Anyone disrupting or interfering with runners during the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend will face consequences, according to St. Paul police chief Tom Smith.
According to CBS Minnesota, the message was directed to members of the St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter, which is planning to protest during the marathon, though organizers have said they don’t plan to interfere with marathon runners.
But if protestors disrupt the race, Smith says they’ll be arrested.
“My message is to runners and spectators is to come out and enjoy the day,” Smith said. “My message to any individual or group that are planning to disrupt the marathon is this: make sure your actions do not interfere with the safety of others, not the runners, not the spectators, not the men and women who will be working the event. Otherwise there will be consequences, including arrests.”
St. Paul police have worked the Twin Cities Marathon for 33 years, and have also had a presence at other Black Lives Matter protests, serving as escorts for the group at times. The difference between this protest and others is that thousands of people will be standing along a fixed course, and any disruption could become a public safety concern.
“We’ve shown an ability to respect the rights of protestors, most recently at the State Fair and the Green Line a couple of weeks ago, but this Sunday is different,” city attorney Sammy Clark said.
Clark says the city has options to prevent disruption of the race.
“We have any number of charges available to us that we have used in the past and that we will use again if necessary,” he said.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and police officials have a meeting scheduled with Black Lives Matter leaders for today.