BLOOMINGTON, MN – The group “Black Lives Matter Minneapolis” could be facing charges for disrupting commerce and shopping at the Mall of America after a protest they arranged there last weekend.
According to reports out of the Twin Cities, Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson is working on filing criminal charges against the group. She is working with mall officials to determine losses to stores that were incurred due to the protests, which took place at the mall’s rotunda.
“The main perpetrators are those who continued on their Facebook site to invite people illegally to the Mall of America,” Johnson told WCCO in Minneapolis. The financial losses could be “staggering”.
3000 community members including families, clergy, and youth gathered Saturday at the Mall of America rotunda to sing songs and chant demanding an end to police brutality and the racial inequities people of color face. Dozens of arrests were made.
“Today’s protest was our biggest success yet,” said Mica Grimm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis. “Thousands of people stood together, refused to be intimidated, and disrupted business as usual on the busiest shopping day of the year at the biggest mall in the country. As long as innocent Black and brown lives are disrupted by police without consequence, we cannot go about business as usual.”
Police and security decided to shut down stores and entrances across the entire mall for hours in response, and as the singing ended and participants began to exit, police in full riot gear confronted the crowd.
In response to the possibility of charges, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis released the following statement Tuesday, December 23:
The Mall of America and Bloomington Police decided to shut down stores during a peaceful gathering on Saturday where 3000 community members sang carols and chants dedicated to black youth slain by the police.
City of Bloomington attorney Sandra Johnson says she will seek restitution for “loss of profits” and police resources from young people of color she claims to identify as organizers. These carols honoring Black youths Tamir Rice and Mike Brown should have been welcomed with same the warmth and spirit of generosity as the 7,000+ gathering to sing in honor of a young white man who lost his life to cancer. Instead Saturday’s group was met with riot gear.
As a community, we are saddened by Mall of America and attorney Johnson’s decision to misdirect public resources to protect corporate profits instead of supporting justice for Black people at this critical time in our nation’s history.
It’s clear that the Bloomington City government, at the behest of one of the largest centers of commerce in the country, hopes to set a precedent that will stifle dissent and instill fear into young people of color and allies who refuse to watch their brothers and sisters get gunned down in the streets with no consequences.
We also must be clear: #BlackXmas was not organized by any individual or small group, but was a collective response and effort by the 3,000 community members and families in attendance who can no longer remain silent to the injustices perpetrated upon their communities.