Media Contact–

Media Contact: Pete Gamades
Email address:
Phone: 612-310-6151



March 02, 2021

St. Paul City Council targets protestors, free speech, and peaceable assembly.
Local Civil Rights Group demands that City cease further restrictions on protests.

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – On the eve of the trial of Derek Chauvin, former Minneapolis police officer  accused of murdering George Floyd last May, St. Paul city officials should be considering how to hold its police officers accountable for brutality and misconduct against its citizens. Instead, they are  considering amending St. Paul’s existing Ordinance 21-6 which governs “Parades, Races, and Public  Assemblies.” Already unlawful: any length of metal, lumber, wood, or similar material for displaying a sign, poster, plaque or notice, unless such object meets particular measurements and specifications.

The City had recently proposed an amendment that would significantly lengthen the list of items, such  as knives and mace, prohibited at public assemblies and further restrict materials permitted for signs.

At a community forum Monday, March 1, St. Paul community members testified against the proposed  ordinance, describing it as, “fear mongering,” and “trying to restrict our lives and our rights.” Instead of amending this ordinance, some residents said, “St. Paul should be focusing on how police interact  with us, not how we interact with them.” Since that forum the City has canceled its vote on the  proposed amendment and instead seeks continued public comment.

“It’s bad enough that St. Paul requires demonstrators to pay a permit fee in order to exercise their  First Amendment rights,” says Kimberly Milliard, Racial Justice Network member, “But now they want  to further ban what appears to be anything and everything they can think of. One wonders if the point  isn’t to discourage people from assembling altogether. It’s disturbing.” 

Racial Justice Network joins multiple other community organizations in calling on anyone concerned  with protecting civil rights to contact their City Council person to demand that no further restrictions be  placed on protestors. Instead, city officials should better protect First Amendment rights. Additionally, the St. Paul Police Department must create stricter guidelines on use of force and crowd control  tactics at protests.

Racial Justice Network stands against ordinances and policies that limit Minnesota citizens’ right to peaceful assembly.

The St. Paul City Council claims Ordinance 21-6 will protect police and other  attendees during public gatherings, but, says Racial Justice Member Heidi Hanson, “It ignores the  peoples’ first amendment rights, does not protect protestors against bodily harm and injury from brutal  police crowd control tactics, and excludes heavily armed protesters who pose the most serious  threat.”

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines.