Last Christmas, the social protest movement known as “Black Lives Matter” staged an unauthorized demonstration at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Response from law enforcement was tepid and ineffectual. A judge dismissed charges filed against BLM organizers earlier this year. Sensing weakness, BLM has announced its intentions to invade the mall again this week.
This time, however, mall management isn’t taking the threat lying down. Mall management has sought a restraining order that would not just prohibit the protest, but mandate its cancellation. From The Washington Times:
If approved by a Hennepin County judge, activists would be prohibited from engaging, soliciting or encouraging any demonstration on mall property on Wednesday, and also be required to purge details of their scheduled rally from social media.
“Defendants and their agents are ordered to delete and take down any online materials, including posts on 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,” reads an excerpt from the proposed injunction posted on Facebook.
Additionally, the mall has asked the court to compel Black Lives Matter to “immediately post” on its Facebook page news that the event scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled.
Black Lives Matter has responded with typical victim posturing, claiming that the restraining order would violate their constitutional right to free speech. This proves particularly rich given that the group has deleted comments on their Facebook page and blocked this author from commenting. Apparently, their loose interpretation of free speech only applies to their own.
It’s worth noting that when he dismissed previous charges against BLM protest organizers, Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter Cahill signaled that a restraining order such as the one currently sought was necessary to secure the mall’s property rights. From station KMSP in Minneapolis:
The judge did note that the mall seemed to allow the demonstration for the first half hour by not issuing any explicit orders to leave. And that the MOA did not pursue any court action before the protest to enjoin the demonstration.
Judge Cahill was stretching there. The mall had made it explicitly clear prior to the protest that the demonstration was not authorized. But if he’s going to say the mall must pursue court action beforehand, no one should be surprised when it actually does so. If BLM wants to argue the constitutionality of such action, let them convince Cahill that he’s wrong.
A ruling on the request is expected today. The protest is scheduled for tomorrow.