- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) - A social media campaign from the Mall of America asking patrons to share their experiences has drawn criticism from demonstrators who were at a December mall protest.

The campaign, dubbed “#ItsMyMall,” was announced in a message sent Monday from a Twitter account listed as belonging to Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of development and marketing. The tweet said users could share stories about the mall and be eligible for a $500 weekly prize.

Protesters who were at the “Black Lives Matter” demonstration Dec. 20 took over the campaign, tweeting about their experiences with police at the mall during the protest. Tweets using the mall’s hashtag included photos of police clad in riot gear at the demonstration, which was one of many around the country in light of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement.

The protest of at least 1,500 people was largely peaceful and no damage was reported, according to Minnesota Public Radio News. But authorities filed trespassing and other charges against some protesters. Eleven people pleaded not guilty to charges tied to the protest earlier this month.

In a statement, mall officials said the goal of the campaign was to give fans a voice.

“We recognize that some individuals are trying to redirect this campaign for their own purposes,” the mall’s statement said. “That’s unfortunate, but it will not impact our efforts.”

Black Lives Matter supporters have called for a boycott of the mall. Some Twitter users criticized the mall for what they said was a limit on free speech and a right to assemble.

Officials from the mall and the city of Bloomington had offered protesters an outdoor space near the mall, warning that an indoor protest would not be approved. A 1999 state Supreme Court decision ruled the mall is private property, and that free speech protections aren’t applicable.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide