State Fair #blacklivesmatter protest (
by Steve Timmer
Sep 1, 2015, 2:00 PM

#BLM @ the #StateFair

The featured image is from the Pioneer Press, as the cutline credits. It was taken at the gate of the fair where the #BlackLivesMatter protesters were gathered last Saturday.

The Breitbart photo above just discloses “Twitter/screenshot” as its provenance. It was taken along the march somewhere.

Notice the difference? In the featured image at the top, you can see that the T-shirt of the woman on the right reads “Kill White Supremacy.” In the Breitbart photo, all you can read is “Kill White.” Leaving the reader to wonder, kill white what? People? Cops?

Given what the Breitbart site is, you might be tempted to conclude that it carefully selected the screenshot to use. You’d be right, of course.

The photo at Breitbart was accompanied by a story that referred to a chant during the march — by a small number of people — that is described this way by the Star Tribune:

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 article goes on to quote the president of the St. Paul police union:

“Quite simply — that promotes death to cops,” Titus said in a statement posted on the union’s Facebook page. In an interview Monday afternoon, Titus said several officers told him they were upset with the comments.

As I am sure they are. It would be easy to overreact, though, to what is probably best characterized as a childish and stupid stunt, but it’s a mistake to underestimate the damage it might do to the #blacklivesmatter movement.

Just by way of example, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman blamed the shooting of a sheriff’s deputy on #blacklivesmatter. And the New York Times reports:

Law enforcement experts say disparate factors are at play in different cities, though no one is claiming to know for sure why murder rates are climbing. Some officials say intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, though many experts dispute that theory.

It is hard to put an increasing reticence about shooting unarmed young black men and the murder rate together, to be sure.

But the reaction of the organizer of the event to the chant was inexplicable:

Rashad Turner, the lead organizer of Black Lives Matter St. Paul, who helped set up the protest, said the chant was not a threat against officers’ lives.

“It was a chant,” Turner said. “I think that the crazy thing is that there’s all this uproar about rhetoric but there isn’t uproar about the facts. … Just because they provide us with their self-appointed escort does not mean it erases the fact that they are the deadliest police department in the state.”

Well, Mr. Turner, it wasn’t Stand up! Sit down! Fight! Fight! Fight! at a high school basketball game, either.

In an editorial today, the Strib said that the chant “marred” the protest. I am not sure I’d go that far, but a statement condemning it by the movement’s leadership would go a long way to removing whatever blot there was.

On LeftMN’s Facebook page, I solicited comments from readers about what they thought about the Strib article linked here. I am going to give reader Michael the last word:

Being that I’m a child of the 60’s and had many radical militant members in my family (NOI and BP’s)…I can tell you that sometimes, chants are just chants. Now…do I want cops killed in the streets? No. Do I want something done about the bad cops that gun down innocent kids and are protected by good cops and the “Blue Wall of silence”?? Yes. Now, I’m also a staunch defender of the Freedom of Speech. So yes, they have a right to chant that while protesting but they are also responsible for that chant and any violence it causes.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.