Remind me again… is this Christmas or Groundhog Day? Last year, just before Christmas, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis illegally shut down the Mall of America on one of the busiest shopping days of the year by flooding the mall with activists and preventing customers from moving through the facility. That led to many (mostly fruitless) court cases and not much else. Well, another year has gone by and the leaders of the local chapter are at it again. They are calling for all their supporters to show up on the privately owned property and obstruct commerce. But this time the mall’s ownership is being proactive and asking a judge for a restraining order. (Yahoo News)
But the mall is trying to take that decision out of their hands. Mall officials are seeking a temporary restraining order against eight activist leaders to stop the planned rally. They also want the group to post a message on its Facebook page announcing the rally’s cancellation. In a statement released early Monday, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called the suit “unconstitutional.”
The Mall [of] America continues to seek to bar free speech for the community on its premises despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies, which it has used to appropriate the traditional public forum in service of its own corporate profit. The Mall of America has now taken the further outrageous and totalitarian step of attempting to control the speech of individuals.
One thing that the BLM leaders in the area don’t seem to have invested in is a lawyer. The argument they are making is that the Mall of America is somehow “public property” and a suitable venue for protests because the company who built it received tax breaks and other public subsidies when it was constructed. It’s an interesting argument, but unfortunately it was already shut down by the state supreme court almost twenty years go, specifically citing Mall of America as the example. (City Pages)
In 1996 the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the free speech protection written in the state constitution “does not apply to a privately owned shopping center such as the Mall of America, although developed in part with public financing” in State v. Wicklund.
Freeman Wicklund was part of a group of about 10 people who were arrested and charged with trespassing after they protested the sale of fur products outside of Macy’s. Before the Supreme Court ruling, lower courts originally sided with Wicklund, agreeing the mall was a public forum.
Of course, none of this has anything to do with free speech and respect for the Constitution or the law when it comes to BLM. Miski Noor, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter of Minneapolis, said on CNN this morning, “We are going to disrupt your life.” That’s an exact quote. She was being asked why they couldn’t simply protest outside the mall on public property in accordance with the law, where tens of thousands of shoppers would see their protest and hear their message. Her response made their objectives quite clear. This isn’t about speech… it’s about thuggish behavior intended to intimidate people who had absolutely nothing to do with any police shootings and to disrupt and shut down businesses which are not affiliated with the police or the government and have no ability to change government policy.
When asked what they would do if the judge granted the restraining order, she flatly stated they were going to show up and do it anyway. That brings us to the big question: what will the government and the police do about it? If the answer is “nothing” because they are too afraid to look bad on CNN’s cameras then the citizens of Minneapolis and Minnesota need to begin electing some new leaders with a bit of spine. If the government cannot be relied upon to protect private business and the free movement of their own citizens engaging in commerce, they have failed in their duty and need to be replaced.