BLM sign ripped from woman’s hands at Maple River game; the police intervene | Local News


MAPLETON – A woman holding a Black Lives Matter sign at a Maple River High School football game on Friday night snatched it from her hands and threw it on the sidelines, triggering an investigation by the Mapleton Police Department.

Laura Nusser, who has two sons on the soccer team, said she chose to sit in the student section with her sign due to an incident her child alleged earlier today.

One of her sons, both biracial, reportedly told her that a classmate made an offbeat comment during a homecoming activity about her leaving to wait behind mostly white students.

She told The Free Press that she wanted the students of the game to know that some of their classmates think derogatory statements are funny.

Nusser called the school counselor about the incident on Friday afternoon and was not satisfied with the response.

Ted Simon, Director of the Maple River

“I communicated with our advisor that evening, our superintendent and everyone, so we are aware of what – there are issues that we don’t yet know the details of,” said Ted Simon, director of the Maple River High and Middle School. , Monday morning.

“And that’s basically what we need to do: investigate and know for sure what’s going on. “

On Friday night, Nusser grabbed a Black Lives Matter sign she made last year and headed for the football game, leaving her in the car until the second quarter.

A Facebook video (Editor’s Note. This video will not display until Facebook is back online) taken by a spectator and posted by Dion Thomas, who was picketing outside the high school on Monday morning, shows Nusser sitting and holding the sign above her head when an older man approaches. Seemingly without any direct provocation from Nusser, the man throws himself at the sign with both arms, snatches it from Nusser’s hands as she screams, then throws the sign over a balustrade on the sidelines.

“Adults and students now call him a brave man… I’m told I should never have brought racism to the return game, I should have just put a sign in my backyard,” Nusser wrote on Facebook Friday night. “I didn’t bring racism back home, other students did. I came to the game to support my children.

An officer returned the mutilated sign to him that evening, its bottom slightly torn. He told her he had found it folded up in a trash can.

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Just over 500 students attend Maple River High School, which caters for grades 6 to 12.

Mapleton Constable Andrew Hagen questioned witnesses in the stands and at one point followed Nusser to question the man who took the sign from him, as shown by a 18 minute live Facebook video she posted. (Editor’s Note. This video will not display until Facebook is back online)

Displeased and stunned faces stare at Nusser’s phone camera throughout the video. Many onlookers said aloud that she was lying and told her to go home.

Police forced Nusser out of the area at the request of Maple River school administrators because of his “offensive language,” Mapleton Police Chief Benjamin Honsey said in a press release Sunday.

Throughout her video, which was filmed directly after the incident, Nusser says at various points that most members of the audience are racist while an officer escorts her away from the stands. As she stood in the bleachers, she once called the school parents “crazy”.

Nusser said it was unfair that she was forced to leave when the man, who was shown in her video as having returned to his seat after the incident, was able to stay.

She also claimed that the man pushed her lightly with his fingertips against her chest after taking the sign. She said her hat fell off in the fight for the backboard and kicked it, infuriating him and leading to the alleged push.

Hagen tells him in the video, “He didn’t push you,” saying he spoke to three people who had not corroborated this detail.

The Blue Earth County District Attorney will review the case for possible criminal charges once the police investigation is completed. Police encourage anyone who saw or recorded the incident to call the department at 507-524-3091.

Attempts to reach and identify the man involved were unsuccessful.

“I didn’t really intend it to be like this,” Nusser said of the incident. “I wanted the students to see it – that’s why I was in the student section.”

Standing outside the 500-student high school early Monday morning, the Maple River Schools Superintendent. Dan Anderson said a tripod video camera was installed in the event of “excitement” in response to the incident. Principal Simon and Chief Honsey were also standing nearby.

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Dion Johnson, a 20-year-old former student of Maple River High School, stood outside the school Monday morning with signs reading “Stop Prejudice” and “Be Kind”. He told The Free Press he was disappointed more people hadn’t joined him.

Dion Johnson, a 20-year-old former student in Maple River, stood outside along Silver Street, holding a sign that read “Stop Prejudice,” as well as one showing his support for free speech.

“I was quite upset that this woman was not allowed to express herself using her sign,” he said. “His sign was snatched from his hands and thrown on the ground.”

Dozens of vehicles passed on the busy road before the start of the school day at 8:05 am. A young man drove by in a truck with two Trump flags fluttering in his bed, his window rolled down as he smiled at Johnson.

“I was told there would be a whole convoy of these suckers,” Johnson said.

Teresa Miller, 53, was the only person to join Johnson on the sidewalk.

She had never protested before. But after driving around that morning and sitting at her desk at the local business she owns for a few minutes, she thought, “You know what, I’m going to go hang out with that kid.”

“I have a first year granddaughter here. She’s mixed race, ”Miller said, adding that she had lived in Mapleton her entire life. “She’s the third generation of our family that has gone to Maple River, and I just want her to have a good school to go to and without bias.”

Dan Anderson Mug.jpg

Maple River School Superintendent Dan Anderson

The principal said that when students have concerns about abuse, they are told to share them with the school employee they feel most comfortable with. For student-athletes, this employee is often their coach.

As a superintendent for more than half a dozen years, Anderson said he found students to get along well in Maple River schools. When asked if he disagreed with the existence of pervasive racial issues, he said yes.

“I would say that culturally we have things in our state that we definitely need to work on, and schools are one of them. So we are part of this discussion, ”he said. “Here at school, things are going pretty well.”

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