About 35 people from the Native Lives Matter movement marched toward downtown St. Paul near where the Red Bull Crashed Ice Championship was to be held Saturday evening before dispersing without incident.

The group was protesting the death of Philip Quinn, fatally shot last year by police. Protesters walked to the 7th Street overpass over Interstate 94 amid heavy police presence. When told by officers to disperse, they did so around 6 p.m.

Getting ordered to disperse pic.twitter.com/UHegCFNNco
— Eric Roper (@StribRoper) February 27, 2016

Earlier, at a rally at Indian Mounds Park, the activists held signs and chanted such slogans as “No justice, no peace!” and demands that the officers involved in Quinn’s shooting be fired.

Their actions came one week after a Ramsey County grand jury cleared the two officers involved, ruling that their actions were justified.

Originally, the activists planned to meet up with members of Black Lives Matter St. Paul at the popular winter event. But BLM leaders announced Friday that they would cancel their protest because city and state authorities had met their demands.

Mayor Chris Coleman hailed the resolution of the BLM dispute. Crashed Ice was expected to attract as many as 140,000 visitors. Coleman said a large protest would have “created a volatile situation,” and though he respected the right to free speech, there was a need to protect public safety, so he was grateful the protest was called off.

BLM-St. Paul leader Rashad Turner said, “After several hours of dialogue with Mayor Coleman and other city officials and community leaders, we believe that our demands have been sincerely addressed.”

One of those demands included reviewing the cases in which Sgt. Jeff Rothecker’s investigation contributed to a conviction. Rothecker resigned after community outrage to his Facebook message urging people to run over marchers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

BLM and Native Lives Matter have rallied together in the past, most recently blocking light-rail tracks on University Avenue and briefly shutting down big-box stores in January. NLM has demonstrated in honor of Jamar Clark, Marcus Golden and Quinn, all fatally shot by police.

Quinn died last September in the city’s West End during what his family called a mental health crisis.

The officers, who were responding to a report of a suicidal man cutting himself, say Quinn ignored commands to drop a screwdriver and charged until the officer had his back against a fence and could retreat no further.


(c)2016 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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