Bloomington commissioner calls pro-police event ‘fascist radicalization’

All proceeds from the event went to the family of officer Matt Ryan, who is currently battling Leukemia for a second time. 

Bloomington Patriots hosted its second annual Back the Blue event July 25 at the Bloomington Civic Plaza. (Photo by Rebecca Brannon)

A Bloomington human rights commissioner recently called a pro-police fundraiser for an officer diagnosed with Leukemia “fascist radicalization.”

The second annual Back the Blue event was hosted by the Bloomington Patriots group last Sunday at Bloomington Civic Plaza. All proceeds from the event went to the family of officer Matt Ryan, who is currently battling Leukemia for a second time.

“The organizers try to say it’s a family friendly event. They even raise money for a good cause. But that’s all from the hate group’s planning guide. It’s still fascist radicalization and a refusal to do the work towards a more just community,” Anita Smithson said of the event, according to a Facebook post from Bloomington Patriots.

Smithson currently serves as a human rights commissioner for the Minneapolis suburb. The purpose of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission is to “advise the Bloomington City Council in matters of human rights and equal opportunity for all residents of the city.”

Smithson’s Twitter profile is set to private but Bloomington Patriots obtained several screenshots of her comments about the Back the Blue gathering.

“Bloomington residents deserve safety and security. These people stuck in a cycle of fear and division don’t define us, and don’t speak for us,” she said in one tweet, describing the event as a “fascist organized rally.”

Anita Smithson, Bloomington human rights commissioner

She then belittled a Hispanic city council candidate because of his support for former President Donald Trump.

“As a human rights commissioner, it is her job to ensure that everyone has a voice — that we all have the right to think, speak and assemble freely. Calling us fascists and white supremacists for supporting our police is completely out of line for a human rights commissioner,” Becky Strohmeier, chair of Bloomington Patriots, told the Minnesota Sun.

“Commissioner Anita Smithson needs to be removed from her position on the human rights commission,” she added. “She is far too biased in her personal beliefs to be suitable for the job.”