The attorneys representing 36 people charged for their alleged roles in a Black Lives Matter holiday season demonstration at the Mall of America have filed motions to dismiss all charges.
“No more tax dollars should be wasted prosecuting people for exercising their constitutional right to free speech.” Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy Pounds said.
Lead attorneys for the legal team representing 10 of 11 individuals identified as alleged "ringleaders" of the mall's demonstration filed the motions on July 1 to dismiss all charges. Motions to dismiss charges for another 25 individuals, charged as a result of the peaceful demonstration, have also been filed.
Black Lives Matter organizer Michael McDowell said that just 9 days before their protest, twice as many people filled the MOA Rotunda in a memorial for cancer victim Zach Sobiech. Many ask why wasn't this group treated the same.
Members of the protest were hit with charges ranging from unlawful assembly to disorderly conduct. The discrepancy in how the two events were handled, Levy-Pounds believes, only perpetuates negative stereotypes about African Americans and the Mall of America.
The next court hearing in the case of the 36 is set for August 14.