"The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparities

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Viktor Vaughn
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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby Viktor Vaughn » March 11th, 2015, 11:45 am

Should the thousands of people who participated all be prosecuted? There's quite a bit a prosecuter discretion exercised just to decide which of the handful of folks they're charging out of the masses.
You (and those arrested) seem to be suggesting that because you agree with the protest and disagree with the law that all should be forgiven?
All should be forgiven because the pursuit of justice outweighs petty laws designed to protect the upper crust from being confronted by non-violent dissent.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby Didier » March 11th, 2015, 12:04 pm

Viktor Vaughn wrote:Should the thousands of people who participated all be prosecuted? There's quite a bit a prosecuter discretion exercised just to decide which of the handful of folks they're charging out of the masses.
This is what I meant in my first post. I haven't followed this closely, so I'm speaking more philosophically than based on the nuances of this story.
Viktor Vaughn wrote:All should be forgiven because the pursuit of justice outweighs petty laws designed to protect the upper crust from being confronted by non-violent dissent.
The protesters didn't have to protest at the Mall of America. They could have protested in the parking lot and not gotten arrested. But they chose to protest within the mall, where they knew it was illegal but more effective, and then some people got arrested. That's really a textbook example how civil disobedience works.

What's the point of having property rights when they can be violated for subjective reasons?

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby WHS » March 11th, 2015, 12:20 pm

The thing is, Bloomington pushing forward with the prosecution has only made this incident into a flashpoint and an ongoing controversy for MOA and the city. If they'd just drop it, the whole thing would probably fade into the background pretty quickly as one of a series of Michael Brown/Eric Garner protests.

I think it's correct to point out that participants in civil disobedience fully expect -- maybe even hope -- to get arrested. Large-scale arrests are the sort of thing that makes the news, which is basically what the protesters want in the first place. I'm sure that's the also impetus behind demanding the charges be dropped -- it keeps the issue current, creates further coverage. It's just strange that the authorities in Bloomington don't themselves seem to realize this. The incentive to protest and the effectiveness of the protests are inversely correlated with the severity of official (over)reaction. If they want this to go away, they should learn a lesson from Kaler's response to the Whose Diversity imbroglio at the U: be accommodating, maybe even excessively solicitous. Drop the charges. Give the protesters nothing to complain about. When you give protesters an official foil to push off of, you're only hurting yourself and helping them.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby Didier » March 11th, 2015, 12:24 pm

Is the concern just about setting a precedent? i.e. drop these charges and next Christmas a white supremacist rally will expect the same treatment?

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby WHS » March 11th, 2015, 12:31 pm

That's true -- I guess the next time white supremacists organize a national wave of protests in opposition to a widely-discussed racial injustice, MOA will be in quite a bind.

More seriously, I cannot see how precedent is a plausible concern.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby kirby96 » March 11th, 2015, 12:42 pm

WHS wrote:That's true -- I guess the next time white supremacists organize a national wave of protests in opposition to a widely-discussed racial injustice, MOA will be in quite a bind.

More seriously, I cannot see how precedent is a plausible concern.
Because you can't predict the future. In my field, we work very closely with government agencies and are VERY careful about what we tell them we will and will not do for the very reason that we don't want it to be interpreted as a COMMITMENT to do or not do it in the future. It's an entirely reasonable approach.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby Viktor Vaughn » March 11th, 2015, 12:44 pm

Sure it's subjective. But let's not go too crazy with moral relativity. Was the end of Jim Crow laws subjectively a good thing? It probably was. Certainly many people at the time thought the chaos was indicative of American's downfall.

We can see now that those lunch counter sit-ins were one step in a long struggle towards a more just future. At some point, maybe we can accept that expanding human rights is objectively the right thing to do.

How do white supremists fit into this long arc pointing towards justice? They can probably sue if they're treated differently. But I'd rather let them demonstrate and use that to illustrate their corrosive message of hate.

None of these issues are easy, but determining right from wrong for yourself rarely is.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby FISHMANPET » March 11th, 2015, 12:47 pm

So the deal is, the Bloomington prosecutor is trying to target the leaders of BLM and also trying to get BLM to pay the ~$40k in expenses the city incurred in police overtime etc etc (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this).

The objection isn't that they were arrested, the objection isn't that they're being charged. BLM was aware this was civil disobedience. The objection is to the way in which the city of Bloomington is pursuing this matter.

But all that said, property rights are not absolute. MOA does not have the right, for example, to summarily execute anybody that enters the mall. So as a society we've already accepted that property rights are not absolute. It's a line somewhere between "absolute control of the property owner" and "absolute control by the state." And I don't think line is set divinely. It's created by man as a reaction to the society in which it exists (for example, the Bill of Rights strengthened it in a specific reaction to behavior by the state). So again I think it's cowardly to just look at the law as written and refuse to think any deeper about it. Yes it is illegal. But why is it illegal. Should it be illegal. And since we have prosecutorial discretion, should charges be filed.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby EOst » March 11th, 2015, 12:49 pm

How often are the leaders of unauthorized protests charged in Bloomington?

