Organizers of the Black Lives Matter movement stated on December 21 that the advocacy group plans to go ahead with a demonstration at the Mall of America in Minnesota. The group is demanding the release of videos of the November 15 police shooting in Minneapolis, and that a special prosecutor decide whether the officers involved should be tried, rather than leaving the matter for a grand jury. “We just don’t want it to be like, ‘Oh, we marched and now we did our part,’” said media coordinator Brettina Davis of the Twin Cities Coalition 4 Justice 4 Jamar Clark, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Her comment referenced the group’s December 19 rally at mall in the suburbs of Minneapolis. “That’s what a lot of people do these days. You have to keep fighting until we get prosecution of the police.”
On December 19, protesters filled the Mall of America and refused to leave despite requests from the owners of the retail space. Police arrests at least 25 persons.
The Mall of America is located near the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport in Bloomington MN - a suburb of the Twin Cities.
The Minneapolis BLM chapter has made numerous demands that echo Democratic Party policy points, such as the institution of a $15 minimum wage, restoring the right to vote to felons, and reforming the practice of police body cameras.
The Mall of America has threatened to sue the Black Lives Matter group should its protest and occupation of the premises take place. The demonstration is planned for December 23 when shoppers are expected to make last minute Christmas purchases. Retail businesses hope to do as much as 30 percent of sales in the last 14 days before Christmas. The mall filed a request for a temporary restraining order. Mall operators argue that their premises are private property and thus immune from unwanted protests. Mall of America is suing eight activists with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, requesting a prohibition of their protest. The mall is also demanding that BLM delete its promotional posts on social media. Jamar Clark – the cousin of Jamar Clark – told the Star Tribune “I don’t think they know how serious we are and how dedicated we have become.”
Despite the law suit, BLM-Minneapolis is unbowed. “The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals,” the organization declared in a December 21 statement, adding that it considers the lawsuit an infringement on the right to free speech.
The organizers have no plans to call off the demonstration. And if approved by a judge, the eight activists could face jail time by refusing to cancel the demonstration on social media. The Mall of America protest has more than just retail sales in jeapordy, because of the lawsuits and restraining orders involved. In a Facebook post, BLM-Minneapolis declared “This year [Mall of America] continue to threaten alleged organizers instead of welcoming the peaceful event, but we’re not stopping until we get justice for Jamar Clark.”
In a Facebook post, the Minneapolis coalition for Jamar Clark is threatening to harass shoppers: “…Black Lives Matter came to remind shoppers of the pain and tragic results of systemic racism in Minneapolis and around the country.” On the day after Thanksgiving, BLM protesters in Chicago did much the same while gathering on the city’s so-called Magnificent Mile. Protesters filled the street on Black Friday to protest the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald (17), who was shot to death in 2014 by a Chicago police officer. Officer Jason Van Dyke is now facing criminal charges in that case. BLM protesters were joined by civil rights luminaries such as Jesse Jackson and called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy.
As a result of the Chicago protest, retail sales were down by 25 to 50 percent because shoppers stayed home or sought to avoid a riot. While he did not cite the protest as the reason for request the resignation of Chief McCarthy, Mayor Emanuel did say that the superintendent is only as "effective as the trust that the community" places in him.