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If Mall of America Can Ban Protesters, Can It Ban Gays and Indians?

A couple thousand protesters kinked the hose of commerce Saturday by flashmobbing a "Black Lives Matter" protest in the Mall of America. During the protest, St. Paul writer Ira Booker Tweeted this photo:

Framing this giant warning next to the big Christmas tree brilliantly juxtaposes authoritarianism, religion, and commerce. Taking this photo may place Booker in the Mall's suspicious-activity database.

I understand and defend the basic right to private property. Pretty much every store in America is private property. When we're on their turf, our corporate overlords have the right to say, "Ho Ho Ho! Merry Shut Your Mouth and Shop!" If our actions on their property interfere with their normal business operations, they have the right to ask us to leave.

But here's our con-law civil rights brainteaser for the morning: What's the difference between the Mall of America ejecting you for exercising your First Amendment right to speak and assemble and a baker refusing to sell you a cake for exercising your Fourteenth Amendment right to be a citizen while gay or Indian?

In related news, one day after American Indian activists protested police brutality in Rapid City, Rapid City police officer Anthony Meirose shot and killed Lakota man Allen Locke:

Locke, according to [RCPD Captain Dan] Rud, attacked Officer Anthony Meirose when the officer was responding to an “unwanted subject” at 541 Pahasapa Road, Lakota Homes.

Rud said that Locke, armed with a knife, attacked Meirose at the doorway to the home. Meirose then shot Locke several times.

The officer, Rud added, did not have time to use any non-lethal weapon [Jack Siebold, "Police Release Name of Rapid City Man Killed Saturday," Rapid City Journal, 2014.12.21].

Native Lives Matter... but don't plan to march around saying that at the Rushmore Mall.


  1. John Tsitrian 2014.12.22

    There's a profound difference, Cory. Denying me service/access because of who I am is one thing. Denying me the same because of what I'm doing is another. If the assembly is disrupting the normal flow and order of commerce I'd say it isn't protected by the Constitution's injunction that it must remain peaceable. If I were a merchant at the mall and the assembly was cutting into my business, I'd be justifiably upset about the situation.

  2. jerry 2014.12.22

    I think there was taxpayer money involved with the building of the Mall of America in line with the TIF's and other such funding mechanisms we use each day for private building with public money. This makes the Mall of America no different than protesting on the public streets. The "owners" of Mall of America are us, all of us. There is management that does very well while the rest of us, hope our investment with tax dollars will continue to provide dividends that increase the sales tax for public services.

    The screen shot of the writing on the wall was interesting as it assumes that Americans know how to read. A loud verbal command would have disrupted the money coming into the coffers, we can't have that. The tweet was spot on.

  3. jerry 2014.12.22

    Native lives do matter. We can start making those lives matter by education. Education always seems like an inviting topic on this blog, so here goes the Minneapolis Star diving headlong into the debate. Me, I could not think of a better way to start and continue than what they wrote.

  4. Bill Fleming 2014.12.22

    Perhaps interesting to note that the sign is at best reactionary. Presumably, the demonstration already happened. Not sure there is really any way to prevent them Cory. They can't arrest everybody. It's a fluid situation.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.12.22

    The South Dakota GOP thrives on violence.

    Under the Rounds and Daugaard administrations the rates of violent crime in the failed red state have increased dramatically. GOP leadership in the state, especially in Rapid City, has fostered conditions where reported aggravated assaults have increased 100%.

    South Dakota's red state legislature loves violence but believes cannabis is evil. As the failed red state concentrates on cannabis interdiction and the incarceration of non-whites rather than on violent crime, the state's residents are falling through the cracks.

    A heartbreaking plea from Pine Ridge appeared in the rez blogosphere recently:

    "Far more harm than good has been done by the presence of Christian groups and non-profits on the reservation (non-profits are modern era heirs to the legacy of early Christian groups). Christianity and non-profits on reservations have mostly been about profiteering, exploitation, religious indoctrination, and culture subversion."

    The GOP has failed: it's time for real leaders.

  6. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Larry, our whole country thrives on violence.

    Look at how much people are willing to pay to watch violent movies, play violent games, watch humans beat the crap out of other humans, and enjoy watching animals being abused.