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby mplsjaromir » March 11th, 2015, 12:54 pm

Didier wrote:Is the concern just about setting a precedent? i.e. drop these charges and next Christmas a white supremacist rally will expect the same treatment?
Society is already organized around white supremacy, no need for anyone to rally.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby WHS » March 11th, 2015, 12:54 pm

kirby96 wrote: Because you can't predict the future. In my field, we work very closely with government agencies and are VERY careful about what we tell them we will and will not do for the very reason that we don't want it to be interpreted as a COMMITMENT to do or not do it in the future. It's an entirely reasonable approach.
Bloomington's hands aren't tied in the future if they exercise some discretion here. More to the point, this is obviously a pretty unique set of events and the city and mall should treat it with some delicacy and common sense rather than pretending to some one-size-fits-all approach. If something of a similar nature happens in the future, they can again address it as circumstances require. As things are, they're just making the situation worse for themselves.

(In fact, it's their current approach -- "We are required to follow the letter of the law" -- that limits their discretion in the unlikely event that this all happens again.)

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby mulad » March 12th, 2015, 9:45 am

FISHMANPET wrote:So the deal is, the Bloomington prosecutor is trying to target the leaders of BLM and also trying to get BLM to pay the ~$40k in expenses the city incurred in police overtime etc etc (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this).

The objection isn't that they were arrested, the objection isn't that they're being charged. BLM was aware this was civil disobedience. The objection is to the way in which the city of Bloomington is pursuing this matter.
The fact that they're trying to get the protest organizers to pay for police costs is one of the more unusual aspects of this case. That's something that's rarely pursued, from what I understand.

I'm lacking good context for how these sorts of things are normally handled, but my perception is that these situations are usually more of a slap-on-the-wrist sort of deal -- A few leaders of the group should expect to face some prosecution, but nothing all that heavy. A night or two in jail, plus a modest personal fine, for instance. It does the job of saying the law was upheld, without placing an undue burden on the people who were speaking out. It's the type of thing that can be open-and-shut in a week, and not put a drag on the justice system.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby David Greene » March 12th, 2015, 9:49 am

mulad wrote:I'm lacking good context for how these sorts of things are normally handled, but my perception is that these situations are usually more of a slap-on-the-wrist sort of deal -- A few leaders of the group should expect to face some prosecution, but nothing all that heavy. A night or two in jail, plus a modest personal fine, for instance. It does the job of saying the law was upheld, without placing an undue burden on the people who were speaking out. It's the type of thing that can be open-and-shut in a week, and not put a drag on the justice system.
It's usually not even that much. People were arrested for blocking the Cedar Ave. bridge a few years ago. They spent a few hours in jail being processed and that was it. No fine, No prosecution.

The city attorney is definitely way out of the norm here.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby mulad » March 12th, 2015, 5:53 pm

Sure. Since the mall is private property rather than public right-of-way, it's reasonable to expect somewhat more legal trouble. I don't think it's right for the mall to expect to be immune from action that happens in hundreds of cities across the country, but they certainly don't need to allow every random street preacher.

I'm not exactly sure where to draw the line. I think they've managed to be far more restrictive than they should be. The case that set the precedent for the MOA was about the sale of fur clothing. No matter where people stand on that issue, I hope they acknowledge that the human cruelty being protested has had a much more direct negative impact on our society. There should be greater leniency/tolerance from mall management and the judicial system because of that.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby David Greene » March 12th, 2015, 9:42 pm

mulad wrote:I'm not exactly sure where to draw the line. I think they've managed to be far more restrictive than they should be. The case that set the precedent for the MOA was about the sale of fur clothing. No matter where people stand on that issue, I hope they acknowledge that the human cruelty being protested has had a much more direct negative impact on our society. There should be greater leniency/tolerance from mall management and the judicial system because of that.
In this case the protest was not about any specific merchant or any merchant at all. No one impeded shoppers, there was plenty of room to move through. The Mall forced businesses to close, not the protesters.

This is about the city attorney making a political statement.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby TTT » March 13th, 2015, 11:17 am

mplsjaromir wrote:
Didier wrote:Is the concern just about setting a precedent? i.e. drop these charges and next Christmas a white supremacist rally will expect the same treatment?
Society is already organized around white supremacy, no need for anyone to rally.
Wow.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 13th, 2015, 12:42 pm

I should tell my Jewish wife!!

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby MinnMonkey » March 17th, 2015, 2:30 pm

Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't recall seeing anything saying that the Mall of America is pressing charges. If this is true, I find it strange that the city would go after this even though the property owners seemed to have moved on.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby mattaudio » March 17th, 2015, 2:46 pm

^That's not true from what I've seen. I can't find the links right now, but there are plenty of copies of emails between Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson and MOA counsel. Lockstep, and coordinating.

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Re: "The Miracle of Mpls", Local Responses & Racial Disparit

Postby mplsjaromir » March 17th, 2015, 3:31 pm

https://www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatt ... =1&theater

The above links to leaked photos of correspondence between MOA's and the City of Bloomington's counsel. MOA is basically telling Bloomington City Attorney to throw the book at the protesters so that MOA can save face. Hard to have faith in public institutions that so willing collude with big business.


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