St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said Wednesday that the Red Bull Crashed Ice races will go on, despite plans by the group Black Lives Matter to hold a nonviolent shutdown at the event.
“Just like the Minnesota State Fair and the Twin Cities Marathon, this event will go on as planned. Our law enforcement in Saint Paul is expert at protecting both demonstrators’ First Amendment rights and the public,” Coleman said in a statement.
He said he told police to “leave all options on the table when it comes to protecting the athletes and spectators coming from across the globe to experience Red Bull Crashed Ice.”
Black Lives Matter St. Paul issued a list of demands earlier this week, saying that if the organization doesn’t get what it is asking for, protesters will shut down the race Feb. 27. Number one on the list was that the city fire Jeffrey Rothecker, a police sergeant who told people on Facebook to run over marchers on Martin Luther King Day.
“We are not surprised that Jeffrey Rothecker is still on paid administrative leave, but we find it detestable that he still holds the title of St. Paul Police Officer and continues to represent this institution,” Black Lives Matter said in a Facebook post with the list.
Coleman said he understands and shares the group’s “outrage and disgust” about the Facebook post. But he cannot take swift action because that would break state and federal employee protection laws, he said.