An apology for riot involvement

To the University, its administrators, faculty, students and supporters: My name is Ahmad Samaha. I am one of the people who participated in the destructive behavior that occurred April 12, the night the men’s hockey team won the NCAA title.

I have written this letter to apologize for my conduct that evening. Like many of you, I attended the championship game and was thrilled that the Gophers won the title again.

Initially, I participated in the street celebration with thousands of other supporters. In a short time, the crowd turned destructive. I participated in that destruction by throwing a burning tree branch into a vehicle that had already been overturned and damaged.

There is no excuse for my conduct. I am ashamed and embarrassed by my actions and the consequences it has caused for the owner of the vehicle, my family and the University community.

I was immediately embarrassed, ashamed and aware that my foolish conduct was wrong and hurtful. Like the victim whose car was destroyed, I am a college student attempting to get an education and contribute to my education and support. The loss of the victim’s car, which I later learned she had taken a loan out to buy, must have been devastating. The wrongness of my actions was in no way lessened by her receipt of a newer vehicle from a generous local car dealership.

I have pleaded guilty to the charges filed against me. There is no question I deserved the consequences I received. The court has also graciously given me an opportunity to get my life back on track. I am using this opportunity to make amends for my actions, including the issuance of this public apology, making restitution for the damage I caused, and by endeavoring to make a positive contribution in our community. I am also keenly aware that my actions and conduct devastated the University community and Minneapolis.

I am saddened and ashamed that my actions have had this impact on the city and on the University that I am proud of and had hoped to one day to attend. My actions also deeply hurt, disappointed and caused embarrassment for my family, friends and college. My actions that evening were not indicative of the person I was raised to be or the manner in which I have lived my life. I hope this apology will be an additional step in the healing process for the victim, my community and my family.

Thank you for your willingness to consider this apology.

Ahmad Samaha is a Savage, Minn., resident. Send comments to [email protected]