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Scholars urge dropping the charges against Mall of America Black Lives Matter protesters

By staff |
March 4, 2015
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Black Lives Matter protest inside Mall of America.
Black Lives Matter protest inside Mall of America. (Fight Back! News/Mick Kelly)

Minneapolis - Over 115 researchers, professors and academics have signed a letter as of March 4 urging charges be dropped against protesters who are being prosecuted by Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson for their attendance at Dec. 20 peaceful demonstration at the Mall of America.

This swell of support comes on the heels of a letter from more than 100 faith leaders sent to City Attorney Sandra Johnson two days earlier. The city attorney’s aggressive prosecution of 11 individuals is garnering less than positive attention for both the city of Bloomington and the Mall of America from constituents, faith leaders, community members and now researchers and academics.

This unprecedented and punitive strategy to force peaceful demonstrators to pay for police overtime and lost revenue is also being pursued against black organizers in San Francisco as the BART transit system pursues $70,000 in restitution for lost fares.

Researchers and educators express deep concern over Johnson’s misuse of power: “...we are deeply disappointed in the City of Bloomington's decision to use its considerable power to actually add to the obstacles that are blocking the movement toward a better, more peaceful, and more just society. We urge the City of Bloomington to drop all charges against those who participated in the recent peaceful protest at the Mall of America.”

11 individuals targeted by Sandra Johnson will appear in court on March 10 for their arraignment. Charges range from trespassing to disorderly conduct for their attendance at the demonstration which included nearly 3000 individuals on Dec. 20, 2014 at the Mall of America. The group is expecting hundreds to attend the court date in solidarity with the 11 individuals being charged by the city of Bloomington.