Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota — Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job doing security, after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.
Philando Castile was killed in Falcon Heights by Jeronimo Yanez, an officer with the St. Anthony Police Department. Over the weekend, protests in reaction to Castile’s death were held in St. Paul, where cops arrested 102 people, 46 of whom will now be charged with third degree riot, a gross misdemeanor.
The Lynx player used their celebrity to bring attention to the issues.
The three-time WNBA champions wore T-shirts to commemorate the recent deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five members of the Dallas Police Department and to call for change. The front of the black shirts said, “Change Starts With Us—Justice and Accountability,” while the back had the names of Sterling and Castile as well as the DPD shield and the words “Black Lives Matter.”
“The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off duty Minneapolis police officers,” the team said in a statement. “While our players message mourned the loss of life due to last week’s shootings, we respect the right of those individual officers to express their own beliefs in their own way. We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.
The four best, most well-known Lynx players — Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Rebekah Brunson, and Lindsay Whalen — held a press conference to discuss police violence on Saturday, donning shirts that said “Change starts with us.” On the back, the shirts referenced Castile, Alton Sterling, the Louisiana man killed by police last week, and “Black Lives Matter.” Players wore the same shirts during their pregame shoot-around Monday night.