Defending the rights of protestors from overzealous prosecution
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is representing Kandace Montgomery, one of the Black Lives Matter defendants in an ongoing court case. She is one of the 11 individuals charged with multiple offenses that stem from a December 2014 rally at the Mall of America.
The peaceful Black Lives Matter rally on December 20 arose out of the need to call attention to the blatant discrimination people of color face at every level of the criminal justice system, starting from initial police interactions all the way to conviction and sentencing. The purpose of this movement is to change the way communities of color are policed across the country. Though the protest at the Mall of America was peaceful, tensions escalated when scores of extra police were sent in wearing riot gear to disperse the crowd. Now, Montgomery and ten others are being charged with several offenses including trespassing on private property.
As a long-term supporter of freedom of speech, freedom of association, and racial justice, the ACLU-MN is representing Kandace because excessive charges brought against her are unnecessary and have a chilling effect on the freedoms of speech and of association. The ACLU-MN believes that the Mall of America’s unusually close relationship with law enforcement in connection with Montgomery’s case should allow her, and those like her, to maintain their First Amendment rights while at the Mall of America.
In late 2015 a Hennepin County Judge dismissed all of the charges against Kandace, along with the other organizers.