Mall of America could be thwarted from conducting business today as Black Lives Matter protesters continue with plans to converge on the massive shopping complex. On Tuesday, a judge refused to grant the request of the privately-owned complex to bar the protesters from disturbing the peace at the largest mall in the country.
Black Lives Matters organizers have urged supporters to show up at the Mall of America to register their angst over the Jamar Clark police shooting. The 24-year-old Minneapolis man was shot and killed during an assault complaint call in November.
— Independent US (@IndyUSA) December 23, 2015
The Bloomington, Minnesota, police may have beefed up security efforts in advance of the Mall of America Black Lives Matter protest, but department officials are not sharing details of any such efforts with the media. Although Hennepin County District Court Judge Karen Janisch did not grant a court order to stop the protest from taking place on private property, she did bar three of the event organizers from participating in the demonstration, MSN reports.
Kandace Montgomery, one of the three banned Black Lives Matter organizers, said that she fully anticipated a minimum of 700 protesters to show up at the Mall of America today.
“We are a leader-full organization. Just barring three of us does not mean that you’ve stopped our work,” Montgomery added.
“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,” Judge Janisch wrote in her decision.
Although some agree that the court does not have the authority to issue a restraining order to prevent possible illegal action by unknown individuals or groups, few have expressed doubt that the highly-publicized Black Lives Matter rally will keep shoppers away from the Mall of America on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. If stores close early due to the protest and lack of customers, it is not likely that the employees at the mall shops, eateries, and amusements will garner a full paycheck this week. During a similarly planned protest on December 23 last year, stores closed early and dozens of protesters were arrested.
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) December 23, 2015
Mall of America attorney Susan Gaertner also failed to secure an order from the judge designed to force Black Lives Matter protest organizers to remove posts urging supporters to show up at the shopping center from social media. The argument that such social media posts supported illegal activity, in this case disturbing the peace and trespassing, was trumped by the lawyer for the organizers citing free speech rights.
Susan Gaertner told the media that she was pleased that even the limited ruling by the judge hearing the Mall of America restraining order case does clearly note that demonstrations on private property are against the law. She added that mall owners are not making a judgment about the Black Lives Matter message — only to the venue they have chosen to express themselves.
“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,” Gaertner added.
What do you think about the Black Lives Matter Mall of America protest plans and the judge’s ruling in the case?
[Photo by PRNewsfoto/AP]