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Black Lives Matter chant draws criticism

MinnPost photo by Kristoffer Tigue
Marchers making their way from Hamline Park to the fairgrounds on Saturday.

The cops are not amused. Says Nicole Norfleet in the Strib, “The president of the St. Paul police union has sharply criticized some protesters at Saturday’s Black Lives Matter march to the Minnesota State Fair for what he calls a ‘disgusting’ chant promoting violence against officers. … A short video posted on Twitter shows that at one point in the march, at least several protesters were at the front carrying a banner and shouting, ‘Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!’ as the camera pans to show police on bikes, squad cars and a utility vehicle.”

The Strib calls it “insensitive”: “The clear lowlight of the march came when some protesters chanted that ‘pigs in a blanket’ should ‘fry like bacon.’ That kind of senseless rhetoric has no place in any protest, but especially one in which police did an exemplary job protecting both protesters and onlookers. It was especially insensitive just days after suburban Houston police officer Darren Goforth was shot and killed while filling his gas tank in what Sheriff Ron Hickman said was a ‘clearly unprovoked’ attack. ‘Our assumption is that [Goforth] was a target because he wore a uniform,’ the sheriff said. It’s dismaying that Black Lives Matter St. Paul lead organizer Rashad Turner didn’t condemn the chant when it became a national news story Monday, and instead told the Star Tribune that it was not meant to threaten officers. ‘It was a chant,’ he said.”

If you use em you pay for ‘em. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “The city of St. Paul is claiming victory in a long-standing legal dispute with two downtown churches over routine street assessments. The decision issued Monday by the Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds St. Paul’s right to treat downtown churches like businesses when it charges annual right-of-way street maintenance fees. ‘I would say this is a win for the city, and hopefully, this does bring an end to what has been years of litigation over this issue,’ St. Paul City Attorney Samuel Clark said. An attorney for the churches has promised to continue to press their case in court.”

And it’s not even September. Jaime DeLage of the PiPress reports, “A motorcyclist died Monday morning after driving into a barricaded construction zone in Lakeville. The rider, 57-year-old Wayne Robert Dewolf, struck a parked piece of paving equipment about 5 a.m. at the intersection of 217th Street and Dodd Boulevard, according to Lakeville police. Dewolf, whose hometown wasn’t listed by police, died at the scene. Investigators determined that he had driven around ‘road closed’ barricades onto a portion of Dodd Boulevard that was under construction. He was not wearing a helmet, according to police. … The number of people killed in motorcycle crashes this year in Minnesota already has exceeded the number killed in all of 2014, according to the Department of Public Safety.”

Fair stuff you actually wanted to know. At WCCO-TV Zac Farber reports, “Each year the five animal barns at the Minnesota State Fair serve as temporary lodging for about 15,000 cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, rabbits and other livestock. There is a lot of manure. State officials estimate more than 250 tons of manure accumulate over the 12 days of the fair — the excremental equivalent of five sperm whales.” Insert political campaigning joke here.

Attendance? The Andy Rathbun of PiPress tells us, “It’s been a big start for the Minnesota State Fair. While no records have been broken, 592,919 people passed through the gates from opening day on Thursday through Sunday. That’s the busiest start for the Fair since 2010, when 593,288 attended over the first four days.”

The latest from the outrage machine. Writes Rob Port, “[Mark] Dayton, a Democrat, had some sharp words for the approach to climate policy taken by his state’s Republican-led neighbor to the west.’These other states like North Dakota … just have their heads in the sand and want to profit and then pollute our air accordingly,’ Dayton said during an interview with Minnesota Public Radio while praising his state for meeting climate goals. He reportedly used the term ‘Neanderthal’ to describe North Dakota’s policies. Dayton’s comments aren’t terribly surprising. The progressive view of what was once called global warming — now called ‘climate change,’ given the globe’s stubborn refusal to warm all that much — has become more an ideology, perhaps even a theology, than a rational and scientific point of view.” Apparently science is optional in Watchdog-land.

Crop check. The AP tells us, “Minnesota’s corn and soybean crops are developing ahead of last year’s pace. According to the USDA’s weekly crop report Monday, 65 percent of Minnesota’s corn acreage was in or beyond dent stage. That’s 10 days ahead of last year and six days ahead of the five-year average. Corn condition was rated 88 percent good to excellent. Soybeans also are outpacing last year.”

Not that that is good news for bees. MPR’s Dan Gunderson says, “Corn and soybeans may be good for cattle and humans — but not bees. The insects prefer plants with lots of pollen and nectar, and in this part of the country it’s become increasingly difficult for them to find what they need to stay healthy. Good times in agriculture have led farmers to roll land out of conservation programs and into crops. It’s a shifting landscape that can be seen across eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, and bees are paying the price.”

