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#BlackMarathon protest raises Issue of police brutality at Twin Cities Marathon

By Kent Mori |
October 7, 2015
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Black Lives Matters die-in at the Twin Cities marathon finish line.(FightBack!News/Staff)

St. Paul, MN - 150 people protested at the Twin Cities marathon here, Oct. 4, to call attention to police violence on Black and Native people. Organized by Black Lives Matter-Saint Paul, the #BlackMarathon protest focused on the cases of Phill Quinn, Tyree Tucker and Marcus Golden. The protest began with a rally in Boyd Park featuring speeches by members of the Quinn, Tucker and Golden families, continued with a march through the community and was followed by a die-in at the Twin Cities marathon finish line.

The details of the shooting of Phil Quinn demonstrate the need for resistance to police violence. Quinn was shot and killed on Sept. 14. The family called the police to assist with a mental health issue, and, as a family member put it, “The cops knew that there was a suicide mental health call and that they were supposed to help,” but fatal violence was used instead. A speech by one of Phil Quinn’s family members emphasized what the community needed, versus what the police delivered, when she said, “We asked for help, not for hell.”

Quinn’s murder was the 13th officer-involved death in Saint Paul since 2009 - the most by any police department in Minnesota.

As Saint Paul Black Lives Matter planned this protest, Mayor Chris Coleman showed more concern about ‘disrupting’ the Twin Cities marathon than about the behavior of Saint Paul police. Black Lives Matter used his concern about this elite running event to successfully demand a face-to-face meeting with the mayor to put the issue of police brutality on his agenda.

Protest will continue, resistance will grow, and people will rise up and fight back. As Twin Cites activist Mel Reeves said in one of the speeches, “There has to be no business as usual. We’ve got people dying in the streets!”

This protest followed up on other visible actions at the Minnesota State Fair and on the Twin Cities light rail.