Black Lives Matter Minnesota is advising black visitors and other people of color to “exercise caution” while visiting St. Paul during Super Bowl LII.
“The St. Paul Police Department is the deadliest department in the state of Minnesota, killing more people annually than any other department in the state,” reads the BLM advisory, the first such advisory issued by the group.
A spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department declined to comment Thursday.
Trahern Crews, a spokesman for Black Lives Matter Minnesota, said the group is not discouraging tourists from visiting St. Paul, but they want greater professional repercussions for officers who use unnecessary force.
Crews also noted incidents of police brutality have been alleged across the metro.
“In St. Paul, a disabled 52-year-old woman was mauled by a police dog while she was taking out the trash,” said Crews, referring to the Sept. 23 incident involving Desiree Collins. “Just be careful when you come to the Twin Cities area, not just St. Paul.”
Thursday’s “travel alert” included a list of eight people of color who had been killed in recent years in officer-involved incidents, such as the deaths of Cordale Handy and Marcus Golden.
The alert also listed eight incidents where St. Paul police officers had used force on people of color, several of which resulted in large civil settlements paid out by the city.
In April, the St. Paul City Council agreed to a $2 million settlement — the city’s largest ever — with Frank Baker, who was bitten by a police canine and kicked in the chest by an officer in June 2016.
Black Lives Matter Minnesota 2 years ago.
The alert comes in advance of a “Take a Knee Nation” rally and protest planned for Sunday afternoon near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the site of the Super Bowl.
Last June, the NAACP issued a similar “travel advisory” for the entire state of Missouri. The alert was prompted by a bill passed through the Missouri Legislature that makes it more difficult for employees to prove their race or gender directly led to unlawful discrimination.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, the city’s first African-American mayor, was elected in November on a platform that included police reform and diversifying the St. Paul Police Department and City Hall.
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