A Black Lives Matter protest brought hundreds to the Mall of America on Wednesday, December 23, though the protest site quickly shifted. Demonstrators specifically called for the release of video footage depicting the shooting death of Jamar Clark, an unarmed 24-year-old black man who was killed during an arrest by the Minneapolis Police Department last month.
The protest crowd was met with strong resistance at Mall of America, but BLM organizers led crowds out of the Bloomington mall and onto light-rail transit (LRT) bound for Minneapolis. The group poured out of train cars and into the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, forming a line across multiple lanes of open road, shutting down access to Terminal 1. Protesters temporarily shut down the highway and delayed the takeoff time of multiple flights. They then returned to the shopping center, but were barred entry at multiple department stores and parking ramps.
According to a statement from the Mall of America, 80 stores on the mall's east side were closed "for about an hour" before reopening.
"We respect the rights of free speech and peaceful assembly," reads the Mall's statement. "However, the courts have affirmed our right as private property owners to prohibit demonstrations on our property."
A total of 11 people were arrested related to Wednesday's demonstrations. Bloomington City Police arrested one person at the Mall of America for trespassing, and a second was arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. A third protester there was detained for having an outstanding warrant in Olmsted County. Later, six people were detained by Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport police for unlawful assembly and trespassing, and subsequently let go. Two others were arrested for obstruction of a lawful process with force, a gross misdemeanor, and transported to the Hennepin County jail.
Alexander Clark, the 25-year-old cousin of Jamar Clark, was among those detained by police soon after the protest moved from the Mall of America toward the LRT line.
"It's about people, not only just black people, but white people who are becoming victims of police brutality and killed by officers," Alexander Clark said, not long before he was caught by cops. "This is something that's got to have some type of awareness to it. People have to see that this shit actually exists."