During a WNBA Lynx game, four off-duty officers from the Minneapolis Police Department abandoned their posts as security after seeing the players’ pre-game shirts. The shirts featured the names of two black men who had been shot by police, including Philando Castile, who was killed during a traffic stop in Minnesota. The back of the shirt also had the words “Black Lives Matter” and a Dallas police badge in honor of the five Dallas police officers killed on the job.
The players explained that the shirts were made to honor and mourn the dead, and also to advocate for change. They spoke about racial profiling and senseless violence being problems that need to be addressed. The Minneapolis Police Federation stated that the officers were offended by the shirts and asked the team officials to get the players to take them off. When the team refused, the officers walked off.
The police federation president called the protest “anti-police” and alleged that the Lynx players were buying into a “false narrative” about police misconduct. The Minneapolis Police Chief stated that she understood the officers’ frustrations but did not condone their actions. The mayor of Minneapolis also criticized the police federation president’s comments.
The incident highlighted the ongoing tension between law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to address systemic racism and police violence against black people. The players’ decision to wear the shirts sparked controversy and revealed the deep divide on this issue. While some argue that the shirts were a form of peaceful protest, others viewed them as disrespectful to law enforcement.
Overall, the incident highlighted the need for open and honest conversations about race and policing in America. It also underscored the importance of finding ways to bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities of color.