Metro Transit readies for Black Lives Matter protest; police supporters rally at Capitol

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Metro Transit officials are preparing for interruptions along the Green Line Sunday morning due to a planned protest by Black Lives Matter St. Paul.

The group announced plans several days ago to interrupt light-rail service beginning at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Green Line station at Lexington Parkway and University Avenue.

It's timed to cause disruption as Vikings football fans begin making their way via mass transit to TCF Bank Stadium for the noon kickoff of the Vikings-Lions game.

The group says its goal is to show support for Marcus Abrams, a 17-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome, who they say was forcefully arrested by Metro Transit officers Aug. 31 at the Lexington Parkway station.

Organizer Rashad Turner wrote on the group's Facebook page it will be a “disciplined, peaceful, protest against this injustice and all police excessive force.”

A Metro Transit spokesman says the agency has dealt with similar demonstrations and plans to ensure it can deliver the services riders expect on Sunday, according to the Pioneer Press.

But if rail service is affected by the protest, a spokesman notes there will be alternative routes available.

“While I’m not going to get into the details of what we’ll do, in the past when needed our bus service has been able to supplement and augment some of our train service,” Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla told MPR News.

Riders on Sunday can keep updated on Metro Transit service interruptions on the MetroTransitMN’s Twitter page. They also can sign up for email and text alerts at MetroTransit.org.

Rally to support police

Less than 24 hours before that protest was to begin, several dozen people gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol to support police officers on "National Thank a Police Officer Day."

The participants gathered at the Peace Officers Memorial and walked to the State Capitol building, where they held a candlelight vigil for the 91 police officers killed in the line of duty this year, KSTP reports.

Many of those at the rally told WCCO they think protests like the one being organized by Black Lives Matter are hurtful toward police and their families.

Jessica Knutson, whose husband is an officer with the Blaine Police Department, said she realizes there are frustrations with law enforcement, but she wants to remind people that police officers and their families make sacrifices all the time.

“Most officers really do care about everybody, all lives matter, people need to educate themselves on the truth,” Knutson said. according to WCCO.

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