MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Both Minneapolis and St. Paul police union presidents are responding after they say teachers participated in a protest that showed “blatant disrespect for law enforcement” in Minneapolis Tuesday.
According to the unions, teachers from across the nation gathered at the Minneapolis Convention Center to attend the biennial American Federation of Teachers conference.
Afterwards, hundreds of teachers then joined activists, including Black Lives Matter members, in a Philando Castile protest march. Twenty-one protesters were arrested for blocking an intersection after being asked to leave.
On Wednesday, Saint Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus and Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll released a statement condemning the teachers’ involvement.
“As parents and as union members we were appalled to learn that members of the American Teachers Federation, Minneapolis and St. Paul Federation of Teachers choose to protest against their union brothers and sisters, men and women who put the safety of others before their own each and every day, many who help keep students and teachers safe in classrooms.
The one-sided message of blatant disrespect for law enforcement these educators are sending our young people is horrifying and will only exacerbate distrust and fear. Not to mention, these actions will adversely affect the children of law enforcement professionals who could be subject to scorn, ridicule and bullying by those expected to teach and care for them in their schools.
Over the past few years, far too many people have been far too quick to judge police officers’ actions before all the facts are known. This flagrant disregard for due process has sown the seeds of discontent which has resulted in the executions of numerous officers and caused injuries to dozens more including here in the Twin Cities in just the past few weeks. In all those instances, from Ferguson to Baltimore, New York to Minneapolis, prosecutors, investigators and juries have found officers’ actions, however tragic, to be justified and within the scope of the law.
Educators should demonstrate more common sense than rushing to judgment along with radical activists hell-bent on destabilizing our communities. Teachers are in a better position than most to understand the critical importance of forging constructive and meaningful conversations that can provide positive pathways forward. The future stability of our communities will be secured by building relationships and increasing trust. As the union leaders of State’s largest police departments, we stand at the ready to begin just such a dialogue, particularly with our union brothers and sisters.”