Newspaper article

Charges Dropped against Organizers of Black Lives Matter Protest at Mall of America

Newspaper article

Charges Dropped against Organizers of Black Lives Matter Protest at Mall of America

Article excerpt

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill has dismissed charges against the 11 organizers of last winter's Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America, which shut down parts of the mall five days before Christmas. But charges against 17 of the demonstrators for trespassing and obstruction were upheld and trials will be scheduled, he said.

The Dec. 20 event had been called to bring attention to national cases involving police shootings and attracted about 2,000 protesters.

The Bloomington City Attorney's office filed misdemeanor charges against the leaders for aiding and abetting trespass, aiding and abetting unlawful assembly, and aiding and abetting disorderly conduct.

Even while dismissing the charges against the organizers, Judge Cahill, who is a former Hennepin County prosecutor, did note that the mall is private property and that "no citizen and no group possesses a constitutional right under either the United States or Minnesota Constitution to conduct political demonstrations at the MOA over the express objection of MOA ownership and management."

He wrote in the decision:

Although the BLM demonstration was unauthorized and went forward over the express objection of MOA management, nothing about it was subversive. It was, in fact, highly publicized. As some might say, that was rather the point.

He also wrote:

Although the MOA did not authorize the demonstration, the manner in which MOA management and security officers acted during the first thirty minutes of the demonstration evinces a tacit decision to allow a brief demonstration before MOA management took affirmative, decisive action requiring everyone present in the locked-down, east side to leave the mall. There is no evidence in this case that any of the Leader/Organizers actively opposed BPD or MOA security officers' efforts to force everyone to leave the mall after that decision was announced after 2:30 p. …

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