    (I am not saying that watching all of the violence necessarily causes violent behavior, just saying that we live in a culture that condones spending money to watch violence.)

  7. jerry 2014.12.22

    Guardians of Peace, or the GOP of North Korea are pretty much the same as their counterparts in South Dakota. Once GOP always GOP.

  8. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    It is attitudes demonstrated on this blog that gets cops killed. I can see the happiness as you liberals promote hate and division.

  9. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Steve S., IMO, you also promote hatred/anger and division, and you seem to enjoy doing so.

    But. thank you for the gift of a giggle for this day.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.22

    Jerry, you are correct about tax support for the Mall of America: last year, the Minnesota Legislature handed MOA a quarter-billion dollars in tax breaks to subsidize a big mall expansion. Perhaps we should require that MOA at least maintain an indoor central public forum area?

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.22

    Steve, Steve, Steve: I'm not getting any cops killed.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.22

    Bill, as I understand it, the cops arrested 25 people at the Mall of America Saturday. Indeed, far from everybody. But one livestreamer caught the alarming images of police in riot helmets wielding long batons and forming human walls to herd the protesters along. If I were shopping with my child, I'm not sure what she'd find scarier: protesters shouting things she can't understand or police so armed for battle. herding us along.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.22

    John, wasn't Senator Jensen saying that his legislation to allow businesses to discriminate against homosexuals was about allowing businesses to exercise their private property rights and protect them from anti-straight bullying that prevented them from conducting their normal business?

  14. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.22

    Jerry, there is money coming in to the Catholic church on the rez. Red Cloud Indian School has an opperating budget of $12,500,000 a year. They say that they can educate their students for $7000 a piece per year. That would come to $4,200,000. What is the other $8,300,000 being used for? I know its 90% donations but $8,300,000 is a lot of money to play with. If you took total budget and divided it by 600 the cost would be just over $20,000 per student.

    There is a long waiting list to get in this school because of their success rate graduating students. It looks like some form of private school is part of the answer to the crumbling educating infrastructure on the rez.

    I have never had a call for donations from Red Cloud school, but did on a monthly basis from Crazy Horse, the school in the picture in the Min paper. The damage that you see in the picture was not caused by neglect, it was caused by vandalism. The same goes for their olympic size pool complete with 3 meter board. It once boasted fine art in all the hallways done by some of the greatest artists in the world that just happen to live on the reservation.

    I'll never forget finding a friend that had painted one of the murals. He was setting at a table in the legion club in Martin nursing a beer, one of many that day. He was holding a Polaroid picture in his hands and when i set down he handed it to me. Someone had spray painted gang signs on his art.

    That was in about 1990 and the school was only 15 years old. The pool lasted six years if i remember right, until someone dumped trash in it and stole the circulation pump. Last time i looked in the pool room the pool looked like it was being used for storage.

    Now the public school north of Long Valley is getting students that used to go to Crazy Horse. Their parents couldnt stand the problems in Wanblee anymore so they are sending their kids 17 miles away.

    The Blindman

  15. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    Cory, the 2 NYPD killed on Saturday was a direct result of the cultural Neo-Marxism that you promote.

  16. jerry 2014.12.22

    Hello Blindman, thanks for the good information. I am not an educator but feel as a business model, something like the black robes have bought to Red Cloud is a very good model to work from. Of course, when you have the power of the purse, you can make the education experience work very well. The public system could work in such a way too if there was the political will to do so. Operating on a shoe string budget is not the way to advance children and especially Native children as they have a lot more difficult situation than there counterparts have. Taxes must be raised to help a crumbling school system that would in turn help society itself move forward. This will never happen under the GOP as they only believe in private vouchers that decree who is accepted and who is not. If you want solidarity and progress, they must be not allowed the power to dictate policy.

  17. Patrick Duffy 2014.12.22

    The law concerning protest at malls is different than the law concerning protest in a public venue because one is private property, the other public property.

    There are factors (for example, a continual police presence at the mall, like the RCPD office at the mall here in Rapid City) that can pull a "private" mall to a place in the law where it becomes a public realm.

    As usual, the devil is in the details.

