It’s not often that I find myself defending Saint Paul mayor Chris Coleman. Indeed, I die a little inside at the thought.
But they say you can learn a little about a guy by his enemies.
So here goes; good job, Mayor Coleman.
A group of stalkers followed Coleman to a fundraiser last week:
About 30 demonstrators showed up outside a fundraiser for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on Friday, objecting to what the group saw as an overreaction by police during last week’s protests outside the Republican National Convention.
Carrying signs that read “I Am Ashamed” and “I Survived 9/1,” the group strolled the sidewalk in front of a St. Anthony Park residence where the event was being held, briefly confronting Coleman when he arrived.
Look, I don’t support government overreach; police overreach against legitimate protest is no better than, say, siccing the FCC on conservative talk radio under the guise of the “Fairness” Doctrine.
But look at what Coleman’s administration – which is of a relatively small city, remember – was facing:
- A movement that pledged to “shut down” Saint Paul and the convention
- Groups that were threatening to stalk and kidnap delegates and other people.
- Credible threats of violence and mayhem from groups that have carried it out in the past (see Seattle, 1999).
- Groups that did, in fact, commit violence against delegates on the first day – sandbag attacks on buses, bleach squirted at delegates and so on.
With that background, caution was hardly misplaced.
So did officers possibly use “excessive caution” on protesters who didn’t obey lawful orders to disperse – macing people excessively and so on? Possible.
Did the police break up any protests that were legally permitted, and where the protesters were operating within the conditions of the permit? I’ve been asking counterculture types for the past week, and heard nothing.
The protesters, I suspect, are upset – legitimately at what may have been instances of cops overapplying mace, and illegitimately at the overall approach, which seems not to have had any affect on legal, permitted protests.
And they’re upset because their protests, outside the echo chamber of the perennially-angry far left, had zero affect on the convention, on national policy, on the GOP, and – most galling to them, I suspect – the national press coverage of the convention. Pissed off kids and ageing hippies throwing things in the streets? Dog bites dog. Sarah Palin sweeping all before her? Pitbull bites lightworker.
The protesters barely qualified as a sideshow. Unless you were a cop.
Anyway – good job, Mayor Coleman.
Feel free to keep the good will flowing, by the way, by reconsidering your property tax hikes.