Black Lives Matter Protest

In the next few days, the Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson plans to file criminal charges against the organizers of last Saturday’s protest at Mall of America, according to CBS Minneapolis.

On the busiest shopping day of the year last weekend, Mall Of America went into a partial shutdown for about two hours. About 3000 protesters filled the rotunda. The group, “Black Lives Matter” chose the mall for its high visibility, but was warned repeatedly that it was private property. Mall officials are reportedly gathering estimates of how much money the stores lost on Saturday.

Combined with the amount of overtime put in by police, Johnson said the cost of the disruption will be “staggering.” She wants the protest organizers to pay.

Protesters say it was the police who shut down the mall when the chanting began last Saturday. Officers locked down about 80 stores and several mall entrances. In the area of the rotunda, where the protests were concentrated, business came to a halt for about two hours.

Johnson has a history of attempting to criminalize political speech. In September 2012, she clashed with conservative activists attempting to distribute lawn signs to supporters at Bloomington city hall after hours. Johnson instructed Bloomington police to have ProtectMyVote.com personnel removed from the city hall parking lot, arguing that because the building is used for “polling” during election years, that political speech is illegal was illegal at the site.

Bloomington Attorney Email Correspondence

As far as the Mall of America assembly, she seems to believe that the crowded gathering was ripe for violence.

“This was a powder keg just waiting for a match,” Johnson said about the peaceful protests.

Apparently, no match was thrown, however.

Only 12 arrests occurred and the gathering of thousands of supporters chanted and sang peacefully. No injuries or property damage was reported. Lena K. Gardner from “Black Lives Matter” said several groups, including several faith leaders, took part in organizing Saturday’s protest. “We came to sing carols and raise awareness,” she said, “and the Bloomington police are the ones who shut down the mall, not us.”

Garner says the protest was in the same spirit as an event last year, when thousands gathered in the rotunda to sing a song written by a young man who died of cancer. She thinks the mall have welcome the group and its message.

The City Attorney says she is now building criminal cases against the protest organizers. She’s holding a grudge against the even organizers. She wants restitution for money lost by the mall, the city and police agencies.

She believes the protest was criminal.

“The main perpetrators are those who continued on their Facebook site to invite people illegally to the Mall of America,” she said.

Police are looking at the group’s social media posts, as well as video from inside the mall.

“Who led that march through the Mall of America?” said Johnson. “If we can identify those people who were inciting others to continue with this illegal activity, we can consider charges against them too.”

Will she include people who tweeted images and retweeted information on the protest?

If so, that’s going to be an awfully long list of culprits.

  • Pedro

    Private property means something. Maybe she looked at the majority of other “protests” (looting and burning) and thought it was a bad idea. I am all for 1st A rights and protest, private property is just that, private. Maybe they should stage a “die in” on the 14th street bridge again and block the hospitals staff from getting to work. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    • Libby Sherburne

      The “majority” of the other protests had looting and burning? There was no looting and burning in NY. Where else beside Ferguson MO did this happen?

      • Pedro

        Let me see . . . Berkeley, CA off the top of my head. Murdering of police officers in NY and FL. Go Google it. Merry Christmas!

        • razzytaz

          I agree. Right now something has to give. Not all cops are bad. You have to stop things before they get out of hand. Those two police officers were ambushed and murdered in their car. This was private property and they should be held accountable.

    • Bitterpeace

      When the police only shoot and kill unarmed people on public land, then private property protests can be off limits.

  • Dodie Peterson

    She’s not criminalizing political speech. These people committed a crime – trespassing at the very least – and they cost those businesses a lot of money. That should not be allowed.

    • razzytaz

      I agree 100%. I don’t believe that the police are to blame on this one. The police were just trying to stop something before it started. Right now we are living in a real scary world.

      • freakycatlady

        Yes we are and I just see the flames of the fires spewing from these people getting worse over time. It seems like people don’t realize that adult temper tantrums come with consequences.

    • AquaMadMan

      Good fucking gods, get a life and an education, and move the fuck out of my country, we don’t need ignorant fascist asswipes like you here.

  • Bitterpeace

    All of these people commenting seem to miss the point of a protest.

    • Sy Colepath

      They do, indeed.

  • Spiderwoman

    I can understand that it is unfair to the business owners to lose money at a time of year where it makes the most difference in whether they stay afloat for the rest of the year, but I can also see the point in the protests here. Protests don’t work if they don’t inconvenience people enough for them to take notice and see what the power of the people really means.

  • AquaMadMan

    Too all the ignorant right wing drones who post their drivel here, mall of America exists because of public funding and tax breaks, it is policed, not by a private police force, but by city police paid for by tax payers, it in fact has a police precinct inside of it. It may be held by a private trust, but that private trusts profits from the largess of tax payers.

    • Zark Arfillo

      So what. They were warned repeatedly not to break the law or they would be charged. They even were notified in writing. They broke the law and now they need to be charged and penalized. I hope the city attorney throws the book at them and the MOA wins a civil lawsuit for losses. If this crime is not prosecuted then future protests will occur at the MOA.