ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Runners at the Twin Cities Marathon crossed the finish line without protesters getting in their way on Sunday morning. Earlier in the week, Black Lives Matter St. Paul made a pact with city leaders not to be disruptive, as long as they could be seen and heard.
“I appreciate your cooperation just as you appreciate my cooperation,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said.
The group protested the arrest of 15-year-old Tyree Tucker in a park a few weeks ago and the officer-involved shooting of Philip Quinn in St. Paul last Thursday. The protest, dubbed #BlackMarathon, originally aimed to shut down the race near the finish line, prompting concerns from law enforcement about runners’ safety.
“Black Lives organizers kept their promise and didn't disrupt the Twin Cities marathon, but they did go off course from their initial plan,” officials said.
The group agreed earlier not to disrupt the marathon after Mayor Coleman said he would give them a designated protest space near the finish line. But by the time the elite runners started crossing the finish line, organizers with Black Lives Matter were still gathering at Boyd Park.
Police expected them to head directly to the open field right next to the Cathedral of St. Paul, but instead they took an alternate route. About 100 protesters walked through the back streets of St. Paul, tying up traffic, and catching law enforcement off guard.
For the next mile, they brought attention to police brutality and a system they say is rigged against African Americans. When they finally reached the finish line near the corner of Rice Street and John Ireland Boulevard, they got a few looks from spectators, but their chants were drowned out by the PA system.
"Right now we honor 24 extraordinary runners, from 16 different countries."
Before leaving the area, protesters went ahead with their usual die-in demonstration, and finally started marching toward the Cathedral where they set up shop behind a metal barricade and chain link fence.
The marathon went on without disruption, and police did not make any arrests.