Three Black Lives Matter organizers are temporarily barred from entering Minneapolis’ Mall of America during protests planned for today.
NPR reports that activists had called for a December 23 demonstration at the Minnesota mega-mall to demand transparency in the investigation of Jamar Clark’s death, a 24-year-old who was fatally shot by police last month.
After receiving word of the planned demonstrations, mall officials filed paperwork seeking restraining orders against eight unnamed activists. Yesterday, a court approved the restraining orders for three of the organizers.
“The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals,” Black Lives Matter Minneapolis activists wrote on Facebook.
The group is demanding that the Minneapolis police department release the full video footage from Clark’s death. According to police reports, officers were called to a residence to investigate a domestic disturbance. Clark allegedly was interfering with paramedics when a scuffle occurred, resulting in him being shot in the head. Various witnesses say that Clark was handcuffed and obedient when he was shot.
Despite the Mall of America’s attempt to block protestors, the group has made it clear that its demonstrations will continue. An attorney for the activists say that it is within their right to use the mall as a demonstration site.
“The problem is that [the mall has] appropriated the public forum where people used to go and congregate and demonstrate in the town square,” attorney Jordan Kushner told Minnesota Public Radio. “And now they’ve made the town square their own, they’ve got an amusement park, they got entertainment, they got the rotunda. But they want to keep that private only for commercial purposes and for their own purposes.”
Ahead of today's protests, activists have asked supporters to donate anticipated bail money, claiming that the mall has a tendency to "overreact to peaceful events." Local officers as well as 30 state patrol officials have been tapped to police the demonstration.