MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The group involved in the protest that partially shut down the Mall of America last month says it’s planning a march as part of a national movement to reclaim the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
An event on Facebook created by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis says the group will march on Jan. 19, starting at the intersection of Snelling and University avenues in St. Paul.
The group’s goal, as stated on the Facebook page, is to make MLK weekend “known as a time of national resistance to injustice.” This goal is shared by the broader Black Lives Matter movement, which sprang up last year following the high-profile deaths of unarmed black men by police.
In December, during one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis staged a nonviolent protest at the Mall of America. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in the mall’s rotunda, and the mall responded by putting some 80 stores on lockdown.
The Bloomington City Attorney has been building a criminal case against the group’s leaders. She said she’ll try to get restitution for the money the mall for revenue lost and to the police agencies that paid officers overtime.
Supporters of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis have since urged the city attorney not to pursue charges, saying the protest was relatively small, peaceful and has no few organizers.
That request to have the charges dropped is part of a list of demands laid out by the group on its Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest event page. Other demands include adopting statewide legislation to end racial profiling, requiring all law enforcement in the state to undergo “bias and cultural competency training,” and increasing the number of police officers that live in the communities they serve.
“This is an evolving list. We want to form a community commission to address the biggest racial disparities in policing in the United States now,” the event page reads. “We won’t wait. Black lives are at stake. We remember Terrance Franklin.”
Franklin was shot and killed by Minneapolis police in May of 2013. Police say that Franklin was a burglary suspect who was shot after he grabbed an officer’s gun and started shooting. A grand jury cleared the officers involved in his death of any wrong doing, but Franklin’s family said the police were racially motivated and went too far with their son.