Black Lives Matter protesters announced they will return to the Mall of America on Dec. 23, the last full day of shopping before Christmas, for a large demonstration. Soon after, the mall filed for a temporary restraining order against the black rights group.
While there was a protest at the mall last year, this time protesters planned to focus more on the police shooting of Jamar Clark.
This kind of demonstration, which can hurt businesses' bottom lines, was also used by BLM protestors in Chicago. The black rights group shut down Michigan Avenue on Black Friday to protest the shooting of Laquan McDonald, which reportedly cost 25-50% loss of sales to the stores there.
Susan Gaertner, the attorney for the mall, emphasizes Mall of America is not trying to stop the civil rights group’s voice, yet the fact remains that it is not an acceptable venue for BML’s demonstration. The protest, at the peak time of Christmas shopping, Gaertner maintains, can compromise the safety and experience of the shoppers.
"The mall is a place to shop, a place for school choirs to sing. Not a place for a demonstration," she said.
Jamar Clark, 24, was fatally shot on Nov. 15, after police responded to a complaint of Clark allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. Clark was on probation at the time for making terrorists threats against another girlfriend earlier in the year. The police claim he was shot because he grabbed the gun of one of the officers. However, the black rights organization insists Clark was first handcuffed and then shot.
The BLM Facebook post demands prosecution of the officers who killed Clark without a grand jury, release of the incriminating tapes, charges of terrorism against the four white suspects who shot five protesters and a safety plan to protect black minorities from police violence.
The decision to protest at the Mall of America has drawn mixed public opinion. While many people support BLM for their stand, many equally condemn them for choosing such a public place for their demonstrations.
Lake Superior is worth visiting in Minnesota, unlike a certain mall #MallOfAmerica— Aguirre (@thewrathofdog) December 21, 2015
The protest last year at the Mall Of America drew a crowd of 3,000 people, forcing 80 stores to close temporarily. Mall officials want the court to place a temporary restraining order on the group this year. Officials also demanded BLM cancel its upcoming protest and delete all reference to the event from social media.