At the corner of Snelling and University Avenues in St. Paul, and Cedar and Riverside Avenues in Minneapolis, bright, hard-to-miss orange signs have popped up warning us that Twin Cities police “startle easily.” The St. Paul sign (the first one spotted) was first shared via Facebook post, and then subsequently on a Reddit thread that has amassed over 67,000 upvotes and 6,500 comments.
The signs, with the words “Twin Cities Police Easily Startled,” depict a stick figure in a police uniform in something of a clown-pose, firing a gun from each hand.
They come as a possible response to two officer-involved shootings this month in Minneapolis:
On July 8, an officer responding to an alarm in North Minneapolis shot and injured two dogs who were in a fenced yard.
(Full story here: Body cam video shows new angle on Minneapolis cop shooting dogs)
Then, on July 15, Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer after she had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.
(Full story here: Woman killed by Mpls. cop was the 911 caller)
As well as the recent acquittal (of manslaughter and two lesser charges) of Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights in 2016.
Frustration with the level of police violence in the Twin Cities has been mounting: Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau was forced to resign last Friday, July 21. During Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodge’s prepared statement regarding the decision, there were angry calls for her to step down as well; she was forced to leave the room as a result.
These signs offer a somewhat humorous jab at a less-than-humorous issue; the start of discourse, perhaps, or simply lashing out at an issue that has gone seemingly unaddressed for far too long.
More to come.
Check this out next: Video: Minneapolis police officer stands by as handcuffed man is punched in the face