4 off-duty officers from the Minneapolis Police Department were working security for the WNBA Lynx game when they abandoned their posts. The four saw the players’ pre-game shirts, became upset, and walked off.
The players were wearing black T-shirts that had the names of two black men who had been shot by police. One name was Philando Castile, a man shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Minnesota.
The back of the shirt was also printed, and featured a Dallas police badge. This was in honor of the five Dallas police officers killed on the job. The back of the shirt also had the words “Black Lives Matter.”
During the pre-game conference, the players explained that the shirts were made to honor and mourn the dead, and also to advocate for change.
Rebekkah Brunson, while narrating her own childhood encounter with police who had their guns drawn, stated, “What is happening today is not new.”
She continued, “We have decided it is important to us to take a stand and raise our voices. Racial profiling is a problem. Senseless violence is a problem.”
Based on the Minneapolis Police Federation, the 4 officers had been offended by the shirts and requested the group officers to get the gamers to take them off. When the group refused to adjust to their needs, they walked off.
The police federation president, Lt. Bob Kroll, said, “It’s only a T-shirt, however, our officers have been annoyed.”
He referred to as the protest “anti-police” and said that the Lynx gamers had been shopping for a “false narrative” alleging police misconduct.
“They’re wading into waters they shouldn’t be in to start with. They’re skilled athletes. Keep on enjoying the ball. Folks go there to look at the basketball sport,” he stated.
Janee’ Harteau, Minneapolis Police Chief, said that she understood the officers’ frustrations, but didn’t condone their actions. She said, “Though these officers had been engaged on behalf of the Lynx, when carrying a Minneapolis Police uniform I count on all officers to stick to our core values and to honor their oath of workplace. Strolling off the job and defaulting on their contractual obligation to supply a service to the Lynx doesn’t conform to the expectations held by the general public for the uniform these officers put on.”
Minneapolis Mayor, Betsy Hodges, posted on Fb; “Bob Kroll’s remarks concerning the Lynx are jackass remarks. Let me be clear, labor management inherently doesn’t communicate on behalf of the administration. Bob Kroll positive as hell doesn’t communicate for me concerning the Lynx or about anything.”