Judge allows lawless disruption of commerce for Black Lives Matter at Mall of America

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Image: Aaron Lavinsky – Star Tribune

A Minnesota judge refused to bar Black Lives Matter protesters from organizing demonstrations at the Mall of America just days before Christmas.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Karen Janisch handed down a Pyrrhic victory to lawyers for the nation’s largest enclosed shopping destination. She barred three specific individuals named as defendants in the mall’s lawsuit from attending demonstrations, but refused to force organizers to remove posts encouraging protests from social media.

“The Court does not have a sufficient basis to issue an injunction as to Black Lives Matters or to unidentified persons who may be acting as its agents or in active concert with the Black Lives Matters movement,” Janisch wrote.

Mall attorneys stressed that management is not opposing BLM’s message, but is concerned with lost sales on one of the busiest shopping days of the year–they argued that last year’s protest on Dec. 23 caused a double-digit decrease in sales and commissions.

Television reporter Lou Raguse summed up the ruling.

Though the judge affirmed the Minnesota Supreme Court’s previous ruling that the mall is private property, it’s unclear what steps mall officials can take to prevent demonstrations. Protestors who refuse to leave could, however, face trespassing charges.

The mall’s lawyers remained upbeat despite the setback.

“This ruling makes it clear that even before today, Mall of America has the right to say, ‘No, you cannot demonstrate here,’ and that it is a violation of the law to do so,” Mall attorney Susan Gaetner said.

She said she hopes that not only the organizers but anyone else who is thinking of coming to the mall “and breaking the law will think better of it,” Fox News reported Tuesday.

Minnesota State Rep. Pat Garofalo is concerned that this ruling could pave the way for forcing private businesses to host “lawless disruption of commerce.”

https://twitter.com/PatGarofalo/status/679477165986021376

https://twitter.com/PatGarofalo/status/679475177017733121

https://twitter.com/PatGarofalo/status/679136287073300480

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Steve Berman

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