ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Traffic disruptions and loud messages aren’t the only things memorable about Saturday’s Black Lives Matter march to the gates of the Minnesota State Fair.
One of the chants heard from protesters is being called “disgusting” by rank and file St. Paul Police officers. Police Federation President Dave Titus says the threatening refrain is divisive, dangerous and won’t lead to improved police relations.
By many accounts, Saturday’s march was a peaceful gathering. Although it was intended to disrupt leisure to deliver the group’s message of justice for those killed at the hands of police.
“We weren’t surprised it was peaceful, but we were glad everything worked out right,” March organizer Rashad Turner said.
But along the way, protesters broke into a pointed refrain that has St. Paul police officers upset.
Marchers chanted in unison, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
What officers and many others find offensive is also protected free speech. But in this particular case what is ironic is that those voicing the chant were also being protected by very officers targeted.
“Statements and chants like that are just ignorant – I find it absolutely disgusting,” Officer Titus said.
Titus called the protester’s chant both dangerous and outrageous. All the more so Titus says, because it came just hours after a Texas deputy was gunned down in cold blood.
“I don’t think chanting or singing what’s basically promoting killing police officers is peaceful,” Titus said.
Black Lives Matter organizer Rashad Turner says there’s a big difference between rhetorical chanting and somebody’s actions.
“It definitely wasn’t a threat. I don’t know if they would have received it differently if we would have said on a stick. We’re there chanting, using our voices,” Turner said.
Sharp rhetoric from opposite sides that doesn’t appear to have stopped with a single march.
“To pick on one chant out of four hours of marching or protest, I don’t have any more comments for them,” Turner said.
“I don’t think any cop cares if there’s an apology – just knock it off,” Titus said.