Charges: Officers infiltrated Black Lives Matter meeting, were spit on by MOA protesters

- Update at bottom --

According to criminal charges filed against 10 Black Lives Matter protesters, Bloomington police officers infiltrated a Black Lives Matter meeting to gain intelligence in the days ahead of the December 20 demonstration.

A public meeting of organizers held on December 17 was attended by plain-clothed Bloomington officers, the complaint says.

Backstory: Bloomington authorities file charges against Black Lives Matter MOA protesters

"Each of the speakers at the planning session continued to direct people to the MOA rotunda for the purpose of calling attention to their private cause by disrupting business on the busiest shopping day of the year," it continues. "Marshal volunteers gave [a BLM organizer] their cell phone numbers for a phone list" and ended up receiving texts from the organizers.

The next day, BLM organizers Catherine Salonek and Todd Dahlstrom met with Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts and MOA security representatives. Despite warnings that the protest was illegal and was likely to result in arrests, Salonek and Dahlstrom "insisted that the protest would go on as planned, discussed the general manner in which it would be conducted, and [said] it would last for approximately two or more hours," the complaint says.

And indeed, it did.

The complaint also notes that officers at the mall during the protest reporting being spit on from an upper level of the MOA's rotunda.

"Officers observed many families with children who appeared visibly frightened and upset by the protesters," the complaint adds.

In the days following the demonstration, Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson said she wants BLM organizers to pay for the overtime costs incurred by the Bloomington Police Department in its effort to control the protest. The complaint quantifies what she's talking about.

"The cost to taxpayer of [Bloomington] for the police overtime and additional police resources of other communities currently exceeds $25,000," it says. "The cost to the MOA for the additional security needed to maintain public safety during the demonstration currently exceeds $8,000."

Below are the specific charges meted out in connection with the protest so far. All charges are misdemeanors and each person was charged by summons, meaning no mugshots have been taken. The maximum penalty for each charge is 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. (To read one of the complaints for yourself -- the details are the same in all of them -- click here.)

Michael McDowell (21)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Mica Grimm (24)

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Kandace Montgomery (24)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

-- Public nuisance

-- Aiding and abetting public nuisance

Catherine Salonek (26)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Todd Dahlstrom (49)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Adja Gildersleve (25)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Shannon Bade (45)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Jie Wronski-Riley (18)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Amity Foster (38)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

Nekima Levy-Pounds (38)

-- Trespassing

-- Aiding and abetting trespassing

-- Unlawful assembly

-- Aiding and abetting unlawful assembly

-- Disorderly conduct

-- Aiding and abetting disorderly conduct

-- Public nuisance

-- Aiding and abetting public nuisance


:::: UPDATE ::::

This afternoon, the ACLU-MN released a statement characterizing Bloomington officials' decision to press charges against Black Lives Matter protesters as "disgusting."

"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," the statement says. "These problems are happening in our backyard and should not be ignored."

More from the statement:

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 one of 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.

In another statement, one of the protesters facing charges, Mica Grimm, says, "These charges are absurd."

"The implications of forcing protesters to pay for police presence they didn't ask for sets a dangerous precedent that could potentially affect all citizens and negates the very rights afforded by the constitution to peacefully assemble," Grimm adds. "We will not let these charges silence us. Our message that Black Lives Matter is needed more than ever as just hours ago St. Paul police took the life of another black man under muddled circumstances."

Another defendant, St. Thomas law professor and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy-Pounds, says, "It's clear that the Bloomington City Attorney has chosen to pursue charges as a way of stifling public protest and the voices of those who care about justice."

"We renew our call for police accountability and an end to the worst in the country racial disparities right here in Minnesota with immediate systemic changes," she adds.

Black Lives Matter plans to hold a #ReclaimMLK march next Monday at 1:00 p.m. at the intersection of University Ave. and Snelling Ave. in St. Paul. The group says more than 1,600 have already confirmed they'll attend.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in – includes advertiser stories