‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirts worn by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx players with a message of “justice and accountability” following the fatal police shootings of Arlon Sterling and Philando Castile — two black men prompted four off-duty Minneapolis police officers to abandon their posts in protest during pre-game warmups at the Target Center on Saturday.

Minneapolis Cops Leave Security Posts At Lynx Game Over ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-Shirts

The officers were working private security for the Lynx’ home game against the Dallas Wings.

“I commend them for it,” said Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Kroll did not know the names of the officers, but said they removed themselves from consideration to work future games.

“Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games,” Kroll told the Star Tribune. “If (the players) are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”

Sterling was shot by police officers outside a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, convenience store last Tuesday. Castile was killed by a suburban St. Paul police officer during a traffic stop on Wednesday. Then, during a peaceful protest in response to both shootings on Thursday in Dallas, five police officers were shot and killed by a heavily armed sniper.

The black t-shirts worn by the three-time WNBA champions read “Change starts with us– Justice & Accountability” on the front. Castile’s and Sterling’s names were printed on the back along with “Black Livves Matter” and a Dallas Police Department emblem.

During a pre-game interview, Lynx star Maya Moore explained their reasons for wearing the shirts.

“If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change,” Moore said during a news conference prior to Saturday’s game. “Tonight we will be wearing shirts to honor and mourn the losses of precious American citizens and to plead for change in all of us.”

“We are highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling,” Moore added via the Star Tribune. She also praised the Dallas Police Department’s efforts to lead the way in “de-escalation training and other efforts that led to a noticeable drop in the number of shootings by officers in the last few years.”

Moore and other players also spoke extensively about the “senseless ambush” on Dallas police.

The Lynx (16-4, 2nd in Western Conference) will next visit the San Antonio Stars on Tuesday afternoon, and their next home game is Friday against the New York Liberty.


PHOTO: MINNEAPOLIS, MN – OCTOBER 14: (L_R) Anna Cruz #51, Sylvia Fowles #34, Seimone Augustus #33, Renee Montgomery #21 and Maya Moore #23 of the Minnesota Lynx celebrate a basket by Montgomery at the end of the third quarter against the Indiana Fever in Game Five of the 2015 WNBA Finals on October 14, 2015 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lynx defeated the Fever 69-52 to win the WNBA Championship.

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