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St. Paul council candidate who swore at library staff says he was defending teen

He's been banned from the city's library system for a month.

A candidate for St. Paul City Council who was removed from a library after swearing at staff says he was defending a black teenager who had been asked to leave.

George Martinez, who is running in the city's 4th Ward, described the July 5 incident on his campaign blog, saying he came to the defense of the teenager who'd been accused by a George Latimer Central Library security guard of removing a sign from a library shelf.

Martinez says he objected when the teen was asked to leave the library, with the security guard and library staff then asking Martinez to leave after he intervened.

According to Martinez's blog, he told them: "No, we are not leaving. This young man is here conducting research for a project and you are kicking him out of the library?! What is wrong with you people?! No wonder our African American students are not achieving academically — we’re f----- kicking them out of the public libraries.”

It turns out, Martinez might have swore a few more times than that, with a police report obtained by the Pioneer Press noting library staff accused him of screaming "[Expletive] you!" multiple times "just inches from their faces."

Martinez did admit to the face-to-face swearing when asked by the newspaper.

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Catherine Penkert, the director of Saint Paul Public Libraries, wrote to Martinez informing him he'd been banned from city libraries for a month, in a letter he shared on his blog.

"You repeatedly and aggressively yelled profanities at three library staff persons at such a volume that it could be heard over three floors of the library, including the children's area," she wrote.

"You then refused to leave the building when asked by staff, prompting them to call the police to escort you from the building."

Martinez says he was arrested, handcuffed and placed in the back of a squad car, before he was released a half-hour later and cited for disorderly conduct.

"When I asked the officer how I ended up in the back of the squad car, he replied by telling me that the Library staff had exercised their right to make a 'CITIZEN’S ARREST!'," Martinez wrote.

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