ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An organizer behind the Black Lives Matter weekend march outside the Minnesota State Fair stood by the group’s chant to fry police “like bacon,” saying Monday that law enforcement officials are cherry-picking a 30-second chant to take issue with an otherwise peaceful protest.
Protesters were captured on camera yelling “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon” during Saturday’s four-hour march around the fairgrounds in St. Paul. The chant was viewed by some law enforcement members as targeting police officers.
St. Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus told WCCO-TV it was ignorant and disgusting. The group’s protest came hours after a suburban Houston officer was gunned down.
“I don’t think chanting or singing what’s basically promoting killing police officers is peaceful,” Titus said.
Dennis Flaherty of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said in a statement he had been contacted by officers in St. Paul and throughout the state who were outraged by the chant.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizer Rashad Turner told the Associated Press on Monday that no one was advocating for violence against law enforcement. He said it was meant to call for similar treatment between black people and police officers.
Turner said the uproar shouldn’t focus on the group’s chant but instead on recent police killings of unarmed black men and women like those in Ferguson, Missouri, Cincinnati and Baltimore.
“We’re not going to be distracted by their attempt to minimize our movement and focus on a chant that lasted 30 seconds,” he said.
The group is planning a Tuesday afternoon protest outside the residence of Gov. Mark Dayton, who last week labeled the group’s fair protest plans “inappropriate.” Turner said Dayton should apologize and address the group’s concerns.
A Dayton spokesman said any group has the right to protest outside the governor’s residence if they follow city ordinances. Turner said protesters plan to shut down traffic on St. Paul’s Summit Avenue if the governor doesn’t come out to talk with them.