A letter signed by more than 100 faith leaders asks Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson to have a community-wide dialog about race instead of prosecuting people.
University professors and researchers are joining the call for City of Bloomington prosecutor Sandra Johnson to drop charges against organizers of a “black lives matter” protest at the Mall of America in December. The protest was in response to highly publicized police violence against blacks in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City as well as some cases in Minnesota.
117 university professors and researchers based mostly in the Twin Cities metro, but some from greater Minnesota signed an open letter calling the plan to charge the organizers “political persecution.”
“We are deeply disappointed in the City of Bloomington’s decision to use its considerable power to actually add to the obstacles that are blocking the movement toward a better, more peaceful, and more just society. We urge the City of Bloomington to drop all charges against those who participated in the recent peaceful protest at the Mall of America.” (Full text of the letter is below)
The letter comes a day after more than 100 faith leaders signed a similar open letter.
Eleven people will appear in court on March 10th for their arraignment on charges ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct for their attendance at the peaceful demonstration which included nearly 3,000 individuals on December 20, 2014 at the Mall of America.
Bloomington City Attorney Johnson issued her own open letter on Tuesday responding to the faith leaders. In it she said “the criminal justice system must look at the conduct not the content of the messages behind the illegal conduct. To approach protest or demonstration cases any other way would result in viewpoint discrimination based upon the popularity of the message with the prosecutor and with the community. Think about the context of the 1960s in the deep south of this country. If the standard was that- when the content of the message was socially popular the otherwise applicable laws did not apply – many social injustice would have been perpetuated. Justice must focus on the law- as it is written;and the conduct- as it can be proven.”
Full text of Bloomington City Attorney’s Letter & Open Letter From University Professors And Researchers
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