Players with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx made statements denouncing “longtime” racial profiling by police officers and then wore pre-game jerseys supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The women were protesting the police-involved shooting death of Philando Castile.
So police officers working at the game responded by walking off the job and removing their name for consideration in working security at any further Lynx games.
Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised them for quitting. “I commend them for it,” he said.
Kroll said the four officers also removed themselves from a list of officers working future games. He did not know who the officers were. “Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games,” he said.
Asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit, Kroll said, “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”
The three-time WNBA champions wore black T-shirts that read “Change starts with us, justice and accountability” and on the back had Philando Castile’s and Alton Sterling’s names along with “Black Lives Matter” and a Dallas Police Department emblem.
Police officers killed Castile in Falcon Heights and Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., last week, setting off protests here and nationwide.
Black Lives Matter protests in St. Paul resulted in nearly two dozen police officers sustaining injuries.
Kroll warned the players that “rushing to judgment before the facts are in is unwarranted and reckless.”
Indeed, the narrative behind the Castile shooting has been coming under increased scrutiny, as scanner audio shows that the victim was not stopped by police simply for having a busted taillight, but because he matched the description of an armed robbery suspect.
Kroll also took an epic shot at the team. In responding to reports that 7 or 8 officers walked off the job, Kroll explained that it wasn’t that many.
“They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw,” he said.
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