Saturday, March 05, 2016

Mall of America Drops Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter Activists
The filing related to a December protest had served its purpose, an attorney for the Mall of America said.

By Randy Furst Star Tribune
MARCH 1, 2016 — 7:34PM

The Mall of America has dropped a lawsuit it filed in Hennepin County District Court against Black Lives Matter in December. As a result of the suit, a judge had barred three activists, who the mall claimed were leading a demonstration that was planned there, from the property.

Susan Gaertner, the mall’s attorney, said Tuesday the suit was dismissed “because the lawsuit served its purpose.

“We believe it had an effect on the events of Dec. 23 in that a protest did not occur on private property at the Mall of America,” she said.

Protesters turned out at the mall in large numbers that day, but they left to demonstrate at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport without holding a rally at the mall. The protesters were escorted off mall property by mall security and police. Activists said afterward that was their plan all along and that the airport was to be the protest focus.

Jordan Kushner, the protesters’ attorney, said Tuesday he had pressed the mall to dismiss the suit because it dealt with a demonstration long since over.

“I suspect that is probably the reason why they dismissed it,” he said. “It has no more relevance.”

Gaertner offered “kudos to Black Lives Matter and to the individuals named in the lawsuit for respecting the judge’s order and not protesting on private property.”

She added that the suit was voluntarily dismissed by the mall without prejudice, “which means that it can be brought again if circumstances change, and if there’s a threat of future protests on Mall of American property.”

Black Lives Matter activists Kandace Montgomery, Miski Noor and Michael McDowell were the three protesters who were barred from the mall by Hennepin County District Judge Karen Janisch in December. But Janisch refused to bar the Black Lives Matter group as a whole because she said the mall could not prove it was a legal entity.

Montgomery, an organizer with Black Lives Matter, said Tuesday that she was not interested in going to go to the mall anyway “unless we have a protest at it again,” but at this point there are no such plans.

She said she does not go to the mall because she believes black shoppers are followed inside the stores and the pay of store workers, including black workers, is below a living wage and working conditions are poor.

Mall officials did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

Randy Furst 612-673-4224

Twitter: @randyfurst

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