Black Lives Matter St. Paul issued a travel advisory Thursday for African Americans over the “deadliest police department” in Minnesota. The move, warning people of color against the presence of “militarized” officers in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, comes ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“African Americans and people of color [should] exercise caution as safety and well-being risks may be presented by St. Paul Police and/or St. Paul Police K9,” the BLM advisory read. “The St. Paul Police Department is the deadliest department in the state of Minnesota, killing more people annually than any other department in the state.”
The group is not telling folks to stay away from Minneapolis in the advisory, but instead calling for greater “repercussions for officers who use unnecessary force,” Trahern Crews, a spokesman for Black Lives Matter Minnesota, said to local news source Twin Cities-Pioneer Press.
St. Paul cops have escaped charges several times, as like in most departments struggling with systemic racism and practices of excessive force across the nation. City officers Mikko Norman and Nathaniel Younce evaded charges in the shooting death of Cordale Handy, a 29-year-old Black man, in March, activists mentioned in their advisory. Officers had a standoff with Handy, who cops said was armed, after responding to a domestic dispute, Twin Cities also reported. Hardy was reportedly under the influence of drugs, an autopsy found. Prosecutors determined that the officer was justified in his use of force, a common occurrence in many cases involving white cops and Black civilians.
There have also been several non-fatal, but serious incidents involving St. Paul cops. BLM cited several cases of police force in its advisory, which has drawn comparisons to the NAACP’s advisory against traveling to Missouri after the state’s legislature made it harder for Blacks to prove racial discrimination at their places of employment.
The group’s warning comes also after national statistics on police killings have raised fears. Police killed 1,147 people across the nation last year, 282 or 25 percent of which were Black, according to Mapping Police Violence.
A “Take a Knee Nation” rally and protest are planned for Sunday afternoon near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the site of the Super Bowl, to bring attention to police brutality, Twin Cities reported.