Black Lives Matter St. Paul called on the city of Falcon Heights on Friday to end its contract with the St. Anthony police department.
The demand, made at a news conference outside Falcon Heights City Hall, came in the wake of Wednesday night’s shooting of Philando Castile, a St. Paul black man killed by a St. Anthony police officer during a traffic stop.
Falcon Heights contracts with St. Anthony for its police services.
Rashad Turner, lead organizer for the Black Lives Matter St. Paul, accused St. Anthony police of profiling black drivers in Falcon Heights, and that he too had been a victim.
Racial profiling refers to the singling out of people of color by police to be stopped at a higher rate than whites.
Turner announced that Black Lives Matter St. Paul is organizing a demonstration on Saturday in connection with the shooting of Castile, but said details of the protest will not be released until Saturday.
Turner said that a task force was being formed that will include Black Lives Matter to meet with Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom to discuss policing policies, including the demand to end its contract with St. Anthony police.
Lindstrom watched the news conference from the sidelines but declined to respond to the demand that he drop the contract.
Asked whether there was racial profiling in his community, he said an investigation was in the works. “There will be time to answer those questions,” he said. “We need time to let the investigation play out.”
Jeff Martin, president of the St. Paul NAACP, who also appeared at the news conference, said he wanted to see what the evidence shows on the subject of racial profiling in Falcon Heights.
“ I think it will show that they are racially profiling people of color, however I want the investigation to be conducted first,” he said in a short interview.
Martin underscored the need for non-violent protests. Tyrone Terrill, president of the African American Leadership Council, reiterated that position. “We need peace,” Terrill said. “We don’t want crazy stuff.”
Terrill said the shooting of police officers in Dallas was “a tragedy” but the killing of young people by police in the Twin Cities was also tragic, and he hoped the compassion shown for the death of officers would also be shown in the death of blacks here.
Martin disclosed that Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the national NAACP will be flying into the Twin Cities on Sunday.
Martin said Brooks will meet with local and state officials and discuss what the NAACP should be doing in the light of Wednesday night’s shooting.
“He gives us our marching orders,” Martin said.