year-old man was charged with gross misdemeanor for the act. Google Map

A Minnesota man was charged with gross misdemeanor after his 14-year-old son placed deer carcasses on the vehicles of two Somali-Americans earlier in November.

Daniel Dorian Knowlen, 62, was charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Knowlen's 14-year-old son was caught on surveillance video placing skinned carcasses on the hoods of two cars outside a St. Cloud, Minnesota, YMCA on November 14, MPR News reported.

Knowlen allegedly denied being at the YMCA with his son, but admitted to being there with his son once he was told that there was surveillance footage.

A complaint filed in Stearns County District Court on Wednesday revealed that surveillance video showed Knowlen and his son parking at the YMCA and heading inside. When the pair left the YMCA, the teen placed the carcasses on two vehicles next to their truck.

The carcasses were placed on two vehicles owned by Somali-Americans, prompting concerns that the act was racially motivated. One of the owners of the vehicle told police that he feared the deer was a warning that he was not wanted in the community, the Associated Press reported. The two men said they had not experienced harassment or altercation while at the YMCA.

However, Knowlen allegedly told police that his son was "just being funny" but said he "probably could have" stopped his son. Knowlen also reportedly said that he did not know who owned the vehicles and that he and his son were not targeting the drivers.

The complaint said that the boy was asked if he had any explanation for his action but he reportedly said he did not.

Knowlen was not charged with a hate crime. Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the AP that his organization welcomed the charge against Knowlen but was disappointed he was not charged with a hate crime.

"I just think that this was not a simple practical joke. It appears to be something where they…were trying to send some form of intimidation," Jaylani told the AP. "A carcass is not something that is taken lightly. It's a symbol of death, violence."

If convicted, Knowlen faces a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Court records show Knowlen has previously been charged with assault, petty misdemeanor, traffic violations and hunting charges.