The Crashed Ice speedskating race will take off as planned, in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. Paul, without any interference from protesters. Now all the race organizers have to worry about is the increasingly spring-like weather conditions.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul called off its threatened protest of the popular annual event on Friday afternoon, saying that a number of the "demands" the group issued earlier this month had been "sincerely addressed" by the city.
Most obviously, Jeff Rothecker, the St. Paul cop who had told people to drive through crowds of protesters without fear of consequences, has voluntarily resigned his position.
Group leader Rashad Turner writes that he met privately with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, and says Coleman's office was already undertaking the steps to get Rothecker off the police force. (Coleman was a quick and forceful critic of Rothecker's behavior, and welcomed his resignation with relief.) Turner also says the city is still looking into whether losing his job is punishment enough for Rothecker, who'd spent 22 years with the department.
"Mayor Coleman has started the process to have an outside agency review Rothecker’s threats to determine if criminal charges should be filed," Turner writes.
As for Rothecker's work with a badge, Turner claims Ramsey County Attorney John Choi has consented to a review of criminal convictions where Rothecker was the lead investigator. Should Choi's office see something that seems untoward, they would consider reopening some cases, Turner reports.
Most of Black Lives Matter St. Paul's other demands couldn't be met by declaration of the mayor or county attorney, and weren't going to be fixed by the end of the month. To that end, the statement outlines an ambitious "legislative agenda" — Turner has also announced his intention to run for the Minnesota House of Representatives — that would address its concerns. Among other priorities, the group is calling for an end to the grand jury process, which some say has too often allowed police officers to walk free after assaults or unwarranted suspect shootings.
And, because Turner seemingly can't pass up an opportunity to take a shot at Gov. Mark Dayton, he singles the governor out for failing to take a greater role in the response to the St. Paul officer's Facebook scandal.
"Governor Dayton," reads the statement, "why have you remained silent on these issues? Do you not feel Rothecker’s actions were inappropriate? Do you not believe that black lives matter? You had the audacity to call us domestic terrorists, when in reality, most domestic terrorists in this country look exactly like you Governor Dayton."