Not content to lean on leaders, Black Lives Matter and other protesters are trying to pressure the broader public in the Twin Cities into taking sides and taking action against police violence.
Last weekend, that meant shutting down a stretch of I-94, where hundreds of protesters clashed with cops and more than 50 people were arrested for third-degree rioting. Earlier this week, it was I-35W that was shut down, this time during morning rush hour.
This coming weekend, the protest movement in the wake of Philando Castile's death moves to the mall. Black Lives Matter St. Paul has announced plans to stage a protest at the Rosedale Center shopping mall in Roseville on Sunday afternoon.
Organizers are trying to make it hard for the mall to prevent its action: Protesters are discouraged from bringing signs, and the demonstration has a time (1:00 p.m.) but no set location. Its intent is clear.
"Lets [sic] shut it down," reads a Facebook post on the Black Lives Matter St. Paul page. Later, the call to action says Black Lives Matter should "hit them where it hurt$."
The group's most immediate goal is pressuring the city of Falcon Heights, the St. Paul suburb where Castile was pulled over and killed, to drop its contract with the St. Anthony Police Department. A recent Associated Press report found that black people accounted for more than 50 percent of the arrests in Falcon Heights, St. Anthony, and Lauderdale this year, and 38 percent of all people arrested since 2011, despite making up only 7 percent of those communities' total population.
Castile himself was a frequent target for getting pulled over by police: Just 32, he'd been ticketed more than 50 times — often for driving without insurance or a license — with the vast majority of those coming in Ramsey County.
Representatives of the Rosedale mall haven't commented on the protest threat, but the Pioneer Press reports businesses that operate in the mall were given instructions to prepare for the event. Owners can opt to close the gates to their store and lock up if they think the protesters pose a threat to "store security," and are required to do so if protesters are positioned immediately outside the store.