Under a banner reading, "Minnesota Ain't Fair," about 100 protesters gathered Sunday at Hamline Park in St. Paul. Half that number then marched to the State Fair, forcing the closing of the fair's Snelling Avenue entrance for a short time.
At the park, speakers included several moms, wives and other family members whose loved ones have been harmed or killed by police; members of the rally's organizing groups spoke about police accountability and the need for clarity and answers from authorities.
Sam Sanchez of the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar said his group and others are proposing an "accountability council" of elected civilians to oversee Minneapolis police. "That's what we need, a complete overhaul," Sanchez said.
Monique Cullars-Doty has been associated with several groups, including Black Lives Matter, since her nephew Marcus Golden was shot by St. Paul police in January 2015. She emceed Sunday's rally, which was organized by the coalition as well as BLM, the Anti-War Committee, the Welfare Rights Committee, New North, Native Lives Matter and others.
About 50 people marched north on Snelling Avenue to the fair, escorted by St. Paul police squad cars with lights flashing. Once at the fair, the group formed a semicircle outside the gates, which were closed for about 15 minutes.
In midafternoon, St. Paul Police urged drivers to and from the State Fair to seek alternate routes, as they temporarily shut down Snelling Avenue in both directions between Larpenteur on the north and Pierce Butler Route south of the Fair. By 3 p.m., the group had returned to the park and roads were open.
Drew Rosielle, a neighbor of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in southwest Minneapolis, who was killed by police in July, rallied the group, saying, "We thought we could trust the police ..." After Damond's death, he said, police started "trying to make a case that if a cop is surprised, they can kill."
"Too many white people like myself have ignored this for too long," he said. "Everyone who's been violated by police, we stand with you."