News & Politics

Epic Fizzle: Black Lives Matter Mall of America Demonstration Ends Quickly

image courtesy of Cliff at Flickr

A protest at the Mall of America outside of Minneapolis by Black Lives Matter activists ended almost before it began as police and mall security surrounded the hundred or so protesters and escorted them off the property. One person was arrested.

Reuters:

A demonstration at the Mall of America on Wednesday by protesters angered by the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last month was swiftly broken up by police and mall security on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

About 100 people started to gather in the east atrium of the mall, one of the largest in North America, around 1:30 p.m. (1830 GMT), despite a judge’s warning that the property’s owners could legally block the protest, organized by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Police and mall security quickly moved in, warning any who did not leave they would be arrested for violating mall policy against demonstrations and alerting shoppers that that area of the mall was on lockdown. Police took one man into custody and forced people in the protest area outside into a light snow.

People also lined the tiers on the three floors above the protest, although it was not clear whether they were involved or watching. Some stores locked their doors ahead of the demonstration.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators camped outside a Minneapolis police station for nearly three weeks after a police officer shot Jamar Clark, 24, on Nov. 15. The death of Clark, who was unarmed, has added fuel to an already heated debate over race and justice in the United States following several such killings across the nation in the past year.

Wednesday’s short protest marked the second consecutive year that the loosely organized movement, which grew out of protests over police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and other cities, had demonstrated near the peak of the holiday season.

Black Lives Matter officials had promised to assemble at the mall “restraining order or not” and said in a Facebook post late Tuesday, “What happens next will tell us volumes about who we are as a society.” After the protest was broken up, the group Tweeted that it was gathering at a nearby train station.

Just before last Christmas, more than 1,500 Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating against grand jury decisions not to charge police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York shut down part of the same mall.

They didn’t get the “thousands” that activists were promising, and authorities moved swiftly to clear the complex after a judge granted mall owners an injunction against several of the activists and ruled that the private facility had the right to keep protesters out.

So the protesters moved on to the airport to harass and annoy travelers:

As police urged onlookers out of the rotunda, threatening arrests, many protesters filed outside, and toward a light-rail station. Many chanted “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

Some of the protesters headed by light-rail to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where demonstrators gathered at terminals 1 and 2. Other protesters remained outside the east entrance of the Mall of America.

Police dispatched at least two “arrest buses” to the terminals while airport authorities requested that some of the trains headed toward the terminals not be allowed to stop to let out passengers.

At least two people were arrested in a struggle at the airport, according to KARE-TV.

The protests were aimed at drawing attention to the police shooting last month of Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black Minneapolis man. Clark died one day after he was shot by officers responding to a complaint of an assault.

If Black Lives Matter protests are going to be effective, organizers have to realize that incoherent rage doesn’t sell, it only gets people angry. There are many many Americans who would sympathize and support BLM if they abjured violence, didn’t condemn all police for the actions of a few, and invited discussion instead of delivering racially charged, spittle-flecked tantrums.