Red Wing, Blooming Prairie residents took part in Capitol rally that turned violent

One participant said he was there to peacefully protest.

Melody Black, of Red Wing, waves to passersby as part of a Patriot Day Cruise event Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, on the pedestrian bridge over U.S. Highway 52 in Rochester. (Joe Ahlquist /
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Two area residents, one from Red Wing, the other Blooming Prairie, were among the thousands who participated in the Jan. 6 rally that turned into a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, leading to a second impeachment effort against President Trump

Melody Marie Black of Red Wing was captured in a news video outside the Capitol Building, sometime during or after the the building was ransacked, forcing legislators to flee for their lives and disrupting the counting of electoral votes certifying Joe Biden's win.

"This is our America, and we're here to fight for our freedom," Black says on the video. "It is not their America. It is our America."

RELATED: At least 25 domestic terrorism cases opened as result of assault on Capitol, lawmaker says


Attempts to reach Black by phone or social media were unsuccessful. Red Wing residents who have had run-ins with Black say she has adopted different aliases on Facebook over time, including "Melody Trump."

Another social media post shows a woman who identifies herself as "Melody Marie Black" being kicked off a Delta flight from Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis. "Why are they kicking you off," a passenger asks. "They said I was loud," Black is heard saying in the video. In another video, a distraught and stranded Black is being consoled by others.

Black was interviewed by WCCO last year during dueling demonstrations in Burnsville, Minn., when President Trump visited the state during Tax Day. In that interview, she accused Rep. Ilhan Omar as being part of the terrorist group Hamas and argued that Muslims are trying to take over the government.

"Everyone knew that the Muslims took down those buildings in New York," she said. "They're trying to take over our government – the Muslims are. And you are probably going to report me as 'Fake News.'"

Red Wing Democrats and social justice advocates say Black's ardency for Trump appears to know no bounds. Black would show up at Black Lives Matter vigils held in a Red Wing park, following the death of George Floyd, verbally harassing and screaming at the protesters, said Stacy DeVries, a BLM activist.

Another time, provoked by the sight of a BLM protest in the downtown, Black jumped out of her car and began waving flags, two in each hand, while dressed head-to-toe in American flag gear. DeVries said the participants in the vigil tried to explain to her that the protest was not about politics but about treating people humanely.


When, in the days leading up to the election, Democrats held flag-waving rallies on a pedestrian bridge in support of Biden, Black would get out of her car and "verbally harass us," said Ceri Everett, a Red Wing DFL activist. Sometimes, she would stand in the middle of the highway beneath the bridge, and wave a Trump flag as if to negate the Democrat politicking on the bridge.

"It's like, how can you be so wrapped up into someone that they don't know?" DeVries asked about Black's attitude toward Trump. "You know what I mean? You have no personal connection to this man other than he's our president."

Chad Rafdal of Blooming Prairie also attended last week's rally to show his support for Trump, taking a daylong drive to reach the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Rafdal declined to be interviewed by the Post Bulletin, but he emphasized in a Facebook message that he was there to peacefully protest.

"I had nothing to do with and wanted nothing to do with the destruction that happened," Rafdal said, adding that he has had several death threats since giving an interview to WCCO Radio.

Rafdal posted this live video while at the U.S. Capitol:

Rafdal said during the WCCOO interview that he considers himself a Trump supporter, but his real motivation for going to the "Stop the Steal" rally was his belief that "there's lots of evidence that something's fishy with this election."

Rafdal said that when the mood of the rally became unruly and a mob of rioters broke into the Capitol, he did not participate. Rafdal said he was close enough that he and others got pepper-sprayed. He said he was "heartbroken" and "disheartened" by the turn of events.


"Just like the riots and stuff this summer in Minneapolis, you know, it's not everybody was there to cause destruction, so we shouldn't lump everybody together," he told WCCO. "I accept how (Wednesday) went. It wasn't picture perfect. I do think we've been heard. I do think some eyes were opened. I mean, we never want violence, we never want stuff like that, you know. We got to be able to get together before it gets to that point."

Matthew Stolle has been a Post Bulletin reporter since 2000 and covered many of the beats that make up a newsroom. In his first several years, he covered K-12 education and higher education in Rochester before shifting to politics. He has also been a features writer. Today, Matt jumps from beat to beat, depending on what his editor and the Rochester area are producing in terms of news. Readers can reach Matthew at 507-281-7415 or
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