Sports

Minneapolis Cops Walk Out of Lynx Game Because Players Wore 'Black Lives Matter' Shirts

Minnesota cops walked out on a Lynx game they were supposed to be providing security for because the players wore 'Black Lives Matter' shirts.
July 12, 2016, 3:21pm

"This is a human issue & we need to speak up for change, together." -Maya pic.twitter.com/tyfl65Ag81
— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) July 9, 2016

Prior to last Saturday's game against the Dallas Wings, Minnesota Lynx players, including Rebekkah Brunson and Maya Moore, spoke out about the recent killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castilo in Minnesota by police officers and generally denounced racial profiling. They also wore the shirts above during pre-game warm ups. The front of the shirts read "Change Starts With Us" with "Justice and Accountability" written below. On the back were Sterling's and Castilo's names, a Dallas PD emblem—honoring the police officers killed by Micah Johnson—and "Black Lives Matter." Because of this, four unnamed Minnesota police officers working security at the game walked out.

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Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised them for quitting. "I commend them for it," he said.

Officers voluntarily sign up for security at Lynx games so no one is forcing them to be there, and there is other private security, but this is incredibly petty. Even more petty than shirking an assignment you willfully accepted because the team wore completely inoffensive shirts is what Kroll later said about the staffing:

Asked about a report that seven or eight officers had walked off the job, Kroll said, "They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw."

The reason Black Lives Matter is a thing is because there is not only a disconnect between the police and the communities they swear to protect but a legitimate feeling in the black community that their lives are not valued equally and, as we have seen over and over again, wholly disregarded. No one should have to say their life matters, and yet here we are with a nationwide movement premised on just that. That is proof positive that the movement is valid, just as Lt. Kroll's blatantly antagonistic quotes are proof positive that some police officers simply don't get it because they don't want to get it and they've never had to get it before.

So, cops are now defensive that people are upset that other cops have been murdering citizens out of race-based fear and they think there is a war against the police. But if that were the case, the slogan would be "Police Lives Don't Matter"—and no one is saying that. People are saying that their own lives and the lives of their community matter—an affirmation that is still necessary in the face of continued examples of police brutality and racial profiling, and a climate that enables such behavior.

If officers like Lt. Kroll were really concerned with dispelling "false narratives" like he says, they would engage the thoughtful protests like those made by the Lynx instead of walking off in a huff and then taking cheap shots at them on the way out.

[Star Tribune]