There goes the last reason to visit downtown. Says Eric Roper of the Strib, “The likelihood that a professional soccer stadium will land in St. Paul instead of Minneapolis seemed to grow Monday with the expiration of a deal securing land near downtown Minneapolis. A development entity associated with Minnesota United FC had secured the exclusive right to purchase industrial property near the city’s Farmers Market for a $150 million stadium. But time ran out on that deal Monday, and there was no sign it was extended.”

Invasive species watch. The West Central Tribune reports, “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the first confirmed case of the aquatic invasive species starry stonewort in Minnesota in Lake Koronis near Paynesville. It was also confirmed in Mud Lake, which is connected to Lake Koronis, according to a news release from the DNR. Starry stonewort was first discovered in the U.S. in the St. Lawrence River in 1978. It was first confirmed in Wisconsin in 2014.” That sounds like something out of Harry Potter.

He concedes he’s guilty. MPR reports, “Patrick Henry Kelly pleaded guilty Monday to charges of felony stalking and making terroristic threats after he violated restraining orders to keep away from Twin Cities radio host Mary Lucia. … Prosecutors say he left a bottle of wine, candle and note on her front step and a plastic bag with a note in it at her back door, though he said he dropped it over her back fence and denied going into the yard. Kelly, of Minneapolis, also said he left flowers and letters other times in August.”

Walker (waning) Watch: In his hometown paper, Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel chronicles reaction to the rapidly evaporating Tea Party darling’s proposal to wall us off from Canada. “Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin called Walker’s suggestion ‘plain goofy since immigrants are not exactly streaming in from Canada’. And Canada’s minister for national defense and multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, told BBC that his country would ‘vigorously oppose any thickening of the border’ and that a relatively open border was essential to trade. … The latest weakness for Walker appeared last week in a poll by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg in Iowa, where Walker was at 8 percent behind Trump (23 percent) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (18 percent). Walker once was seen as a likely winner of the Iowa caucus, the first presidential nominating contest in the country.”

Comments (16)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/01/2015 - 08:08 am.

    The Black Lives Matter….

    protesters need to get better advice. Their “Pigs in a Blanket” chant is not only disrespectful but is a potential endangerment to the lives of the very officers trying to protect them. How do they expect police officers to patrol the inner city if the very people they are committed to serve are spouting this filth. There have been 23 deaths of law enforcement officers this year many at the hands of violent African American males. This is just more fuel for the fire.

    • Submitted by Joe Schweigert on 09/01/2015 - 03:14 pm.

      Remember a clip is not truth…

      This weird chant was taken completely out of context from what was happening at the time. It was a joke chant in response to a patronizing comment from officers leading the march – from comments I’ve heard from people there, the officers laughed it off. To hear it spun in the media as a direct threat to people in uniform is completely out of line. Unfortunately, this type of spin generates a lot of clicks online – the main driver of our media these days. Please remember that these moments are not indicative of a whole event or a groups position. The protest was peaceful and respectful.

  2. Submitted by Michael Hess on 09/01/2015 - 08:29 am.

    Not Amused

    A much wider swath than Cops are “not amused” by the BLM rally chant. The organizers should have disowned that inflammatory rhetoric instead of telling people to ignore it. We see how unsuccessful BLM is at ignoring rhetoric they disagree with.

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/01/2015 - 09:11 am.

    In addition,

    thanks for reporting this. I didn’t expect to see this reported as the local media outlets handles this radical organization with kid gloves.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 09/01/2015 - 10:00 am.

      It’s not a radical organization.

      It’s a coalescing of people trying to act quickly because the reality is urgent, energy is at hand and, in this day and age, it is a great challenge to achieve critical mass before the media etc lose interest. The result is that the group is acting well ahead of organizational coherence, internally articulated goals and strategy, methods to coordinate tactics, messages and behavioral norms, and so forth. Not unlike Occupy. It’s hard to get and maintain traction when your goals require disturbing the status quo of those in power. It doesn’t take much more than the chant in question to discredit a group like BLM in this posture. The chant should be condemned but the critique that BLM offers and the demands it makes still should be examined and credited on their merits.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 09/01/2015 - 11:42 am.

        It is…

        a radical organization. Anything they do not agree with they shout it down or ignore it. Their silence on Vester Flanagan and Shannon Miles is deafening.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 09/02/2015 - 02:05 pm.


