Roughly 100 Black Lives Matter activists assembled in St. Paul, Minn., Sunday to protest what they said was excessive force by the transit police on a 17-year-old with autism.
At about 10:15, protesters began to march west on the light rail tracks after a rally in the middle of the intersection of Lexington and University. The group staged a die-in on the tracks of the Green Line train that serves TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Vikings hosted Detroit in a home opener.
On Sunday morning, Metro Transit announced that buses are replacing Green Line trains between the Snelling Avenue and Capitol/Rice Street stations. Staff will be on hand to direct riders. The Green Line serves TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where the Vikings hosted Detroit in their season home opener.
The Star Tribune reports the group acknowledged that it chose Sunday to protest because it’s the Vikings’ home opener — a “big money day, so what better day to shut the light rail down and disrupt business as usual,” it said.
The group was protesting what they say was excessive force by Metro Transit police who confronted and restrained Marcus Abrams, a 17-year-old autistic boy, at the Lexington Parkway station on Aug. 31.
During the incident, Abrams was spotted standing on the rail tracks. When transit officers approached him, they say he resisted arrest, kicking and punching, and they forced him to the ground.
Abrams sustained a cut and swollen lip and cuts on his face and head, his mother said after the incident. “They totally mishandled the situation,” she said. Caldwell said her son didn’t hear officers’ orders when they approached him because he was wearing headphones.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul, an offshoot of the larger Minneapolis chapter, first gained attention after holding a protest at the State Fair over what it deemed organizers’ unfair treatment of minority vendors. Organizers later found themselves on the defensive after a video surfaced of marchers chanting a phrase that police said promoted violence against officers.