“Over the last several months, Black Lives Matter has conducted numerous demonstrations in the City of Saint Paul designed to disrupt traffic, deter people from getting to the State Fair and shut down the Green Line. While these events have likely inconvenienced some people, the protests have not led to any significant issues, no serious injuries and no arrests. The Saint Paul Police Department has done an exceptional job of balancing the rights of protesters to be heard and the public to be safe.
“Now leaders of Black Lives Matter in Saint Paul have stated their intent to ‘shut down the Twin Cities Marathon.’ While we are no less committed to the right to peacefully protest, these threatened actions pose an unacceptable risk to runners, spectators and protesters themselves. To paraphrase an old adage, the right of anyone to protest ends at another's nose, or, in this case, someone else's feet. Therefore, I have asked Chief Smith to keep all options on the table to prevent disruption of the race or prevent runners from finishing the marathon.
“I have also reached out to Saint Paul leaders of Black Lives Matter and hope to meet with them prior to Sunday. It is my desire to understand more fully what specific steps they are asking the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Police Department to take to address their concerns. Recent incidents cited by the group’s leadership are currently under review. I am confident Chief Smith will address these matters appropriately. And I also believe it is important for leaders of Black Lives Matter to understand the extraordinary efforts Chief Smith and the department have taken to address issues of racial equity.
“Saint Paul has a long history of resolving disputes peacefully and successfully, including a long history of working directly with community leaders to take corrective action in City and police practices. We remain committed to doing so.”