Native Lives Matter marches towards St. Paul, stopped by police


A group of Native Lives Matter protesters marched towards downtown St. Paul Saturday evening, only to be stopped law enforcement.

Black Lives Matter St. Paul announced Friday they had canceled their protest at Saturday's Red Bull Crashed Ice event. Then the group shared another Facebook post, saying a Native Lives Matter protest will take place instead.

According to the Facebook event, the protest is in response to the grand jury's decision to not charge the St. Paul officers who fatally shot Philip Quinn. Police say Quinn ran after an officer while holding a screwdriver.

The march started at Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul at 4 p.m., the event page says. Then the group moved towards the city.

But before the protesters made it downtown, they were met by police officers.

According to Twitter posts, police ordered the group to leave or be subject to arrest. After a standoff, the protesters retreated and marched back to the park.

The shooting of Philip Quinn

The incident happened in September when Quinn's family called the police, saying the 30-year-old was behaving erratically and threatening to stab his girlfriend. Family identified Quinn as a schizophrenic.

When officers showed up, they did not have a clear view of Quinn so did not approach him, and waited for a K-9 officer to arrive. One of the officers then saw Quinn make thrusting motions with one arm, and he "suddenly ran down the driveway and directly at" an officer while wielding a screwdriver, according to the document. The officer backed up but was stopped by a fence, and yelled at Quinn to drop the screwdriver; when Quinn was six or eight feet away, the officer fired his service weapon, the document says.

The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Joe LaBathe, an eight-year veteran, and Rich McGuire, a seven-year veteran.

Quinn's brother contended afterwards that police "did not have to use lethal ammunition," saying Quinn was only a danger to himself.

St. Paul police chief Tom Smith said at a news conference that Quinn suffered from mental illness, KARE 11 reports. According to the memo document, toxicology tests on Quinn were positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Smith said the decision to release the case files was the force's attempt to do "something different" as a police department, being more transparent about "tragic" incidents such as this one, according to MPR's Riham Feshir.

He also used the conference to highlight the issues surrounding mental illness, saying Quinn might not have died had there been a treatment bed available to him.

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