November 10, 2015
The ACLU of Minnesota is relieved to learn that charges have been dismissed against their Black Lives Matter client, Kandace Montgomery, and 11 other individuals facing charges in connection with the Black Lives Matter rally at the Mall of America last December. Montgomery is one of the 11 charged with organizing the rally and faced eight misdemeanor charges. While 12 defendants have had their charges dismissed, another 16 people still face charges in connection with the rally.
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-MN Executive Director Charles Samuelson:
“Freedom of speech and assembly are fundamental rights that are the bedrock of all of our other rights. We have said from the beginning that the Black Lives Matter demonstrators were peacefully exercising their rights, which should be protected above any corporate interest. As Chief Judge Cahill’s decision states, ‘The BLM Demonstration at the MOA Was Not Automatically Rendered Unlawful for Purposes of the Unlawful Assembly Statute Simply Because It Was Unauthorized.’ We applaud the decision to dismiss charges against Montgomery and 11 others but we continue to call on Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to dismiss the charges against all of the defendants.”
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-MN Legal Director Teresa Nelson:
“These charges were an exaggerated response to a peaceful demonstration. The fact that the Mall of America declined to welcome to Black Lives Matter did not transform their peaceful gathering into an unlawful assembly. In a state in which black residents have been systematically denied the same economic and educational opportunities as white residents and have been subjected to unconscionable racial disparities in our criminal justice system, the City of Bloomington should join the conversation about ways in which we can ensure that Black Lives Matter rather than focus energy and resources on prosecuting those who were calling attention to all of the injustices faced by people of color.”
The following statement can be attributed to Kandace Montgomery:
“Corporate profits will not matter more than Black Lives. Today, this is a victory, along a path of many, towards Black Liberation across the globe.”
The following statement can be attributed to Black Lives Matter Minnneapolis
"BLM Minneapolis will continue to support those with charges still standing, protestors shouldn't be punished for standing up for Black lives. We will continue to fight to make all Black Lives Matter!"
Cooperating attorneys in the case include Scott Flaherty, Michael Sawers, Jordan Weber, and Cyrus Malek, of Briggs and Morgan, and Teresa Nelson of the ACLU-MN.
The decision can be found here.