Mall of America protesters expected to face charges

Saturday’s massive anti-police demonstration at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota may turn out to be an expensive lesson for the organizers in the difference between public and private property.  The demonstration was planned well before the assassination of Officers Lin and Ramos in New York, and it roughly coincided with the crime, making it probably the last mass anti-cop demonstration in the current round of leftist agitation.

But unlike other demonstrations, it was planned for a privately owned and operated venue, a place where the owners get to decide how it will be used and by whom.  The demonstration was planned for the last Saturday before Christmas, obviously one of if not the biggest shopping days of the year.  It was planned to inflict massive damage on the tenants of the mall, and indeed it did.  CBS Minnesota reports:

In the next few days, the Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson expects to file criminal charges against the organizers of Saturday’s protest at Mall of America.

The mall went into a partial shutdown for about two hours as thousands of protesters filled the rotunda on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The group, “Black Lives Matter” chose the mall for its high visibility, but was warned repeatedly that it was private property.

The amount of damages caused will run into many millions of dollars, combining police overtime and lost sales.  There is also criminal liability:

The City Attorney is now building criminal cases against the protest organizers. She said she’ll try to get restitution for money lost by the mall, the city and police agencies that came from as far away as Hastings and Red Wing.

In the age of social media, the evidence is not hard to find:

“The main perpetrators are those who continued on their Facebook site to invite people illegally to the Mall of America,” she said.

Police are looking at the group’s social media posts, as well as video from inside the mall.

“Who led that march through the Mall of America?” said Johnson. “If we can identify those people who were inciting others to continue with this illegal activity, we can consider charges against them too.”

Throw the book at them.  Mall tenants include large stores like Marshall Field (update, now branded as Macy's - my last visit to the MOA was years ago - TL) and other chains, but also many small carts and stores operated by individuals.  They all suffered financial damage and deserve restitution.  It is unlikely that an adequate amount of money is available from the demonstration leaders, but the principle is important to establish.  There is a right to demonstrate peaceably, but there is no right to shut down businesses.

Saturday’s massive anti-police demonstration at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota may turn out to be an expensive lesson for the organizers in the difference between public and private property.  The demonstration was planned well before the assassination of Officers Lin and Ramos in New York, and it roughly coincided with the crime, making it probably the last mass anti-cop demonstration in the current round of leftist agitation.

But unlike other demonstrations, it was planned for a privately owned and operated venue, a place where the owners get to decide how it will be used and by whom.  The demonstration was planned for the last Saturday before Christmas, obviously one of if not the biggest shopping days of the year.  It was planned to inflict massive damage on the tenants of the mall, and indeed it did.  CBS Minnesota reports:

In the next few days, the Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson expects to file criminal charges against the organizers of Saturday’s protest at Mall of America.

The mall went into a partial shutdown for about two hours as thousands of protesters filled the rotunda on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The group, “Black Lives Matter” chose the mall for its high visibility, but was warned repeatedly that it was private property.

The amount of damages caused will run into many millions of dollars, combining police overtime and lost sales.  There is also criminal liability:

The City Attorney is now building criminal cases against the protest organizers. She said she’ll try to get restitution for money lost by the mall, the city and police agencies that came from as far away as Hastings and Red Wing.

In the age of social media, the evidence is not hard to find:

“The main perpetrators are those who continued on their Facebook site to invite people illegally to the Mall of America,” she said.

Police are looking at the group’s social media posts, as well as video from inside the mall.

“Who led that march through the Mall of America?” said Johnson. “If we can identify those people who were inciting others to continue with this illegal activity, we can consider charges against them too.”

Throw the book at them.  Mall tenants include large stores like Marshall Field (update, now branded as Macy's - my last visit to the MOA was years ago - TL) and other chains, but also many small carts and stores operated by individuals.  They all suffered financial damage and deserve restitution.  It is unlikely that an adequate amount of money is available from the demonstration leaders, but the principle is important to establish.  There is a right to demonstrate peaceably, but there is no right to shut down businesses.