The Mall of America is still waiting to find out whether the court will grant it a restraining order against Black Lives Matter protestors.
The mall requested a temporary protective order against Michael McDowell, Miski Noor, Lena Gardner, Kandace Montgomery and four other leaders of the movement in court documents filed recently. According to KARE 11, mall officials filed the restraining order in hopes of blocking plans for a protest on December 23, which is one of its busiest shopping days of the year.
The request alleges that Black Lives Matter leaders have been using Twitter and Facebook to spread the word about a protest set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
Mall officials point to a similar demonstration around this time last year that put a serious cramp in pre-Christmas sales. Nearly 1,000 protestors packed into the mall, and plaintiffs argue that the event prevented customers from being able to get to vendors. Supposedly, traffic to the mall was down 15 percent from the five preceding years, and that means the mall saw 24,000 less shoppers.
More specifically, a number of stores in the Mall of America reported a double-digit dip in sales during last year’s protest.
The Mall of America contends that it is private property, which allows it to ban protests.
“This is not about free speech. this is not about whether or not these folks have a good cause. Of course they have a good cause,” the mall’s attorney Susan Gaertner. “This about where you demonstrate and you demonstrate in places like this. In a court house. Mall of America on Wednesday is a place to take your kids and shop.”
However, Miski said that Black Lives Matter will not be deterred even if the county judge rules in the mall’s favor.
“We’re not going to be canceling the protest,” she said. “No the people have a right to show up. We have a right to say what our message is. We have a right to speak out. And us not showing up and us not speaking would be the mall winning.”
The judge didn’t hand down a ruling on Monday, but said that one would be coming soon.