Activists could crash St. Paul skating event

Red Bull said its Crashed Ice event, slated for late February, will continue as planned.

by Taya Banjac

Unless local and state public officials abide by a list of seven demands, Black Lives Matter St. Paul — a chapter not officially affiliated with the national movement — threatened it will protest and shut down the city’s upcoming speed skating competition.
The organization released a statement Monday on Facebook requesting action from officials like St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Gov. Mark Dayton to investigate and fire St. Paul Police Sgt. Jeff Rothecker, as well as including people of color in police oversight, among other demands. 
Black Lives Matter St. Paul will lead a protest at Red Bull’s Crashed Ice competition at the Cathedral of St. Paul Feb. 27 if their requests aren’t fulfilled, according to the release.
Rothecker is on leave after he advised citizens over Facebook to run over Black Lives Matter protesters without fear of prosecution, the release said.
But Black Lives Matter St. Paul is calling on the city’s police department to revoke his license and pension, as well as investigate any of Rothecker’s actions that ended in a conviction.
The group also addressed St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and requested they file criminal charges for disorderly conduct and terroristic threats against Rothecker.
“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 Officer and continues to represent this institution,” the Facebook post said.
Other demands included the removal of a progressive discipline policy and the reopening of the case on Marcus Golden, who was shot and killed by a St. Paul police last year.
Red Bull Crashed Ice said the event will continue as planned over Facebook post replies, though some said they might not attend.
The St. Paul police will also attend, spokesman Steve Linders said.
“We always have a strong presence at community events, and our priority is to keep people safe,” he said.
University of Minnesota public health master’s student Aria Weatherspoon said while protests can garner attention, she thinks it’s irresponsible to demonstrate at large, family-oriented events like Crashed Ice.
Dayton said at a press conference Tuesday that he respects the First Amendment right to assembly.