Mall of America officials are asking Hennepin County District Court judge to bar Black Lives Matter demonstrators from protesting on mall grounds.
Black Lives Matter protesters vowed on Monday to demonstrate at the Mall of America on the busy shopping day before Christmas Eve.
Regardless of whether a judge grants the mall’s request to bar them from doing so. Black Lives Matter organizers said in a statement Monday that the demonstration will proceed as planned unless their demands are met. The demands call for videos of Clark’s shooting to be released and for the appointment of a special prosecutor to decide whether the involved officers shooting should be tried, rather than leaving the decision up to a grand jury.
Miski Noor, one of the organizers, said after a hearing Monday about the mall’s request for a temporary restraining order that the protest would take place Wednesday, no matter what.
“We’re not going to be canceling the protest,” she told reporters after the hearing in Hennepin County District Court. “Us not showing up and us not speaking would be the mall winning.”
The protesters want to demonstrate at the country’s biggest mall to draw attention to the Nov. 15 police killing of a black Minneapolis man, Jamar Clark, and to ramp up the pressure on investigators to release video of the shooting. Authorities say they won’t release it while state and federal investigations are ongoing.
The mall wants to avoid the type of disruption caused by a Christmas-time demonstration last year, when thousands of protesters angry over the absence of charges involving police killings of unarmed black men.
The mall filed a request for a temporary restraining order last week, arguing that the mall is private property thus immune from unwanted protests. Mall of America sued eight activists with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, prohibiting the organizers from protesting at the mall and requiring them to delete promotional social media posts.
But Black Lives Matter Minneapolis says they’re not backing down.
“The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals,” the organization said in a statement Monday, calling the mall’s demonstration ban a violation of 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.