Organizers of an illegal Black Lives Matter protest staged at the Mall of America last Christmas will get off without facing trial. A judge has dropped all charges against them. From the local Fox affiliate:
In a 137-page ruling, [Hennepin County Chief Judge Peter] Cahill dismissed all charges against the leaders, and dismissed disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly charges against eleven participants arrested at the protest. However, the judge did not dismiss trespassing and obstruction charges against fifteen of the protesters arrested at the mall. He ordered those cases to proceed to trial.
The ruling is a mixed bag of victories and setbacks for law and order. On the one hand, Judge Cahill rejected the fallacious argument from the defense that the mall is somehow public property because it has received public subsidy. On the other hand, the judge gave the protesters undue leeway, claiming that the mall’s management had not adequately acted to prevent the protest.
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.
Chief Judge Cahill concluded his order, stating that the court “commends the conduct of certain of the Leaders/Organizer Defendants in communicating with officials of the MOA, the BPD, and the Bloomington City Attorney’s Office in advance of the demonstration” and the “general actions and conduct of MOA security and BPD officers” at the protest.
Consider that. The judge acknowledges that the protest organizers announced their intention to trespass in advance, yet pretends that the mall “allowed” the demonstration by not issuing explicit orders to leave during the first half hour or filing for injunction. In truth, mall management had responded to the protesters’ announced intent well before the protest began, stating clearly that the demonstration was not authorized. Further, the Bloomington Police Department warned the protesters that their action would constitute trespass. Executing the protest past that point constituted a premeditated criminal act. But the prospect of smacking down Black Lives Matter activists makes authorities too nervous to do their jobs consistently.