According to CBS Minneapolis, a local chapter of the Black Lives Matter movement declared on Thursday this week that they will make a return to the Mall of America during this Christmas shopping season to protest the fatal shooting of a black man, Jamar Clark, by Minneapolis police. Clark, 24, was shot on November 15 during what authorities described as a struggle. Some witnesses who claim they saw the shooting insist that Clark was handcuffed at the time. State and federal investigations are currently underway.
Black Lives Matter protesters say that they are going to hold a rally at the Mall of America just two days before Christmas, on Wednesday the 23, unless authorities can meet their demands — which includes releasing all of the video footage showing the shooting. A list of the demands were posted on their Facebook page.
The police have said the video footage cannot be released while the investigation is ongoing, simply due to the fact that in doing so, their work up until this point could be compromised. In addition, Black Lives Matter protesters want a special prosecutor to be appointed for the case, instead of having a grand jury weighing in on whether or not the officers involved in Clark’s fatal shooting should be charged. Federal terrorism charges are also on their list of demands. They’re wanting charges against four men who shot at protesters in November, leaving five protesters injured. This second demonstration at the Mall of America is going to be peaceful, according to the organizers.
The Mall of America is private property and does not allow protests and has the right to ban them if they choose to. Susan Gaertner, the mall’s attorney, confirmed this from Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter Cahill.
“Mall of America will continue to prohibit protests on its property no matter how righteous the cause might be,” Gaertner said. “They do that in order to protect the safety and experience of its guests.”
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis chapter organizer Miski Noor says that the protesters will be holding these demonstrations to seek justice for Jamar Clark.
“If it’s not clear yet: we won’t stop until we get it,” Noor said in a statement. “Though they destroyed the community space we created, they can’t destroy our resolve to fight until we get justice for Jamar Clark and liberation for black people.”
Mall of America officials seem to be in somewhat of an antagonistic relationship with the Black Lives Matter protesters, sending them mixed signals as to whether or not they plan to definitively try and stop the protests. In response, BLM Minneapolis took to their Facebook page to deliver a very defiant message.
“Although they destroyed our occupation, they will not destroy our spirits. If we don’t get justice for Jamar Clark and Black Minnesotans, we will return to the Mall of America. 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.”
In 2014, the first protest gathering at the Mall of America were able to bring in nearly 3,000 people. Over 80 stores at the Mall had no choice but to temporarily close until the crowds left. In November, Judge Cahill dismissed unlawful assembly and other charges against eleven of the protesters in a 137-page ruling.
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)