BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – A planned Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America means students in the eighth-grade choir at Minnetonka Middle School can forget about performing their Christmas program.
Instead of Jingle Bells and Silent Night, there will be racist yells and possibly arrests on site.
Last year, thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters descended on the mall to disrupt holiday shopping and draw attention to police shootings of black criminals in New York and Missouri. The melee forced numerous stores to shut down and dozens of people were arrested.
A judge just last month dismissed trespassing charges against 11 of the protest organizers, but other charges are not yet resolved, according to the Associated Press.
Now, the local Black Lives Matter crowd is apparently looking to rack up more arrests with another protest at the Mall of America scheduled for Wednesday, at the same rotunda Minnetonka middle schoolers were set to sing Christmas carols to shoppers.
“Minnetonka Middle School West’s eighth grade choir concert was scheduled to take place Dec. 23 at the mall’s east rotunda. The protest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at the same rotunda, according to a Facebook event created by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis,” KSTP reports.
“The school district said the school’s principal and other school administrators made the decision to cancel the concert, adding that kids singing holiday songs while protesters have a serious message to convey would not be a good idea.”
This year’s protest is centered on a Nov. 15 police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark. Police officials will not release video footage of the incident because it could compromise their investigation, but Black Lives Matter protesters are attempting to extort the video’s release with the threat of another Mall of America protest.
The mall, meanwhile, seems ready and willing to enforce its no-protests policy.
“Mall of America will continue to prohibit protests on its property no matter how righteous the cause might be,” Mall of America attorney Susan Gaertner told the AP. “They do that in order to protect the safety and experience of its guests.”
The Mall of America management team also sent a letter to four Black Lives Matter Minneapolis leaders who are organizing the protest to make sure the ramifications of the protest are crystal clear.
“Mall of America is a private commercial retail center, and we prohibit all forms of protest, demonstration, and public debate on our property, including political activity aimed at organizing political or social groups,” according to the Dec. 18 letter, which was posted to the BLM Minneapolis Facebook page.
“Any attempt by BLM and its supporters to conduct this unauthorized demonstration is a violation of MOA policies and constitutes an unlawful trespass. No person is permitted to come onto MOA property to participate in a demonstration,” it read. “All participants will be subject to removal from the property and potential arrest by the City of Bloomington Police Department.”
The letter demanded that Black Lives Matter organizers contact their members and post online that the planned protest at the mall is canceled.
Black Lives Matter Minneapolis instead defiantly snubbed the letter and vowed to carry out its illegal protest, KSTP reports.
“Instead of supporting peaceful efforts to ensure a fair trial without grand jury be given to the officers who shot Jamar Clark in the head, yet again the Mall of America chosen (sic) to use their resources to intimidate and threaten us,” according to a Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Facebook post.
“We want to make it clear to the public that we will not be intimidated and we will not be silenced. If Jamar’s family does not get justice this Christmas, this event will move forward as planned.”
The group then listed its demands for the Jamar Clark case and other local race issues.
The response then prompted a lawsuit from the Mall of America seeking a court order requiring the Black Lives Matter group to “delete and take down any online materials, including posts on Facebook, messages on Twitter, and online messages in any other form, that solicit or encourage others to engage in any demonstration on MOA premises on December 23, 2015 or that provide information about the planned demonstration …,” according to a copy of the lawsuit posed by Black Lives Matter.
The mall also wants Black Lives Matter organizers to alert their followers that the event is canceled.
“Organizers have no plans to halt the demonstration unless authorities release the tapes related to Jamar Clark’s case, prosecute police without a grand jury by special prosecutor, and bring federal terrorism charges against white supremacists who shot five protesters during the occupation,” Black Lives Matter Minneapolis posted on Facebook in response to the lawsuit.