Last Christmas season, a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration disrupted the Mall of America and led to criminal charges against a number of protesters. Leaders of the BLM movement have scheduled another such protest at the mall for tomorrow, so the Mall went to court to seek an injunction.
This afternoon, Hennepin County District Court Judge Karen Janisch gave the mall what could be a Pyrrhic victory. She agreed that the mall is private property and has a right to bar demonstrators and remove them from the premises. However, she granted an injunction against just three individuals, ruling–I think correctly–that “Black Lives Matter” is not a legal entity against which an order can be entered.
So in all likelihood, the protest will go forward tomorrow. Will the Mall of America respond forcefully? That remains to be seen. Hundreds of Bloomington police and security personnel are available to the mall, but another Hennepin Country judge dismissed charges against a number of last year’s protesters on the ground that no move was made to break up the demonstration until it had gone on for a half hour, so that the owner of the property had given “tacit approval” to the protest.
I seriously doubt that the mall intended to confer such approval. Last year’s demonstration was scary, as I wrote in this post, with photographs. It was costly, too. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports in the linked article:
Last year’s protest by BLM caused an estimated 24,000 people to bypass shopping at the mall, according to traffic statistics in court documents filed by the mall. One family attraction reported a 50 percent attendance drop, the documents said. Thousands of employees were hurt financially because of the protest.
Demonstrators never seem to be concerned about the harm they inflict on others. So it seems likely that tomorrow’s event will meet with a swifter response. Stay tuned.