Rashad Turner, lead organizer for Black Lives Matter St. Paul, who has galvanized protests against police conduct in several high-profile cases, called police early Thursday after a man reportedly tried to break into Turner’s St. Paul apartment.
Police on Friday confirmed that Turner called 911 at 4:38 a.m. Thursday to report that a man was “banging on the door” of his apartment and trying to come inside, said Steve Linders, St. Paul police spokesman. When Turner looked through the peephole on the door, he saw what he described to police as a man holding a long object.
Linders said the report states that Turner could not describe the suspect, his clothing or the object he was holding. During the time the man was outside the door, Turner was on the telephone with Senior Commander Paul Iovino, head of the St. Paul Police Western District. As police neared Turner’s address, Iovino told him to shout out “police are here.”
The man was gone when officers arrived at 4:46 a.m., Linders said. Police took pictures of the door, which was damaged.
Turner did not immediately return a call for comment Friday.
But Turner posted on his Facebook page Thursday that a man had come to his apartment with a shotgun and that Turner feared for his life: “After seeing the man and the gun through the peep hole of my apartment door, I stepped away from the door quietly and we called 911. As I tried to gather my composure and figure out a plan to keep my family alive, I have to admit I couldn’t stop thinking that I might be taking my last few breaths of life. I knew that I had to quickly get those thoughts out of my head if I planned on making sure my family would live to see another day.”
Turner wrote that he and his family are safe.
“If they kill me I know that the movement will still go on and you all will continue to fight for Black liberation,” he said.
Turner has led several protests alleging police misconduct in several incidents involving young black men, including police-involved shootings. Earlier this week, Black Lives Matter St. Paul announced plans for a “nonviolent shutdown action” at the Red Bull Crashed Ice event Feb. 27 at the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Mayor Chris Coleman has vowed the event will go on and 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 has issued a list of demands, saying that if the organization doesn’t get what it is asking for, protesters will shut down the race. Topping that list is that the city fire Jeffrey Rothecker, a police sergeant who told people on Facebook to run over marchers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.