        I’m not sure it could be called anything other than a radical organization when they oppose a system of selecting vendors at the fair that ignores skin color and is as fair and impartial as it gets. I think the chants could also be considered radical as well.

  4. Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 09/01/2015 - 09:46 am.

    The chant is a diversion

    I was at the march and never heard that chant or anything like it. If it happened as reported, it was minor and uncharacteristic of the mood of the participants as a whole. The fact that this is being latched onto as the salient fact of what was otherwise a serious demonstration dismays me, though perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Far more disturbing was the vile and insulting shouts from a small number of white bystanders along the route and inside the fairgrounds that were, in at least one instance within my hearing, reinforced by the police present. Where are the news stories on that kind of inappropriate conduct?

    While I have held private reservations about some aspects of BLM, the unveiling of the virulent racism in this community in the Star-Tribune comments and elsewhere in response to its activities has provided a service to our community.

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 09/01/2015 - 10:29 am.

      On comments

      The Star-Tribune used to have a good comments section back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now they make YouTube’s comments look good in comparison.

  5. Submitted by Jim Camery on 09/01/2015 - 10:51 am.

    Don’t read too much into a few hot heads.

    I’ve been part of protests since the abortion wars of the 80s and Honeywell protests of the 90s through the Walker recalls just recently. One truism through them all is that the media and detractors think that the protesters are some sort of cohesive, trained crowd with strict instructions to stay on message and never say this word or that word. Fact is, the point person is usually busy getting water into the wagon and has no control over individuals. There’s no parade marshalls with the power to throw someone out of the protest. An issue like BLM is bound to have some hot heads (and some publicity hounds), and this sort of (bad) stuff is inevitable.

    • Submitted by Michael Hess on 09/01/2015 - 11:18 am.

      yes but…

      all the organizers had to say was “we agree that chant was inappropriate” and the issue would have faded away as just some hot heads as you say. Instead they basically validated it, said it wasn’t a threat, refused to criticize it and then criticized these same cops. The story isn’t a small group chanting something inappropriate so much as it is the leadership of the group that sponsored the protest refusing to acknowledge the chant as inappropriate.

  6. Submitted by Ray Lewis on 09/01/2015 - 11:28 am.

    Rhetoric vs Action

    I agree with Charles and Paul that a brief chant wasn’t the most “newsworthy” focus of the BLM – St. Paul #blackfair protest march. However it is a side story about how words matter involving the sensitive topic of racism, and how other people respond to groups practicing constitutional rights. Pointing out the links between past and current practices and providing an opportunity for a dialogue about the future is a start, but needs to result in positive actions by all sides. It’s a “back to school” chance for people to rethink the oublic narrative about equality, equal opportunity and the roles of institutions like law enforcement, government, businesses and the Minnesota State Agricultural Society.

    Compare the current media coverage of 300 to 500 people inconveniencing 171,633 Fairgoers for a short time, and especially a couple of bands that missed a chance to march in a parade, to that of a couple of hundred knuckleheads who were the focus of the 2008 RNC protest march in St. Paul. Rather than the anarchy platform, the underlying issues that brought 10,000 people into the streets should have been the lead story. Last weekend’s peaceful, but but UN-permitted example to the summer meeting of the DNC and the Presidential candidates may have a larger national impact than any other Minnesota election event.

    In the end, any changes will have to be made locally and the local BLM leaders should check the Governor’s schedule, or wait until he gets back to the Mansion tonight in St. Paul.

  7. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 09/01/2015 - 01:05 pm.

    conservation programs

    “Good times in agriculture have led farmers to roll land out of conservation programs and into crops.”

    If this is what you really think then you are forgetting the fact that the amount of payments for enrolling in the conservation programs has decreased.

  8. Submitted by richard owens on 09/01/2015 - 06:49 pm.

    2 years ago Corn was $8 and soybeans were $13.

    Minnesota responded by planting more acres than EVER. That means less conservation or set-aside lands.

    Now those prices are BELOW cost. $3.50 / $8.80 and Land rents are still high and so are other input costs. Once new land is brought back into production, it takes another cycle or more to adjust.

    Landowners have been paying high property taxes, even on lands that should be protected form the plow. Previous rents at low grain prices can be too high to make a profit.

    The short term thinking (and “kick the can” avoidance of these issues) has kept Congress from delivering a decent Farm Bill on time or well thought out. Many Republicans wanted to focus on getting rid of Food Stamps (for example).

    We need better Congressional work for the agricultural community that addresses issues of conservation. We have found over time this is good policy for stable farm prices AND marginal or conservation lands.

    Bins and elevators are nearly full as we head into a record year for production. Strong dollar hurts exports.

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