The controversial movement Black Lives Matter is planning a “Shut Down Action” along the light rail line near TCF Bank Stadium Sunday.
The St. Paul-based group, which is part of the national Black Lives Matter movement, has staged similar protests before. Last month, the group attempted to shut down the Minnesota State Fair, despite the inconvenient fact fairgoers, those the most inconvenienced by the protest, had nothing to do with their movement, favorably or negatively. They just wanted deep fried food.
Now it will be the Vikings fans that will subject to the movement. The group announced on Facebook that it will attempt to interrupt light rail service at a protest that will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the train station at Lexington Parkway and University Avenue.
The purpose of the protest is to provide a public show of support and shining a light on the case of 17-year-old Marcus Abrams, who was arrested by Metro Transit officers Aug. 31 at the Lexington Parkway station.
According to transit authority, Abrams, who has been diagnosed as autistic, was standing on the tracks when officers approached him ordering him off the tracks. Because he was wearing headphones he didn’t hear the officers and when he reacted to being grabbed, the officers thought he was resisting arrest and forcibly took him to the ground.
On Facebook, the group said the intent is a “disciplined, peaceful protest against this injustice and all police excessive force. As a community, we all know that autism is not a crime.”
The group chose Sunday for its latest protest because the home opener for the Vikings is a “big money day, so what better way to shut the light rail down and disrupt business as usual.”
For Vikings fans expecting to take light rail to the game, which effectively drops fans off at the front door of The Interim Bank, they may want to make alternate plans.
The Black Lives Matter movement began following the George Zimmerman acquittal in the Florida murder case of Travon Martin and gained national attention following the violence that erupted in Ferguson, Mo., following a police shooting of an unarmed man. In both those cases, there were killings involved. The recent protest actions don’t share that root basis. The State Fair protest centered on the lack of minority vendors. Sunday’s planned protest is about police taking a person to the ground when he failed to obey orders.
It is unclear what sort of police presence there will be Sunday. Metro Transit said in a statement that it has dealt with protests in the past and is prepared to take the action needed to assure that the light rail keeps running and gets fans to the game.
Nobody likes the idea of the potential for violence at such events because, when a casting call is sent out for protesters, you never know what you’re going to get. For those fans attending Sunday’s Vikings-Lions game, they may find out – for better or worse – how the protest is going to play out, but it would appear the Vikings are becoming a political pawn in the activist community simply because of their high profile, which isn’t always the best way to make a point.
1,500 commemorative Vikings stocking caps were ordered for construction workers in honor of the “topping out” ceremony this week at U.S. Bank Stadium that took place earlier this week. However, there was a little problem. Minnesota only had one “n” in it, so the workers are now proud owners of Minesota Vikings tuques.