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Black Lives Matter St. Paul cancels Crashed Ice protest

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The protest by Black Lives Matter Saint Paul that was slated for Saturday's Crashed Ice event is canceled.

On Facebook, the group said that after "several hours" of talk with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and other city and community leaders, their demands have "been sincerely addressed."

"Therefore, we will keep our word and CANCEL the #BlackIce demonstration that was scheduled for Saturday," the post continues.

Coleman also put out a statement about Black Lives Matter Saint Paul's decision, saying he's "grateful" for their decision, but also noting the city still needs to work to address the concerns raised by Black Lives Matter.

Why the protest was canceled

Black Lives Matter Saint Paul's planned protest was in response to issues with former St. Paul police officer Jeff Rothecker.

Rothecker hit the headlines last month after it emerged he was responsible for a Facebook post in which he encouraged people to hit BLM protesters with their cars.

Black Lives Matter Saint Paul issued a list of demands along with the protest threat, including:

  • Rothecker be fired without a pension;
  • Police re-investigate every case of his that led to a conviction;
  • The county attorney investigate him for a possible crime.

Rothecker was placed on paid administrative leave after admitting he was responsible for the post, issued an apology, and then about a month later resigned from the force.

Black Lives Matters says many demands 'addressed'

The Black Lives Matter Saint Paul release says many of those demands were met.

The department followed procedures to terminate Rothecker's employment, and public officials have publicly condemned the Facebook incident, according to the group.

Black Lives Matter Saint Paul also says the Ramsey County Attorney's Office agreed to look over cases where Rothecker was an investigator that led to a conviction.

Ramsey County Attorney spokesperson Erica Schumacher told BringMeTheNews that County Attorney John Choi asked staff to review "certain criminal cases" that Rothecker was involved in. Schumacher said it's too early to tell if some of the cases may need more "prosecution review," but if that find that's the case, they'll announce it.

There is no timeline for such a decision right now, Schumacher said.

Coleman in his statement also outlined racial equity efforts going on in St. Paul now, including a review of the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Committee, and the outsourcing of officer-involved shooting investigations to other agencies (a measure announced last month).

Coleman also said he's working with state Rep. John Lesch, a Democrat from St. Paul, to introduce bills that would address three issues specifically:

  • What a police department is legally allowed to say publicly about officer misconduct and disciplinary actions taken;
  • A review of the grand jury process for when an officer shoots someone;
  • And officer training – statewide – for how to respond to people dealing with mental illness.

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