    And no, just because a private mall can bar protesters does not mean that the same facility can deny access to gays or Indians. The legal issue is a profoundly different one once a private actor attempts to deny entry based upon the immutable characteristics of those who seek entry.

  18. john tsitrian 2014.12.22

    Can't recall all aspects of the Jensen lunacy, but it seems fatuous to create a law that anticipates "anti-straight bullying" from occurring. I note that Pat Duffy's more authoritative comment below seems to be about what I have in mind.

  19. john tsitrian 2014.12.22

    Duffy's comment "above."

  20. jerry 2014.12.22

    I read someplace that the continued police presence at the Rapid City Mall was to curtail gangs that had a tendency to gather there. Is that still the reason for the presence there or is it for shoplifters? There is another big mall in Rapid City as well, the Rushmore Crossing, do they have a police office there as well?

  21. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    Jerry, I agree that the media (both so-called left and right) is helping promote hatred among various groups in America. Divide and conquer. And when some nutcase acts on it, their plans move forward. As you said, the Constitution needs to be completely destroyed.

  22. bearcreekbat 2014.12.22

    The idea that it is legally permissible to discriminate against behaviors (what I am doing) but not against intrinsic qualities (who I am) leads to complex distinctions. For example, is denying someone services, such as providing a wedding cake to a gay couple who want to marry, permissible because it is based on their desire to engage in a behavior - marry, or is it impermissible because it is based on who they are - a gay couple? Is denying a homeless Native American access to a business - such as hanging out in a store on a cold day, permissible because it is based on what the Native American wants to do - have access to the public business, or impermissible because the denial is based on who the person is - a homeless Native American?

    It would seem that the discriminatory effect of behavior should trump the basis for the discrimination, whether it is based on the proposed conduct - such as getting married, using public services, or demonstrating against police violence, or based on who seeks to engage in that conduct - such as a gay couple, a member of a minority group, or a group of minorities.

  23. jerry 2014.12.22

    Funny thing is Sibson, I do not seem to recall ever saying the Constitution needed to be destroyed. I have always and will continue to be supportive of the Constitution and what it stands for. I think you must be thinking of the head torture dude, Dick Cheney, who declared that the Constitution was just a piece of paper. Please try to not get us confused.

  24. jerry 2014.12.22

    I wonder why Sibson and the rest of his crowd, did not say anything about this mutt.

    I did not hear that there was anyone and I mean anyone doing the blame game on him. Of course, he does have a different shade of skin tone than that of the shooter in New York and also, Frien was not mentally ill. He was just a cop hunter and killer.

  25. mikeyc, that's me! 2014.12.22

    Police lives matter too.
    Sick of the criminal behavior insanity.

  26. jerry 2014.12.22

    All lives matter and it should be up to a judge and jury to decide their fates.

  27. Owen 2014.12.22

    "It is attitudes demonstrated on this blog that gets cops killed. I can see the happiness as you liberals promote hate and division."

    That's crap (sorry about the French Cory) Steve. Your right win buddies started this when Obama was elected in 2008. The birthing and Muslim BS among many other comments. Hell all you have to do Steve is read the letters to the editor in the Mitchell Daily Republic. The racist comments there are sure not liberals. They're Tea Party activists.

  28. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    "I do not seem to recall ever saying the Constitution needed to be destroyed"

    "Blame should be squared where it needs to be squared on the easy access to guns"

    The Second Amendment was a key part of the Constitution.

  29. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    "The racist comments there are sure not liberals."

    It is liberals who judge them as racist. That is my point. How many liberals would come unglued if it is pointed out that Obama's mom is white? That would disqualify him as the first black president. And only true racists would view being a black president as being more important than being a good president.

  30. Bill Fleming 2014.12.22

    Speaking of what's legal and what's not, and protests and what not, I see North Korea's entire internet is toast. Yikes!

  31. Steve Sibson 2014.12.22

    "Although Frein did not resist arrest, he suffered a cut to the bridge of his nose, as well as a scrape over his left eye and bruises to his cheeks and eyes."

    That was from your link Jerry.

    Good thing he was white Jerry, otherwise the race baiters would have another excuse to protest America for having racist police who abuse blacks. You are right Jerry, I never made any attempt to protest the battered face of a dangerous man who was not resisting arrest. The color of his skin is not the issue. Too bad you race baiters don't get that.

