The head of the St. Paul police union is upset that some of the participants in Saturday's Black Lives Matter march to the Minnesota State Fair were chanting an anti-police message while St. Paul officers were escorting the marchers on their way.
At one point in the march, a small group of protesters began chanting "pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon." The chant was captured in a short video clip that was posted to Twitter.
Dave Titus, the president of the St. Paul police union, had harsh words for the protesters, calling the chant "disgusting" and saying it promotes violence against law enforcement officers.
In a post on the federation's Facebook page, Titus said, in part:
"The SPPD dedicated great resources to ensure the safety and passage of a BLM march to the Fair - even though that march had no legal permit. ... Nonetheless, federation members worked within the rules outlined by city and department management to ensure everyone's safety and freedom of speech, even though some of that speech was outrageous and disgusting."
The march lasted a couple of hours and police estimate about 350 people participated. There were no arrests and no injuries.
One of the organizers of the event, Rashad Turner of Black Lives Matter St. Paul, responded to the criticism by saying the chant was not meant as any sort of threat to police.
He added there should be an uproar over "police officers ... getting away with killing unarmed black people," according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
But the incident certainly did cause an uproar, locally and on social media.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which represents 8,500 law enforcement officers statewide, called the chant “deplorable and threatening,” according to the Star Tribune.
Turner was interviewed on CNN about the demonstration, and some observers put the chant into the category of anti-police attitudes that may have been one factor in the shooting death of a sheriff's deputy in Houston last week.
The man who posted the video to Twitter, who goes by Niko, told the Pioneer Press the chant lasted less than a minute, and he, too, thinks the reaction to it is overblown.
He added that one of the St. Paul police officers who was escorting the demonstrators even made a joke about it, saying something along the lines of, "Everybody likes bacon. I think we can all get behind that," according to the Pioneer Press.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul plans another march on Tuesday evening outside the governor's mansion, to protest Gov. Mark Dayton's recent comment that the group's State Fair protest was "inappropriate."
Dayton's press secretary told the Pioneer Press the governor has off-site meetings at the time and won't be at the residence when the demonstrators are there. He noted that the group has not requested a meeting with the governor