The president of the Minneapolis City Council and two county commissioners recently chastised Council Member Alondra Cano for defying City Hall security guards during an after-hours oil pipeline gathering this fall.

Cano released a stern letter she received from the three officials, dated Dec. 30, as well as security footage on her Facebook page on Tuesday. The letter was signed by Council President Barb Johnson and Hennepin County Commissioners Jan Callison and Peter McLaughlin, who serve on the board of the joint agency that oversees City Hall.

“[Building] staff observed you encouraging demonstrators to remain in the building, physically touching security staff, opening locked exterior doors from within so others could gain entry, providing food to them and interfering with building staff’s directions,” the letter said.

Cano said she released the letter and footage after learning it had been requested by a local television station.

The first-term council member represents the central Lake Street area and has become a polarizing figure at City Hall for her activism-infused style, which has leaned heavily on rallies and online campaigns.

The security spat occurred Oct. 28 following news that Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek deployed deputies to North Dakota to assist officials there with the Dakota Access pipeline protest. It spurred a large demonstration at City Hall, followed by what an activist media site called a “sit-in in front of Stanek’s office … until 10:15 p.m.”

The security video shows security personnel guarding City Hall doors as people mill about outside. About 8 p.m., Cano opens the door to let a man in, prompting a guard to restrain him. Cano intervened, yelling to the guards that “he’s part of my public meeting.” Later, Cano is confronted by the guards while trying to bring pizza into the building.

“This is a public building,” Cano said in an interview. “I have access to the building at all hours. And so I was there to essentially support the community members in having this conversation that they wanted to have with Stanek.”

City Hall is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and there are procedures for hosting after-hours meetings. The letter said they were not followed.

Callison, president of the Municipal Building Commission that operates the building, said it is the first such letter the commission has sent during her three-year tenure on the board.

 

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