'Outrageous and Totalitarian': Mall of America Sues to Block Black Lives Matter Protest
But organizers said they have 'no plans to halt the demonstration' planned for Wednesday, December 23
Black Lives Matter organizers say they have no plans to back down from a racial justice protest planned for Wednesday, despite the Mall of America using "outrageous and totalitarian" tactics in an attempt to stop the demonstration.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) Minneapolis said Monday morning that Mall of America (MOA) has filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against four individual activists and four "John Does" to prevent the upcoming protest.
The suit requires that organizers "immediately" post messages on social media and send out a mass text message announcing that the December 23rd event—intended to focus on the November police killing of 24-year-old Minneapolis black man Jamar Clark—is cancelled.
"Defendants and their agents are ordered to delete and take down any online materials, including Facebook, messages on Twitter, and online messages in any other form, that solicit or encourage others to engage in any demonstration on MOA Premises on December 23, 2015 or that provide information about the planned demonstration on MOA Premises on December 23, 2015," says the document.
According to BLM, the eight defendants received letters at their homes on Friday, which threatened arrest if the demonstration continues as planned. A hearing for the mall's request is scheduled for 2 pm Monday in Hennepin County District Court.
"The Mall of America continues to seek to bar free speech for the community on its premises despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies which it has used to appropriate the traditional public forum in service of its own corporate profit," BLM Minneapolis said in a statement on Monday. "The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals."
Last year's MOA protest, held December 20, 2014, saw an estimated 3,000 people flood the mall's rotunda demanding an "end to police brutality and racial inequities affecting Black and brown Minnesotans."
Protesters were not only aggressively confronted by law enforcement and heavily prosecuted by the Bloomington attorney's office, but they were also, it was later revealed, preemptively spied on by local police and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The latest controversy comes just weeks after police bulldozed the 18-day occupation of the 4th Precinct where community members were demanding justice for Jamar Clark, who was unarmed when he was shot on November 15.
During one of many protests in the wake of Clark's killing, five demonstrators were shot by gunmen who witnesses said were voicing white supremacist sentiments.
In their statement Monday, BLM organizers said they have "no plans to halt the demonstration unless authorities release the tapes related to Jamar Clark's case, prosecute police without a grand jury by special prosecutor, and bring federal terrorism charges against white supremacists who shot five protesters during the occupation."
Free speech and racial justice advocates are expressing outrage online under the hashtag #MOASueMeToo: