Bloomington City Attorney wants to ‘make an example’ out of MOA protesters by filing charges

Oh yeah, this is a good idea. Jon Collins of MPR reports, “The Bloomington City Attorney said she plans to file criminal charges next week against the organizers of the Black Lives Matter protest held last weekend at the Mall of America. City Attorney Sandra Johnson said unapproved public protest isn’t allowed at the Mall of America, and that Saturday’s protest created unsafe situations. ‘It’s important to make an example out of these organizers so that this never happens again,’ Johnson said. ‘It was a powder keg waiting for the match.’” For god’s sake, another 10 minutes and they might have marched through Nordstroms!

The “munis” are feeling the pinch. J. Patrick Coolican and Abby Simons of the Strib say, “Minnesota’s municipal liquor stores’ profits stalled and contributions to city coffers dropped considerably last year as several outstate operations foundered, according to a state auditor’s report released Tuesday. The 237 stores had record sales for the 18th consecutive year in 2013, totaling more than $332.8 million, but the increase was small ­­­— $3.2 million — or 1 percent over 2012. And the stores’ $26.8 million combined net profit dropped $500,522, or 1.8 percent, from 2012.”

Some job growth stats from WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler. “Nearly every state is gaining jobs, but the Labor Department reports Minnesota and Wisconsin are virtually tied in job creation. Wisconsin posted 54,600 new jobs in the last year for a growth rate of 1.6 percent. Minnesota has almost as many: 54,200, or 1.5 percent.”

But if you’re still looking for work, consider Duluth. The News Tribune says, “The unemployment rate in Duluth dropped to 3.4 percent in November, according to state statistics — the lowest rate recorded in the city in nearly 15 years. It’s the lowest rate seen in the city since a 3.2 percent unemployment rate in December 1999. At its peak, the city’s unemployment rate reached 8.9 percent in early 2009.”

More on that roll-out of super-fast internet from the Strib’s Adam Belz. “The Minnetonka firm that offers fiber-optic service to about 30,000 households in southwest Minneapolis announced Tuesday that it will use that network to offer 10-gigabit-per-pecond Internet speed, which is among the fastest Internet service available today. That’s 400 times faster than the average download speed in Minnesota, 25 megabits per second, according to Ookla, an Internet diagnostic firm. ‘The fastest Internet in the world is going to be here in Minneapolis starting this afternoon,’ said Joe Caldwell, co-CEO of US Internet. ‘We’re talking about a game-changing speed.’ … Comcast charges $77 per month for 50-megabit-per-second service and $67 per month for 25-megabit-per-second service. US Internet offers 100-megabit service, roughly the speed of the Internet at many people’s offices, for $45 per month.”

The GleanA “sniper” never quits, apparently. Randy Furst of the Strib says, “The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been asked to overturn the verdict in the defamation case of former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who was awarded $1.8 million in August by a federal jury in St. Paul. … As is typical of notices of appeal, there were no details of what Taya Kyle’s attorneys will argue before the appeals court.” So I suppose, “Some of it is sort of true,” won’t cut it on appeal?

Old folks might get some respect out of the legislature this year. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “The top priority for many rural Minnesota legislators is to improve state funding sent to elderly and disabled care programs. House speaker-designate Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, puts that in his top three priorities — along with transportation and education — and most rural members agree. Not only are such programs good for the people they serve, but lawmakers say nursing homes and other care programs are among the biggest businesses in many rural communities.”

Live dangerously: watch a Seth Rogen movie. Stribber Colin Covert says, “Three Minnesota moviehouses — St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis and the Cambridge Cinema 5 and North Branch Cinema Theater north of the Twin Cities — announced Tuesday afternoon that they would show ‘The Interview’ beginning Christmas Day. Sony Pictures had withdrew the picture from release last week after threats of terrorism from  computer hackers, but reversed its stance on Tuesday. The comedy stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as TV journalists recruited by the CIA to kill North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un. ‘I guess we’re not concerned. We’re not close to North Korea,’ said Debbie Zeise, co-owner of the Cambridge and North Branch locations. ‘We’re showing it because we believe in the freedom of press and that we shouldn’t bow down to terrorism.’”

Minneapolis, still driving a hard bargain for a dog park. The Strib’s John Reinan says, “A rare plot of city woods could remain wild if its owner accepts an offer for the land. That owner is the city of Minneapolis, which has held title to the 15-acre parcel straddling the border of neighboring Edina and St. Louis Park since the 1920s. The two cities recently offered Minneapolis $1.074 million for the land at 3940 France Av. S., which serves as an informal — but very popular — dog park for residents of the surrounding area. … The offer is the midpoint between a Minneapolis appraisal of $1.458 million, assuming residential development of the site … .” And watch the neighbors howl if that ever happened.

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Comments (42)

  1. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/24/2014 - 08:44 am.

    Bloomington City Attorney

    ‘It’s important to make an example out of these organizers so that this never happens again,’ Johnson said. ‘It was a powder keg waiting for the match.’” For god’s sake, another 10 minutes and they might have marched through Nordstroms!

    It sounds like the city attorney doesn’t have enough to do at work.

    Brian Lambert’s comment made me snort though. Just think of the children!

    • Submitted by jason myron on 12/24/2014 - 11:34 am.

      Yes…

      the minute I saw the first TV interview with Ms. Johnson, it was quite evident to me that her motivations were purely political. Her assertion that this was a near riot is laughable.

      • Submitted by E Gamauf on 12/24/2014 - 03:55 pm.

        Sounds like SoS Kiffmeyer in 2006!

        Somebody needs to prove that people were physically prevented from entering the stores at the mall, as some appear to lament. Do we really need to turn this into a police state?

        City Attorney has aspirations in the political arena, I’d wager.

  2. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/24/2014 - 08:48 am.

    Internet

    How I wish US Internet served St. Louis Park. For the longest time I couldn’t get any high speed access at all, even though I’m in the heart of StLP. Then cable finally came through and years later we could get DSL, although it was slow as the house is too far from the CO (central office).

    Today we’ve got OK speed, but it’s still very expensive for the bandwidth we get. 10 gig? I would be ecstatic to be at 50 meg for a good price!

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 12/24/2014 - 09:07 am.

    Hats off…

    to the Bloomington City Attorney. She is just doing her job. And it appears that the disgruntled protestors are the ones that don’t have enough to do.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/24/2014 - 02:59 pm.

      Hats off

      Doing her job means wasting taxpayer money on something that has zero chance of success? Hats off!

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/26/2014 - 08:37 am.

      Actually this is slam dunk for the prosecuter

      This is way way way settled law. You have absolutely zero free speech rights inside a privately owned shopping mall. Although the MN supreme last issued a ruling on this in something like 1999, such rulings go back for decades. The first “landmark” ruling on shopping mall free speech I studied was back in the 80s; a guy was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of trespassing because he was distributing copies of the US Constitution inside a shopping mall without the owners permission.

      Look, all those stores in that big damn mall are tenants that pay good money to be there, and the mall has contractual obligations to provide a certain commercial environment in return for that rent. There’s no way on heaven or earth the MOA wants to become a haven for demonstrations that disrupt business, they’re not going to drop this, and as long they don’t drop it, the city can’t drop it. If the Mall didn’t press charges the tenants could probably file lawsuits. So yeah, they CAN and WILL make examples out of these demonstrators. This is all predictable and it was predicted, so the affected demonstrators can’t complain about it.

      Look, the whole point of civil disobedience is to get arrested. You want to disrupt business as usual, fine, but you don’t get to do that for free or without consequence. If you did, IT WOULDN’T BE MUCH OF A DEMONSTRATION WOULD IT?

      These demonstrators were warned and warned and warned and these warnings were in the news fr days prior to the arrests. Either they ignored those warnings, or they accepted the risk, either way it’s on the demonstrators.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/30/2014 - 02:45 pm.

        Legal analysis fail

        The case against the protesters who actually got arrested may be a slam dunk, but prosecuting the organizers and seeking restitution/bringing civil suits is just a joke. There is no precedent for holding organizers (via a Facebook page) criminally liable, and there are so many leaps you have to make to get to restitution/civil liability that it will never happen. The backlash alone would probably prevent the mall and its tennants from going after anyone.

        This is a prosecutor acting tough, but unless she is grossly incompetent and wants to waste a bunch of taxpayer money, nothing will actually come of it.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/30/2014 - 03:53 pm.

          What?

          “There is no precedent for holding organizers (via a Facebook page) criminally liable, and there are so many leaps you have to make to get to restitution/civil liability that it will never happen”

          Actually there’s a lot of precedence for holding organizers criminally responsible, you’ve heard of the Chicago 7? The mode of organization is irrelevant for obvious reasons. Prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul police and FBI tracked all kinds of people down via social networks, a number of those people were charged and convicted.

          As for restitution, absolutely a private property owner can go after a trespasser who incurs expenses. And the point here is to make an example. Regardless of any award or collection thereof, defendants will have to lawyer up and that alone will cost thousands.

          Backlash? The demonstrators are the ones experiencing the backlash here, the public is NOT very sympathetic towards this demonstration movement.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/30/2014 - 04:55 pm.

            Precedent?

            I don’t know if I would call the Chicago 7 case “precedent” for anything, but you may want to consider what it involved. The defendants there were charged with crossing state lines to incite a riot, and various counts of conspiracy (no, posting on Facebook is not a “conspiracy.” A conspiracy is an agreement to commit a crime). There is a big difference between inciting a riot and urging people to go to a shopping mall to protest.

            “The mode of organization is irrelevant for obvious reasons.” For obvious reasons, it is relevant.

            “And the point here is to make an example. Regardless of any award or collection thereof, defendants will have to lawyer up and that alone will cost thousands.” So, the prosecutor is just trying to scare people, regardless of the merits of the suit? Do you know what a SLAPP suit is? How about “abuse of process?”

          • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/30/2014 - 07:27 pm.

            Nope

            Let’s put aside the fact that the Chicago 7 involved a very different set of facts. Do you know what the Chicago 7 were ultimately convicted of? NOTHING! Absolutely nothing. All of the convictions, including the contempt citations issued during trial, were overturned on appeal. If anything, the Chicago 7 is precedent for my argument that prosecuting the protesters is a complete waste of time and money.

            If you followed the RNC prosecutions, you would know that a lot of them were dismissed. Here is an example of what frequently occurred:

            http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/article/2009/01/27/rnc-one-trial-seven-others-see-charges-dismissed.html

            Here is some key language: “Judge Michael Fetsch dismissed the charges at the end of the prosecution’s case, ruling that even if the jury believed all of the prosecution’s evidence, there was not sufficient evidence to support a conviction.”

            The people who were convicted were people who engaged in violence and destruction of property. People who merely peacefully protested were not convicted, despite the misguided attempts of the prosecution. Again, this is more precedent that going after the protest organizers is a waste of time and money.

            “As for restitution, absolutely a private property owner can go after a trespasser who incurs expenses”

            If the tresspasser willfully caused damage, that might be true. In this case, where you would have to prove speculative lost sales, and you had the actions by the police and the mall contributing, not in a million years.

            If the prosecutor is dumb enough to charge the organizers, I expect that plenty of lawyers will offer their services for free on what would be a huge first amendment case. Courts are also not too keen on cases brought to send a message and cause defendants to incur expenses where there is little or no chance of prevailing. The taxpayers could end up paying the defendants costs and fees as well as their own.

            “Backlash? The demonstrators are the ones experiencing the backlash here, the public is NOT very sympathetic towards this demonstration movement.”

            I can’t find any polling, but my observation is that the public is very much split on this issue. I know that one of the stores near the protest – Lush Cosmetics – had its employees actually join in, and has actually seen a boost in sales.

            http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/news/2014/12/22/lush-employees-mall-of-america-protesters-sales-up.html?page=all

            If you start prosecuting/suing peaceful protesters, you are going to alientate a lot of people, which is something the mall and its stores are not interested in doing.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/30/2014 - 09:57 pm.

              Uggg

              The charges against the RNC protesters were dismissed because the judge didn’t think the prosecution could make the case. The MOA demonstrators, and I don’t know why everyone seems to be so confused about this, were arrested for trespassing… onsite. The prosecution will have no difficulty proving that those arrested were there, were told not to be there, and were engaged in an unauthorized activity on Mall property.

              Again, the charge is trespassing, that trespass was obviously “wilful”. Any costs the Mall incurred as a result of that trespass can be pursued. If you trespass onto a farmers property, and forget to close a gate that releases livestock which are subsequently lost or injured, expect a bill from the farmer.

              Likewise, cities have precedent for billing for expenses and services. For instance the practice of billing reckless adventurer’s for rescues has become more and more common.

              No lawyers will take this case pro-bono because it’s NOT a first amendment case. Again, this is settled law, in all but five states in the US you have NO first amendment rights within a privately owned mall. This was last established in by the MN supreme court in 1999.

              Even if some lawyer takes the case for free, you get what you pay for even in law. The Mall’s lawyers are’t going to be freebies.

              The MOA is not going to suffer any negative economic impact from these prosecutions. Look, this isn’t the first time demonstrators have been arrested and convicted of trespassing in a shopping mall, THAT’S why this is now settled law. Can you name the last Mall that charged demonstrators with trespassing?

              Look, it’s simple, you are simply not entitled to have a demonstration on someone else’s private property.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/31/2014 - 09:04 am.

                An Active Imagination

                “Likewise, cities have precedent for billing for expenses and services.”

                Not in the context of a criminal prosecution, and it’s a doubtful prospect in the context of a civil action. Either way, you have to make up your mind how you think this will be pursued.

                “This was last established in by the MN supreme court in 1999.”

                Very true. It is possible, however, that the court will change its mind and overrule that precedent.

                “Even if some lawyer takes the case for free, you get what you pay for even in law. The Mall’s lawyers are’t going to be freebies.”

                A lot of experienced, capable attorneys take cases for free, and the best advocacy is not always the most expensive advocacy.

                You seem to relish the prospect of the MOA using the legal system to bully people you don’t like.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 12/31/2014 - 10:02 am.

                Uggg Indeed

                The prosecutor wants to go after the organizers, but what would the charge for them be? Trespassing? It’s a misdemeanor, and they could only be charged individually. The MOA has no say in whether or not charges are brought. So what would the charge then be? Conspiracy to commit mass trespass? Willful disregard for something-or-other? At that point, you likely ARE getting into free-speech issues.

                This was an entirely peaceful protest. No-one was harmed. Everyone was notified in advance. I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill, here, and it’s also not lost on me that the primary complaint about revolves around ‘lost business,’ not equity or police overreaction, which is ironic, as it was overreaction that led to any stores closing in the first place. Remember that many of the protests that occurred during the civil rights era also took place in business and on private property.

                And yes, they are going to lose business- mine. Their Orwellian nature as a miniature police-state always made me leery, but this episode, and their history, pretty much seals the deal for me.

                http://www.startribune.com/business/129559713.html

                http://www.npr.org/2011/09/07/140234451/under-suspicion-at-the-mall-of-america

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/31/2014 - 05:18 pm.

                  Double Uggg

                  Listen, I sympathize with demonstrators, these are not people I don’t like, on the contrary. But civil disobedience is what it is, you don’t get to trespass and block business as usual for free. If you did, it wouldn’t be much of a demonstration, and it certainly wouldn’t be civil disobedience.

                  “The prosecutor wants to go after the organizers, but what would the charge for them be? Trespassing?”

                  For the four millionth time… yeah, THAT’S the Charge. Why are people having so much trouble with this? How do you think this got all the way to the State Supreme Court already if prosecutors don’t ever charge anyone with trespassing in shopping malls? Yeah, it’s a misdemeanor, you’re point? You don’t think cops charge people with misdemeanors? They have, they do, and they will.

                  ” Willful disregard for something-or-other? At that point, you likely ARE getting into free-speech issues.”

                  For the four millionth time, you have NO free speech rights within a private shopping mall and this is settled law. Supreme courts don’t adjudicate settled law. They will NEVER hear this case.

                  OK look, there are two separate legal tracks here, criminal and civil. The Bloomington Prosecutor files the criminal complaints, and Mall Lawyers file civil complaints. In addition the city of Bloomington could file civil claims for expenses related to enforcement.

                  Now, what part of: “Bloomington City Attorney Want’s to Make Example out of MOA Protesters By Filing Suit” are you people not getting here?

                  The Bloomington Prosecutor will file trespassing charges against demonstrators who defied the order to leave and ignored advance warning. They’ll either charge all of the arrested demonstrators, or some of them, or they may even make more arrests. This isn’t the civil rights fight of the century, it’s never going to the supreme court. Those who are prosecuted will most likely plead guilty because their public defense attorneys will explain to them that they have no defense. They weren’t even demonstrating against the Mall, they were just looking for a comfortable place to demonstrate. Look, it’s simple, were you there? Did you leave when asked to leave? Did you have permission to do what you were doing? Yes- No. If Yes, bam- guilty. Next.

                  Look, why do you think the Mall and the City went to such great lengths prior to the demonstration to warn the organizers and participants? Why do think they offered alternatives and publicized this so much? They were laying the groundwork for future litigation and criminal prosecutions. You think they did all this and now they’re just going to walk away? No. Not gonna happen.

                  Now the city attorney may also file civil charges against the organizers if they can identify they can be identifed. The city of Bloomington incurred expenses, and cities can charge for stuff like that. There is ample precedent for this. If they can identify the organizers, and it looks like they can because they had contact with them prior to the demonstration, they can charge them. The organizers were warned, they were warned publicly, and personally, and they were given options that would have avoided additional city expenses. They made their choices.

                  As for MOA, they can also file suit for damages if they can put some kind of value on the disruption. This is NOT difficult to do, and since the whole point of the demonstration was to disrupt business as usual all the owners have to do is confirm that the demonstration was a success. Who shut down what or why blah blah blah is irrelevant because nothing would have been shut down by anyone had there been no illegal trespass and demonstration.

                  If you think talented lawyers are going to suit up and go to bat for trespassers trying to dodge damages in a civil case… well good luck with that. The most likely outcome with or without free lawyers is some kind of settlement, it won’t even go to court. But it’s not going to be fun for organizers.

                  It doesn’t matter whether or not there was violence, trespassing doesn’t have to be violent to be illegal. You can complain that there was no violence but they’ll just claim the reason there was no violence is that they kept the situation under control, and were forced to do so by illegal trespassers. By the way, by the time MOA lawyers file their suits defendants will have already either plead guilty or been convicted of trespassing, so the FACT that they trespassed, and the fact that THAT trespass cost the mall and merchants some money, will be established. The only question will be “how much” did it cost. They’ll argue about it and settle. The only thing that might save the demonstrators is if the Mall and the merchants have some kind of insurance that covers the expenses. But if insurance refuses to pay out, or if merchants decide to sue the Mall Owners…

                  • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/05/2015 - 12:13 pm.

                    Triple Lutz

                    My questions in the first paragraph were rhetorical, but I still dont think you have a proper understanding of how the law works here… Especially as it relates to “damages.”

  4. Submitted by Pat Berg on 12/24/2014 - 09:57 am.

    “The Interview” in Minnesota

    Huffington Post shows a much longer list (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/where-to-see-the-interview_n_6374302.html):

    Minnesota
    Cambridge 5 Cinemas, Cambridge
    Premiere Theatre 6, Cloquet
    Quarry Cold Spring 5 Cinema, Cold Spring
    Fairmont 5, Fairmont
    Cine 5 Theatre, International Falls
    St. Anthony 5, Minneapolis
    North Branch Cinema 7, North Branch
    Grand Makwa 4 Cinema, Onamia
    Rochester Galaxy 14, Rochester
    Main Street Cinema 6, Sauk Centre
    Midway Mall 8 Cinemas, Alexandria (Jan. 2)

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 12/24/2014 - 10:40 am.

    Looking ahead,

    wondering what the Bloomington City Attorney will do when all those charged insist on jury trials, in order to gain even greater exposure.

  6. Submitted by Rosalind Kohls on 12/24/2014 - 11:20 am.

    store owners

    I would have been ticked if I had been a store owner in the MOA and lost two hours of business during one of the busiest pre-Christmas days of the year, because demonstrators blocked shoppers for something I had absolutely nothing to do with. I hope the city attorney is successful in getting reimbursements.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/24/2014 - 01:39 pm.

      The local news

      had interviews with inconvenienced shoppers which included a young black woman who had nothing but disdain for those who were preventing her from getting her Christmans shopping done. Hell hath no fury like a woman deprived of her ability to shop.

      The store owners should sue the organizers for the lost business. I’m sure George Soros would be able to cover it.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/24/2014 - 02:02 pm.

      Reimbursements

      How do you come down on the question of Cliven Bundy, who has refused to pay grazing fees for the use of taxpayer-owned land? Should he be forced to pay what he legitimately owes the government?

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/24/2014 - 02:56 pm.

      They won’t

      There is zero chance they will recover anything. This incompetent city attorney is doing nothing but wasting taxpayer money.

  7. Submitted by John Edwards on 12/24/2014 - 11:38 am.

    They could go to Nordstrom’s or . . .

    . . . could go murder a Minneapolis cop. Knowledgeable people will remember that Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf was fatally shot in the back while sitting in a restaurant in 1992. That racially motivated shooting was carried out by the members of the Minneapolis Vice Lords gang. Racial tensions then were as high as they are now.

    It would not take much to incite the many unstable members of the mob that descended on the mall. The racist murders of police officers that happened in New York City has happened here. If Mr. Lambert had a better memory, he would not be so flippant.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/24/2014 - 01:58 pm.

      Protest or murder?

      Let’s pretend for a minute the story is about a tea party rally. Now, let’s imagine a commentator here said “They could stand in front of the Capitol in silly-looking costumes, or they could go murder two Las Vegas cops. Knowledgeable people will remember that Las Vegas police officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck were fatally shot in the back while eating in a restaurant in 2014. The killers, who had a history of posting right-wing anti-government comments online, draped a Gadsden flag and a swastika over Beck’s body. It would not take much to incite the many unstable members of the mob that descended on the Capitol.”

      Tell me you wouldn’t squawk in indignation over a comment like that.

  8. Submitted by LK WOODRUFF on 12/24/2014 - 12:15 pm.

    MOA Protestors

    I don’t understand what is happening in this country. Nor do I like it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but lawlessness isn’t the answer.

    These protestors were warned by MOA letters, and personal police visits, that they would be BREAKING the LAW, as the MOA is private property. So they all should have been arrested on site.

    Also, all of my adult life~I’m a Sr~it was commonly known (and perhaps the law) that while one could protest peacefully, one could not ‘impede commerce’. So no blocking of highways or entrances or exits of businesses. No physical damage, either. Etc.

    I don’t know when things changed. Or if they officially have. But getting involved proactively in the formal processes is a far better use of one’s time and energy than mob mentality protests. And one has to wonder why so many folks have so much time to spend protesting, too. Do they not have jobs, and have homes & families to attend to? Or volunteer activities to participate in?

    I don’t see any positive gains in all of these protests. In the case of ongoing protests still in Missouri, who is paying for all of it?? The extra police presence, the store & other property damage? That is normally a tax payer expense. But again, if many of the protestors aren’t working, they aren’t paying taxes….

    We all need to be grown ups and learn to calmly discuss issues and work on and negotiate practical resolutions that work well for the masses. Not to just always REACT.

    • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/24/2014 - 06:16 pm.

      First, let me note that the protestors did not block entrances or exits of stores, that is was the police and the mall security that did so.

      Second, let me note that American history is replete with protests that not only impeded commerce but also did physical damage, but if you are over 250 years of age you may possibly remember a time when our country was not like this.

      Our nation was born of protest that impeded trade and actually damaged property, that being of course the Tea Party. In fact, pretty much nothing about our nation’s birth was ‘legal’.

      The illegal protests, sometimes including damage to property or actual violence, went on to such things as the whisky rebellion all the way to the labor movement riots in the early 20th century.

      The 60’s of course hardly need to be mentioned as an example of not just protests but violent riots.

      There was no time in American history devoid of protests, and in fact this point in time is relatively quiet compared to some. Things have not changed- a nation born in protest continues in protest- and even gainfully employed people with homes and families do have time to engage in them.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/28/2014 - 05:44 pm.

        Fine

        I am fine if people choose to break the law to make a point or generate publicity.

        That is if they are fine accepting the punishment for choosing to break the law.

        To break the law and assume there should be no punishment “because they arre protesting” seems silly.

        I hope they enjoy their time in jail, paying restitution and/or paying fines. And that the publicity they gained was adequate to justify these expenses.

        • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/29/2014 - 09:53 am.

          I’m not sure if your statement above was really a reply to mine or a separate point altogether because I’m not seeing a connection. Are you somehow thinking my argument was that nobody should be punished…because I’m not sure how you could from what I wrote(?).

          My understanding is that about a dozen protestors got arrested, and they are therefore being punished. Going after the organizers for further punishment is ridiculous. Nobody participating in the protests are under the organizer’s control, they all made individual decisions to participate and each took on the individual risk of arrest and some of them took the punishment that such risk can result in.

  9. Submitted by Tom Clark on 12/24/2014 - 01:49 pm.

    Blaming the protesters for shutting down part of the MoA

    is unpossible because that was a decision made by the MoA’s management and enforced by law enforcement the MoA had brought in. As MPR’s Bob Collins noted on his NewsCut blog yesterday, there have been much larger gatherings of people at the MoA which didn’t impede shoppers, so good luck to the City of Bloomington’s attorney trying to make an argument in front of a judge that it was the demonstrators (who were peaceful throughout) that impeded commerce.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/24/2014 - 04:34 pm.

      The footage

      of people lying down in front of stores and refusing to let shoppers pass should influence the courts correctly. Since the police know who the organizers are, it’s a simple matter of naming them in a civil suit to recover lost estimated revenue. If I was a MOA merchant my attorney would already be on the case.

      • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/24/2014 - 06:05 pm.

        I don’t believe such footage exists, because I don’t believe that happened. A link could prove me wrong.

      • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 12/25/2014 - 05:09 pm.

        Simple matter

        I expect that attorneys for MOA merchants have a basic understanding of the law works, and therefore are not “on the case.” Dennis, I did not have you pegged as a supporter of frivolous lawsuits, but I guess I was wrong.

  10. Submitted by Alfred Sullivan on 12/24/2014 - 02:11 pm.

    I wouldn’t find it very amusing for people to protest on my private property. Illegal activity should have consequences.

  11. Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/29/2014 - 11:42 am.

    I’m not sure if it is proper to post links to other media sources but I thought this was interesting and at the very least wanted to bring it to the staff of the Minnpost’s attention-

    Clergy tell Bloomington to charge them, too, in #BlackLivesMatter protest

    http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2014/12/26/clergy-tell-bloomington-charge-them-too-blacklivesmatter-protest

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/30/2014 - 07:51 am.

      No Win Situation

      If the police show up and ensure peace, they are accused of being too prepared.

      If the police don’t show up and violence occurs, they are chastised for not doing their jobs.

      I did find it amusing that the article compared a cancer memorial to a protest. Has their ever been a cancer memorial that turned violent and destructive? Whereas quite a few of these “peaceful” protests seem to have a few violent people attending..

  12. Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/30/2014 - 09:03 am.

    When was the last large protest with significant violence in the Twin Cities? Yes, there are sometimes violent individuals but nothing that would require the kind of paramilitary swat teams the Bloomington City Attorney seems to think was merited. Protestors/organizers should not be on the hook for a wild overreaction on the part of the mall or the city.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/30/2014 - 10:15 am.

      More than Mpls

      In this world of cheap transportation, police have to use the experiences of other cities also.

      Who should pay for disrupting business, the shopping plans of people, etc when some people choose to violate the law to get publicity for their cause?

  13. Submitted by Theo Kozel on 12/30/2014 - 11:05 am.

    Repetition of a falsehood does not make it true.

    I’ve asked for proof that it was the protestors who disrupted businesses rather than the police shutting them down, and nobody has offered any. Most accounts indicate that is was the police/mall security that closed stores, and there have not yet been any verified reports that protestors blocked business entrances. Of course, there may be something that I have not seen (I doubt I’ve seen ALL the coverage of the protests), but the onus of proof is on the people asserting that the protestors caused businesses to close. If police closed stores when it is unproven that it was necessary, it would not be rule of law to fine the protestors for the cost but rather bending the law to punish people whose politics you disagree with.

    Some protestors were arrested and jailed for trespassing on private property. That’s fair and just.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 12/30/2014 - 01:34 pm.

      Day in Court

      The protest organizers will get their day in court, then the judge can decide if they owe money.

      Which seems ironically appropriate since they want all issues to go to court whether a Grand Jury thinks a crime was committed or not.

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