In Minnesota, the Mall of America tried to keep Black Lives Matter protestors from demonstrating during their money-making Christmas season by delivering a restraining order against the group. It sorta worked and it sorta didn’t.
Last year, a few thousand BLM activists protested inside the mall chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” a cry taken from protestors after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the fatal choking of Eric Garner in 2014, and other deaths of unarmed blacks across the country. Their efforts forced nearly 80 shops to close and 25 people were arrested. Later, the Mall tried to sue BLM for $40,000 in lost revenue but eventually dropped the case. Needless to say, the relationship between BLM and the Mall is contentious.
This year, the Mall asked a judge to block the group from demonstrating inside their facility and force Black Lives Matter to cancel their scheduled protest for Wednesday and discontinue social media posts attracting supporters, according to Vox. Minnesota law states that the Mall is private property and can ban demonstrations if the establishment likes. But BLM is undeterred.
“If we don’t get justice for Jamar Clark and Black Minnesotans, we will return to the Mall of America,” the group wrote on Facebook. “We have endured an armed white supremacist terrorist attack where 5 of us were shot; police violence in the form of mace, batons, and less lethal projectiles; over 50 arrests on highway 94 and at the 4th Precinct; and freezing temperatures to demand justice for Jamar Clark. If it’s not clear yet: we won’t stop until we get it.”
According to Fox News, the Mall kind of got what it wanted when Hennepin County District Court Judge Karen Janisch blocked three BLM organizers from demonstrating. However, because BLM is such a large, disparate organization, it’s tough to ban everyone.
“The Court does not have a sufficient basis to issue an injunction as to Black Lives Matters or to unidentified persons who may be acting as its agents or in active concert with the Black Lives Matters movement,” she wrote.
The judge also ruled that organizers didn’t have to remove their social media posts organizing and encouraging others to show up on Wednesday. However, an attorney for the Mall was still pleased with the decision.
“This ruling makes it clear that even before today, Mall of America has the right to say, ‘No, you cannot demonstrate here,’ and that it is a violation of the law to do so,” Susan Gaertner said. She said she hopes that not only the organizers but anyone else who is thinking of coming to the mall “and breaking the law will think better of it.”
What ended up happening: As the New York Daily News notes, the protest Wednesday afternoon started at the Mall before moving to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after police ordered protestors to leave. Some stores closed before the rally began.
In November, police fatally shot an unarmed black man named Jamar Clark during a confrontation. Wednesday’s protest is aimed at highlighting this incident and pushing local cops to release video of Clark’s interaction with cops before his death.
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