I’d call it environmental terrorism. Its one thing to protest, this is ridiculous. Freakshow on steroids.
Protesters arrested after unfurling banner during Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium
By BRIAN MURPHY | email@example.com
PUBLISHED: January 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm | UPDATED: January 2, 2017 at 10:38 am
Controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline unspooled at U.S. Bank Stadium during Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game when two people using climbing ropes and harnesses rappelled from a truss and hung a banner demanding the stadium sponsor divest itself from the stalled energy project before being arrested.
The protesters dangled next to the 40-foot-high vertical sign bearing the stadium sponsor’s logo from the start of the second quarter until the end of Minnesota’s 38-10 victory. One of the climbers, identified by Minneapolis police as Karl Mayo, even answered his cellphone to conduct an interview with the Pioneer Press.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” said Mayo, 32, who identified himself as Karl Zimmermann.
He talked while hanging several hundred feet in the air wearing his Brett Favre No. 4 Vikings home jersey.
Mayo declined to answer logistical questions about pulling off the stunt in front of 66,808 football fans. The meaningless game between two NFC North Division also-rans was not interrupted but the spectacle went viral on social media and caused a stir in the stadium.
“That was interesting,” said Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. “They got some (guts), that’s for sure.”
Karl Scogin Zimmerman. Karl Zimmerman, 32, who was identified by police as Karl Mayo, was among three people arrested in connection with a protest during the Jan. 1. 2017, Minnesota Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Protesters climbed onto a stadium truss and unfurled a banner in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipleline project and U.S. Banks investment in it.
Carolyn Feldman, 27, identified by police as also being involved in the incident, was arrested and booked into the jail on suspicion of obstructing the legal process, a misdemeanor.
All three were held without bond Sunday night.
About six rows of seats in Section 102 were evacuated below the protesters while dozens of police officers, crisis negotiators, firefighters and stadium security officers swarmed the base of the truss to strategize how to get the protesters down safely.
During the second half, as fans used their smartphones to take pictures and video of the climbers, several rescue workers climbed the truss and assembled on a catwalk over the pair. A Vikings source said law enforcement decided not to engage with the climbers until after the game to avoid a televised confrontation.
Mayo and Holiday separately descended from the truss about 10 minutes after the game ended at 3 p.m. as the Counting Crows song “Hangin’ Around” blared from the loudspeakers. They were handcuffed without incident as lingering fans cheered and heckled them.
Minneapolis police said it would meet with stadium officials, including the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), the Vikings, Monterrey Security and SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management, to investigate the breach.
Another team source said the protesters might have entered the stadium through separate gates and that one or both of them smuggled the bungee cord and canvas banner under their coats and avoided a pat down after getting through metal detectors.
No one was injured during the protest, police said, including the protesters, who were examined by medical personnel on site before being booked into jail.
It was not immediately clear how Mayo and Holiday smuggled the large banner and climbing equipment into U.S. Bank Stadium, which limits tote bags to 12-by-6-by-12 inches of clear plastic for fans entering the gates.
SMG issued a statement during the protest saying the climbers appeared to scale a guard rail surrounding the truss.
After the climbers unfurled the banner, activist spokeswoman Nina Roberson identified them as Holiday and Karl “Zimmermann” in a news release demanding U.S. Bank pull $175 million in financing to the company building the pipeline.
A U.S. Bank spokesman declined comment Sunday night.
Roberson provided a cellphone for Mayo, who followed instructions by the Pioneer Press to wave his left hand before conducting the interview during second quarter.
Mayo refused to answer questions about how he smuggled in the banner and climbing equipment, whether he had help from inside the stadium, his climbing expertise or how dangerous the protest was.
“No comment. I’m here to talk about Dakota Access Pipeline and U.S. Bank,” he said, pausing between fits of crowd noise. “This is not nearly as risky as a pipeline going under the Missouri River or as dangerous for any communities of Standing Rock.”
More than two hours after the game ended, the banner still hung from the truss.
The $3.8 billion pipeline that is to carry North Dakota oil 1,200 miles to Illinois is stalled while Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners and the Army battle in federal court over permission for the pipeline to cross under the Missouri River, according to the Associated Press.
The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters say the pipeline violates treaty rights and threatens cultural sites and drinking water; ETP says the pipeline will be safe.
“We are here in solidarity with water protectors from Standing Rock to urge U.S. Bank to divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Holiday said in the prepared statement.