  32. jerry 2014.12.22

    Bless your heart Sibson, that was not meant as a slam against the Constitution, that was meant as a slam against people like yourself that believe everyone should have access to a gun. I have not one problem with guns nor with gun ownership for responsible, mentally stable human beings. What troubles me is the easy access for people like the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter as well as this mentally ill shooter that killed the two officers in New York. We need more treatment facilities for the mentally incapacitated and more control of the guns they can easily get their hands on.
    Why do you believe the insane should be allowed to have the access to guns of any nature?

  33. Owen 2014.12.22

    actually he'd be half black and more important he's a great President. Doesn't matter what color or half-color he is. A great President is a great President.
    What's even more impressive is how much good he has done with the Republicans trying to block everything he does-whether he's black or half black

  34. larry kurtz 2014.12.22

    Naát'áaníí Nez Means:

    "Just goes to show what they still think of indigenous people in this country. They refuse to believe that we are living breathing humans."

  35. jerry 2014.12.22

    Fein stalked and ambushed members of the police force. He was tracked down and captured alive. A couple of scrapes is one helluva lot better than getting shot 5 times, don'tcha think? Yep, there was a reason the guy did not get 5 rounds either, he was not of color. Call me a race baiting, I call you dishonest for not being able to see that.

  36. Bill Fleming 2014.12.22

    How about three of you wise men maybe ride over here on your camels and give Sibby a nice Christmas wedgie. Or maybe we just ask the angels to do it.

    • <<|{]:^)}}} Ho. Ho. Ho. ***

  37. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.22

    BF, all I have to say is this.SONY has more money then North Korea, they also have some damn good tech support lurking in the studio. At this point it would be game and set to SONY but its still early in the game

    The Blindman

  38. JeniW 2014.12.22

    Obama is bi-racial that is common knowledge. He identifies himself as being black. So what? I am, nor anyone else are going to die because Obama's mother is Caucasian and his father is a person of color.

    I am bi-racial, I can identify myself as Caucasian or as Native American and I would still be correct.

    Think of the song that goes "What color is God's skin? What color is God's? I said it's black, brown, it's yellow, and it's red and it's white, everyone's the same in the good Lord's sight."

    Is Obama a perfect president, of course not, there never has been and never will be a president that everyone will like.

    The only people who are hung up about people who are bi or multi racial are those who fail to see each individual as God's child.

  39. Bill Fleming 2014.12.22

    Never been anything like it. Bill D. A whole new frontier, that's for sure.

  40. grudznick 2014.12.22

    Mr. bearcreekbat, maybe the question should be, is the homeless person being denied access to hang out in a business and window shop based on because of who she is (an Indian) or what she chooses to do (be homeless.)

    And could it would be interesting to find out if in that case the business would permit a non-Indian person with a proven home to hang out and just sit there all day buying nothing. If the non-Indian person with a proven home also cannot just hang out buying nothing taking up a chair then I would say all of those people were being discriminated against for what they were doing: hanging out buying nothing and taking a chair from a paying customer.

  41. grudznick 2014.12.22

    In other words, it is in this case clearly the conduct of being a loiterer that is causing the discrimination. And loitering is clearly something that is a chosen behavior even more than choosing to be a bum.

  42. jerry 2014.12.22

    Loitering would kill the coffee swilling business at the local cafe's and in the big towns, McDonald's would take a hit. In the old days, tourist businesses used to salt their parking lot with abandoned cars to make it look like there were a lot of people in the business. So now, when you see a lot of people in the establishment, a passerby thinks the place must be good. How do you decide if a joint has good taters and gravy Mr. Grudznick? You surely don't simply go by word of mouth do you?

  43. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.22

    Sibson has shown just how racist he is, what difference should it make to a practicing Christian what color the skin is of the President of the United States. Why does he have to be called the first black president or the first half black president when he has a name? Sibson is locked in a time where it is necessary to assign labels to support their own insecurity and superiority. How will America ever move forward in breaking down racial barriers when there are Sibson's out there.
    I certainly don't call Sibson that idiot white guy from Mitchell when idiot suffices.

