[News] Mall of America tries to block Black Lives Matter protest

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Dec 21 14:49:21 EST 2015

  Mall of America tries to block Black Lives Matter protest

By Marino Eccher
meccher at pioneerpress.com 
<mailto:meccher at pioneerpress.com?subject=TwinCities.com:>
12/21/2015 <mailto:meccher at pioneerpress.com?subject=TwinCities.com:>
<mailto:meccher at pioneerpress.com?subject=TwinCities.com:>

The Mall of America is taking Black Lives Matter Minneapolis activists 
to court in an effort to head off a protest planned for Wednesday.

The group has announced plans to demonstrate over the fatal shooting of 
Jamar Clark in the mall's East Rotunda.

The privately owned mall forbids protests and has called the plans 
illegal. It is hoping to prevent the type of disruption that thousands 
of protesters caused last year, when stores had to temporarily close and 
dozens of people were arrested.

Letters sent by the Mall of America to four of Black Lives Matter 
organizers last week said protesters would be removed and potentially 
arrested if the event continued as planned, the organization said.

On Monday, the mall requested a temporary restraining order to force 
activists to call off the protest. Black Lives Matter called the action 
an "unconstitutional suit." The order prohibits four named activists, 
four unnamed parties, "their agents, and all persons in active concert 
or participation with them" from demonstrating on mall property without 
permission, according to court documents posted on Facebook by Black 
Lives Matter Minneapolis.

The order also seeks to block the defendants from "soliciting or 
encouraging others" to demonstrate without permission, to order them to 
take down online and social media postings that encourage the protest, 
and to immediately post on social media that the protest has been canceled.


"Mall of America supports BLM's First Amendment right to free 
expression, but courts have clearly ruled that right may not be 
exercised on private property without the consent of the property 
owner," the mall's attorney wrote.

The documents were served Monday. A hearing for the mall's request is 
scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday in Hennepin County District Court.

The planned protest comes a year after a similar demonstration in which 
2,000 to 3,000 people gathered at the mall as part of nationwide 
protests over police killings of black men in Missouri and New York. The 
demonstration, which was peaceful, temporarily closed about 80 stores 
and resulted in two-dozen arrests.

A Hennepin County judge last month dismissed unlawful assembly and other 
charges against 11 organizers of the protest, but allowed trespass and 
obstruction charges to proceed against 17 participants who refused to 
leave when mall security and protest organizers tried to end the assembly.

Jamar Clark was shot during a Nov. 15 confrontation with two police 
officers who responded to a report of a North Minneapolis assault in 
which Clark was a suspect. Authorities said he was interfering with 
paramedics who were trying to treat the victim. Clark died the next day.

Some who witnessed the incident say Clark was handcuffed when shot. 
Police officials dispute that, and the police union has said Clark had 
grabbed an officer's handgun from its holster.

The shooting is being investigated by state and federal authorities, who 
have refused to release video footage of the incident, saying that to do 
so would compromise the probe.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is demanding the release of the video; 
prosecution of the police involved without the involvement of a grand 
jury; and federal domestic terrorism charges against four suspected 
white supremacists accused of shooting five protesters after Clark's death.

Absent those conditions, "organizers have no plans to halt the 
demonstration," the group said.


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