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At Vikings game, protesters decry police brutality

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Protesters outside TCF Bank stadium
Protesters outside TCF Bank stadium decried police brutality.
Peter Cox / MPR News

Updated 7 a.m. Monday | Posted 4 p.m. Sunday

Protesters gathered outside the Minnesota Vikings game Sunday to protest grand jury decisions not to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men during confrontations in New York and Missouri.

About 40 demonstrators lay down on the plaza in front of TCF Bank Stadium. They held signs and chanted slogans against police brutality.

"I have a 25 year old son and every day he walks out on the streets," said Daryl Sturdivant of Inver Grove Heights, who was in his first protest against the grand jury decisions.

"I worry about him," said Sturdivant, 53. "He's a good kid, but that doesn't seem to matter so much anymore. So, I'm really concerned, thought it was important for me to come out and do what I'm doing."

As football fans streamed in, some agreed with them. Others mocked, challenged or argued with the protesters. 

Among those who thought the grand juries reached the right decisions was Greg Zacharia of Falcon Heights. He voiced support for the police, but also said the demonstrators have a right to make their voices heard

"I think it's great; it's America," Zacharia said. "I love everybody has a chance at free speech. But I wish they'd follow, learn the facts of what happened and do something a little bit more meaningful with their time."

Sturdivant, however, said people in the United States need to recognize the injustice that too often occurs.

"I really thought we had gotten past all of this -- these kinds of issues in the United States. And every time I kind of close my eyes and feel good, it pops up again," Sturdivant said. "It's just getting to the point where we need to do something about it."

The demonstration ended just after the game started between the Vikings and the New York Jets. It was one of several in the Twin Cities this weekend.

In Superior, Wisconsin, about 50 people took part in a candlelight vigil, holding signs at a busy intersection.  

Kym Young said she organized the event because of her grandsons. 

"I don't want them to be afraid to walk to the corner store wearing a hoodie in the fall or the winter," she said. "I don't want them to fear walking while black, shopping while black, driving while black."