  44. jerry 2014.12.22

    Remember Roger, Sibson was infatuated with Thad Cochran's Klan opponent down there in his homeland of Mississippi. Ole McDaniel just had Sibson completely whistling Dixie because of his "positions" on many things and was devastated when Thad brought out the black vote and smothered his idol. Fun times. Sibson does indeed wear his heart on his sleeve.

  45. grudznick 2014.12.22

    In case I don't get to blog at you ladies and fellows in the next day please all have a Happy Holiday/Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Quanza/Bessed Festidvus/Wiken Winter or what ever you may be celebrating. And if you're not celebrating some thing then like me you should just be glad to see another Thursday. Help your neighbors and don't be grunches.

  46. Bill Fleming 2014.12.22

    Sibby's Dominionist theological worldview makes him prejudiced and supremacist by definition. The only reason he doesn't qualify as a 'racist' is that he doesn't discriminate by ethnicity (as far as I can tell). He's an equal opportunity bigot. LOL

  47. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.22

    2 hilarious comments, first from Bill:
    • <<|{]:^)}}}

    Then Roger: "I certainly don't call Sibson that idiot white guy from Mitchell when idiot suffices."

    Hahahahahahahaha! Hahahahahahahaha!
    Thank you so much gentlemen. You gave me a great laugh and I appreciate it.

  48. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.22

    The Mall of America told the protesters not to bring their march into the building, but they did offer space in a nearby parking lot. Of course the point of the demonstration is to inconvenience people enough to get plenty of attention.

    As you know, the folks came into the mall anyway. The police were not insistent or overly aggressive. Verbal announcements via the PA system asking the demonstrators to leave were made several times before any action was taken.

    I'm definitely on the side of the demonstators. However, I believe MOA is within its rights as a private business place. I also think the police handled it well.

    BTW, Minneapolis' white, female mayor is married to a black man and they have 2-3 children who appear black. The city's chief of police is a married lesbian. While MOA is in the suburb of Bloomington, I believe diversity in positions of power makes a difference in MN.

  49. Steve Sibson 2014.12.23

    "Sibson has shown just how racist he is, what difference should it make to a practicing Christian what color the skin is of the President of the United States."

    Roger you have it exactly backwards. I am the one arguing that skin color is irrelevant. You liberal race baiters are using skin color to create hatred.

    Jerry in case you don't know, New York has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation.

  50. Steve Sibson 2014.12.23

    Deb, sorry you still promote racism. So not Christian.

  51. larry kurtz 2014.12.23

    Rapid City is getting ready to blow up and Sibson denies racism exists: how conservative.

  52. Steve Sibson 2014.12.23

    Larry, I am not denying racism exists. You are part of it by promoting hatred toward whites.

  53. jerry 2014.12.23

    Sibson, you are clueless with regard to where the shooter even came from. He did not live in Bed-Stuy, he came from Baltimore. Baltimore is in a different state. He shot his ex girlfriend there. The Baltimore police sent the police in Brooklyn a warning that this mentally ill man was heading in there direction. The police in New York did not take heed and we have two police officers dead. New York gun laws did not prevent anything as he came from Maryland where the gun laws are not so strict.

  54. Jenny 2014.12.23

    OMG, I'm so sorry, Kurtz. I didn't realize you were a recovering Catholic also.

  55. JeniW 2014.12.23

    Steve S., would you provide proof of anyone who is a liberal on this venue who has "come unglued if it is pointed out that Obama's mom is white?"

    Most people do not care that Obama is bi-racial. He is just like all the presidents before him, and all the presidents whom will follow, in that no matter what they do or does not do, say or does not say, there will always be people who will not like them. That even applies to everyone of us.

  56. larry kurtz 2014.12.23

    LOL, Jenny: my recovery happened about six wives ago.

  57. leslie 2014.12.25

    grudz-DROP THE cocked/loaded/grunched SLIME GUN-NOW. bums CHOSE to be?? vets chose to be homeless, suicidal ect. please substitute any other class of destitute person for bums, vets you and your party look down on, refuse to provide for, and generally spit between your grinch teeth at in disgust while trying to make it sound cute.

    merry baby jesus' birthday

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