A former Black Lives Matter activist claims his comrades planned to burn down the Minnesota state capitol in Saint Paul and the governor’s mansion if the police officer who fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop had not been prosecuted.
Trey Turner, who describes himself as half black and half white, said in a YouTube video dated Feb. 27 that BLM activists planned to go on a violent rampage if Saint Paul area police officer Jeronimo Yanez had not been charged in connection with the high-profile shooting July 6, 2016 of the late Philando Castile, which they claim was racially motivated.
The violence and advocacy of violence against white people by Black Lives Matter is well-documented.
In recent weeks, Yusra Khogali of the Toronto, Canada branch of BLM, said white people were “recessive genetic defects” and contemplated how whites could be “wiped out.” In Seattle a BLM supporter issued a profanity-rich call “to start killing people” including President Trump. The speaker also ranted against “white supremacy,” “capitalism,” “patriarchy,” and “anti-blackness,” dropping the F-bomb 55 times in the tirade.
Last July, Micah X. Johnson, a sniper sympathetic to the movement’s goals shot and killed five Dallas area cops before being killed. Johnson’s shooting spree took place the day after Castile died and some say it may have served as a catalyst for the mass murder which happened during a Black Lives Matter march.
FrontPage readers need to be cautioned that so far Turner’s statement is uncorroborated. It is unclear if authorities are even investigating Turner’s story. A telephone call and emails seeking comment from the U.S. Department of Justice had not been returned at time of writing.
Castile, 32 at the time of his death, was an elementary school cafeteria employee with a long list of traffic infractions but no criminal convictions. The sheriff of Hennepin County, Minn., issued a concealed-carry permit for a pistol to Castile in 2015. He had a handgun in his vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.
The video was published a day after Yanez, who has been described as a Mexican-American, entered “not guilty” pleas to three felony charges arising from the shooting: one count of second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. His trial is reportedly scheduled to begin May 30.
In November, Ramsey County Attorney John J. Choi (D) explained to reporters why the prosecution of Yanez was going forward.
“Philando Castile was not resisting or fleeing. He was respectful and compliant. He volunteered, in good faith, that he had a firearm ― beyond what the law requires,” Choi said. “His dying words were in protest that he wasn’t reaching for his gun.”
Turner, who posted the 19-and-a-half minute video under the name “Divisive Legend,” said he joined Black Lives Matter after the Nov. 15, 2015 police-involved shooting death of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man in Minneapolis. Clark reportedly shot a police officer and then, in turn, was shot.
Turner got involved with the Saint Paul BLM group after being assured the group was peaceful and “didn’t hate whites.”
He participated in the “4th Precinct shutdown,” an 18-day protest outside a police station in north Minneapolis against the Clark shooting.
But as time wore on, local BLM leaders began speaking in openly racist terms and advocating violent means to accomplish their political objectives.
The things that I heard from the people involved in the movement and the things that I saw from the people involved in the movement, opened my eyes to Black Lives Matter a lot, and it caused me to do a lot more research into the movement’s history and into the actual issues that they were out there protesting.
One person “essentially was saying that the reason police were killing blacks is because they feel their white privilege is threatened and they need to eliminate blacks by committing genocide through the police.”
“I had a debate with one of the actual lead organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement in Saint Paul,” Turner said. During the discussion “I was called a racist, and I was called an Uncle Tom because I said that blacks need to address the killing of each other just like they need to address the killings by police that are racially motivated, because there is racism in the United States. There’s racism everywhere.”
The organizer said if Yanez was not charged, “they will burn down the governor’s mansion. And then there was talk as well about going beyond that and burning down the mansions that are on Summit Avenue with the governor’s mansion.”
It was explained that they needed “to burn down what these white people have and they need to attack the white privilege so their voices can be heard.”
Another organizer “mentioned burning down city hall, he mentioned burning down the Capitol building, he mentioned burning down the police station,” Turner said.
He said one organizer rationalized excluding journalists from their protests because it was “white media” who would “only show the protesters being violent.”
“They did not want the media to be able to say and expose the same things that I am saying now.”
“CNN is the only media they really approved of, is the liberal media, because the liberal media held back a lot of the things Black Lives Matter was actually doing,” he said.
In addition to razing the governor’s mansion, sections of downtown Saint Paul, and the police department, people in Black Lives Matter wanted to hit white people in the suburbs, according to Turner.
They were talking about going out to the white suburban area of Roseville, Minn., and burning down the suburban areas out there if Philando Castile [sic] was not charged. Police were scared to even come in and do anything to the organizers because they afraid of being called racist. The police were afraid to do their jobs.
Turner says he was eventually “kicked out” of the BLM movement “because I was voicing things that went against their narrative.”
The Castile case itself is complicated.
Castile was pulled over in Falcon Heights, a suburb of Saint Paul, after a police officer said the two adults in the car might be robbery suspects, the Star Tribune reported.
“The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery,” the unidentified officer said in police audio. “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose. I couldn’t get a good look at the passenger.”
During the stop Castile was reportedly shot seven times. He died in a hospital soon after.
Sitting beside the mortally wounded man and with her four-year-old daughter in the back seat, Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, live-streamed and calmly narrated about 10 minutes of what appeared to be the immediate aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. The video was seen by at least three million people and followed by violent protests in the Saint Paul-Minneapolis area.
Reynolds said Castile was trying to retrieve his wallet after informing police he was in possession of a concealed weapon and a permit allowing him to carry it. “He let the officer know that he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said. She told Yanez in the Facebook video, “You told him to get his ID, sir – his driver’s license.”
Lawyers for Yanez say that the officer thought his life was in danger after he spotted Castile's gun and that he ignored a police command to remain motionless. They also said Castile was under the influence of marijuana at the time. They argue Castile was “culpably negligent and was the substantial cause of his own demise.”
It is far from clear what will happen at Yanez’s trial.
By the time a jury gets to the bottom of the incident, it may be proven that Castile was uncooperative, even aggressive toward the police, and that his death was unavoidable.
Castile could also be revealed to be a Second Amendment martyr killed by an overzealous police officer.
But whatever happens, more civil unrest is likely on the way from the Black Lives Matter movement.