As one rally wrapped up Saturday night in support of police, another group prepared to protest alleged police brutality Sunday morning.
The St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter plans to shut down a Green Line light rail stop, just as Vikings fans are starting to board Sunday morning. The Lexington Avenue station in St. Paul is where the group claims Metro Transit officers used excessive force against a teenager who has autism.
People at the pro-police rally on the state capitol grounds told WCCO protests like the ones organized by Black Lives Matter hurt the entire police community and their families. Nearly 50 people met at the Peace officers Memorial near the capitol to show support for law enforcement.
Police wife Jessica Knutson helped organize the rally through her nonprofit Backing the Blue Line. Knutson’s husband has been a Blaine police officer for 8 years.
“We are waiting for the garage door to open and praying every night he comes home safe to us,” Knutson said.
Knutson said protests by groups like Black Lives Matter amount to a war on police…
“Most officers really do care about everybody, all lives matter, people need to educate themselves on the truth,” Knutson said.
Black Lives Matter organizer Rashad Turner says the group’s message isn’t anti-police; it’s anti police brutality against African Americans.
Turner said 17-year-old Marcus Abrams was badly hurt during his arrest at the Lexington Ave. light rail stop in August.
Metro Transit police records show Abrams was arrested for standing on the light rail tracks and trespassing. Metro Transit officer stated in police records that Abrams was refusing to cooperate and tried to kick and punch officers. But Abrams’ mother said he could not cooperate with police because he has Autism.
Turner said Sunday’s protest is for Abrams and his family to feel the community’s support.
“It’s really about putting this pressure on them, making them step up to the plate and admit they’re wrong,” Turner said.
Turner said all the group’s protests aim to disrupt peoples’ everyday activities; he said that is the only way for people to pay attention to police brutality.
Knutson said she understands frustration with law enforcement exists, but she hopes people won’t neglect to notice the sacrifices made by police officers and their families each day…
Metro Transit Police records show Abrams apparently became semiconscious during his arrest and had to be taken to the ER. Metro Transit said the officers involved are still working while an internal investigation into the incident continues.
Metro Transit said for people plan ahead Sunday morning around 9:30 because the protest may delay travel time on the Green Line. They said the main focus will be safety and wouldn’t comment on if anyone will be arrested for blocking the light rail’s path.