FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jana Kooren, jkooren@aclu-mn.org, 651.645.4097 x123, 651.485.5925 (c)

St. Paul, Minn – The City of Bloomington recently filed charges against against numerous individuals who allegedly organized the Black Lives Matter Demonstration at the Mall of America on December 20. The following statement can be attributed to Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota is disappointed that the Bloomington City Attorney has filed charges against individuals that they have identified as the organizers of the Black Lives Matter/MOA protest. These charges are unnecessary and excessive. There is finally growing concern and dialogue regarding the failure of our criminal justice system to hold police officers accountable for acts of excessive force and other misconduct. These problems are happening in our backyard and should not be ignored. The ACLU-MN released data last year that shows massive disparities in arrest rates for low level offenses between blacks and whites in Minneapolis. Arrest disparities are just one of the many problems that plague our criminal justice system. Another alarming statistic is that African American young men are 21 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than whites. It is unfortunate that the Bloomington City Attorney has chosen to focus so much time, energy, and taxpayer resources to pursue vengeance for a peaceful gathering on these important issues. Rather than joining the dialogue that has arisen from this national movement, the City has instead chosen to try and silence those who are speaking out.

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