More than 40 people were arrested after a protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement shut down southbound Interstate 35W near downtown Minneapolis Wednesday morning.
Minnesota State Patrol quickly moved in to defuse the large crowd. At around 9 a.m, state troopers blocked off an entrance, preventing more protesters’ access to the interstate — but not before traffic had backed up, prompting delays reportedly as long as 90 minutes.
Troopers rerouting traffic off 35W to University Ave pic.twitter.com/fLg54UZ4hC
— Ashley McCray (@AMMediaMaven) July 13, 2016
The group of protesters called themselves the Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up.
Its membership consists of mostly white people.
— Alexandra Vagac (@Alley_Cat808) July 13, 2016
“Coalition to Wake Your Ass Up calls for abolition of policing in response to police killings of Black people,” the group writes in a press release. “This group demands the dismantling of the police department, which includes disarming, defunding, demilitarizing, and disbanding police. We believe that security for all of us does not lie in use of aggression and force.”
The release stated: “Real security occurs when all of us have meaningful employment, educational opportunities that help us pursue our own life choices and the adequate healthcare needed to live fruitfully.”
Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow says the 41 arrested individuals “will be charged appropriately for their actions which endangered the motoring public.”
“The State Patrol supports the right to exercise one’s First Amendment rights, but the freeway is not the place to do so,” Col. Matt Langer, Minnesota State Patrol Chief, said in a press statement. “The closure of an interstate freeway for the purposes of a demonstration is unacceptable. They are used by everyone and are an artery for emergency vehicles. It is illegal to walk on the freeway and blocking traffic is dangerous for both pedestrians and motorists.”
— Sgt. Jesse Grabow (@MSPPIO_NW) July 13, 2016
Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson