Black Lives Matter plans to disrupt light rail traffic Sunday

Marchers headed up Snelling to the fairgrounds.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul marched up Snelling Avenue toward the Minnesota State Fair last month.
Courtney Perry | For MPR News file

Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizers plan to protest at a Green Line station Sunday as a response to the alleged beating of a developmentally disabled teen by Metro Transit Police last month.

Protesters plan to gather at 9:30 a.m. on Lexington Parkway just south of University Avenue. The Facebook event page used #BlackRail as the hashtag to spread the word.

Organizer Rashad Turner wrote that it will be a "disciplined, peaceful, protest against this injustice and all police excessive force." The plan is to disrupt light rail traffic before the Vikings' first home game of the season at TCF Bank Stadium at noon.

Marcus Abrams is a 17-year-old whose family say he's autistic. His sister Neenah Caldwell said Abrams suffered severe injuries that led to multiple seizures and a blackout after an alleged confrontation with Metro Transit Police. She said Abrams was walking out of the Minnesota State Fair where he worked, crossed the train tracks and was attacked by police.

Photos of Abrams' facial injuries have been circulating on various pages on Facebook. Caldwell said the family is still trying to piece together information about what happened and are waiting to obtain video evidence.

But Caldwell said Metro Transit police "thought he was under the influence (of alcohol) because of how he looked," she said. "He's disabled."

Metro Transit Spokesperson Howie Padilla says alternative routes will be available for riders if rail service is affected by the protest.

"While I'm not going to get into the details of what we'll do, in the past when needed our bus service has been able to supplement and augment some of our train service," Padilla said.

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