Thousands of #BlackLivesMatter protesters swarm Mall of America

On one of the busiest shopping days of the year, thousands of #BlackLivesMatter protesters packed the Mall of America outside Minneapolis on Saturday to call for police reform in the wake of the officer-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.


"I'm getting my feelings out and I'm letting the world know that we're not going to take this anymore," Emma Eubanks, a 18-year-old protester  told Fusion just before the event began.

Upon hearing the news that two police officers had been killed in New York by a fugitive gunman, Eubanks (who is the subject of the video above), said she "didn't condone violence" and that her heart was with the families of the slain officers. She worried that the killings could "provoke a wave of anger and hate" against black activists and those pushing for police reforms.


The mall had sent a letter to organizers warning that  anyone protesting in in the mall could be "removed, arrested and banned." As demonstrators gathered near the rotunda, an electronic billboard flanked by large Christmas trees switched from holiday shopping themed messages to an ominous warning, written in all-caps.

Protesters ignored the sign, and chants of "hands up, don't shoot" drowned out police calls to disperse.

They held "die-ins," laying down in front of stores when police approached.


Later, the protests broke up into smaller groups and marched through the mall.


Police blocked off certain areas, but avoided mass arrests.


Michael McDowell, a 20-year-old protester from Minneapolis told Fusion the protesters selected the Mall of America because "if we're spending our dollar…they should step up."

He and other organizers want said they were pushing for more direct community control over police departments.


"We want to make sure that there's some solid policy around community control over police," he said, "so community deciding what cops get hired in their communities and essentially making sure that the cops that get hired are from the community."

Organizers said 20 people were arrested and cited with trespassing. Fusion saw what appeared to be a couple of handcuffed protesters being walked out the  building by police.


Minnesotans weren't the only ones to stage protests on Saturday. Protesters staged a die-in in Park City, Utah, and Baltimore, as well.


Emily DeRuy and Abby Rogers contributed to this report.

Video credits:

Shot and edited by D.A. Bullock

Produced by Jared Goyette

@JaredGoyette is a digital news editor at Fusion.

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