The Snowman Vs. the Cops
Photo by Danny Ghitis
There’s a rumor on the internet that this photo of longtime MMA heavyweight and avowed anarchist Jeff “The Snowman” Monson squaring off with members of the St. Paul Police Department is actually a picture of Monson conducting a grappling clinic for members of the St. Paul Police Department. To Monson, the rumor is ridiculous, not only because he was there, outside the Target Center during the 2008 Republican National Convention, when the picture was taken but also because police don’t show up for grappling lessons in full riot gear. Also, if you look closely, you can see the cop in the middle has his hand on his Taser, another thing police in seminars don’t do. Monson says the cop was ready to use it, too.
“We were basically blockading the street,” Monson remembers. “And when the busloads of Republican delegates were being unloaded we just wanted to prevent them from going in the Target Center, basically making a human wall. The riot police swept us up and pushed us into a park and then arrested us for a) trespassing, which was strange because we were on a public street, and b) inciting a riot, which was strange because there wasn’t any riot. They had arrested the group of us and I was coming up to the front saying, ‘I’m coming through; you can arrest me.’ I was confronted by the cops saying, ‘No, you’re not coming through.’ I was saying, ‘What right do you have? There’s nobody here rioting. It’s peaceful. Nobody’s throwing rocks, nobody’s doing anything.’ They said, ‘You’re threatening us,’ and I said, ‘How am I threatening you? I’m unarmed. I’m in a tank top. We don’t have any weapons. We’re not doing anything.’ And I said, ‘How can we be trespassing? These delegates have no more right—it’s a public street. How can they walk on the street and we can’t walk on the street?’ That’s when the one police officer put his hand on his Taser and said he was going to Tase me if I tried to go through. I said, ‘It’s not going to look very good if I’m just talking to you and you just Taser me because there are a lot of people with cameras filming everything.’ Literally at that moment, one of the guys got a call on his cell phone saying everyone’s released. Basically, they arrested us long enough for the delegates to get off the bus and get into the Target Center, and then they said, ‘We’re dropping the charges. You guys can go.’”
In the spirit of ideological accuracy, it needs to be mentioned that Monson is really more of an anarchist/socialist than a pure anarchist. Don’t be fooled by the criminal mischief charge he picked up in 2009 for spray-painting an anarchy symbol on the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. He’s a card-carrying member of the International Workers of the World, otherwise known as the Wobblies. Following his loss last November to Fedor Emelianenko, Monson met with anti-fascist groups in Russia and Poland that were made up of anarchists, socialists, and anyone else uncomfortable with the rise of racist nationalism in those countries. One of the dozens of tattoos he has is the hammer and sickle. Unlike most people in the anarchy movement, he sees some value in the state.