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Trump Encourages Far-Right Protests After Watching Them On Fox News

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

President Donald Trump endorsed conservative protests against social distancing measures in three states immediately after Fox News aired a segment on the efforts, dumping gasoline on a movement that threatens the fragile consensus on steps public health experts say are preventing nightmarish death figures from the novel coronavirus.

Beginning at 11:19 a.m. ET, Fox's America's Newsroom ran a segment detailing a wave of protests against stay-at-home orders from governors of Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia. Fox aired a package featuring footage from a protest in Virginia and another in Minnesota, with Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin quoting the group "Liberate Minnesota" calling the stay-at-home order "an overreaction." Co-anchor Ed Henry then interviewed a Michigan sheriff who is defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order in that state.

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Black Lives Matter Protest Ends Quickly At Mall Of America

By David Bailey

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (Reuters) – A demonstration at the Mall of America on Wednesday by Black Lives Matter protesters angered by the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last month was swiftly broken up on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

After police and mall security dispersed the gathering, the protesters took a light rail train to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where they briefly shut down roadways to both terminals, an airport spokesman said.

Inside Terminal 2, security checkpoints were briefly shut down to prevent protesters from moving into secure areas of the airport, the second busiest in the Midwest after Chicago’s O’Hare.

Earlier, about 100 people had started to gather at the mall, one of the largest in North America, despite a judge’s warning that the property’s owners could legally block the protest.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators camped outside a Minneapolis police station for nearly three weeks after a police officer shot Jamar Clark, 24, on Nov. 15.

The death of Clark, who was unarmed, has added fuel to an already heated debate over race and justice in the United States following several such killings across the nation in the past year.

“It’s been sleepless nights,” Jamar’s cousin, Alexander Clark, told Reuters at the mall demonstration just before police took him into custody, adding: “We are here for justice for my cousin.” It was not immediately clear whether Clark had been formally arrested.

Police and mall security quickly moved in, warning any who did not leave would be arrested for violating mall policy against demonstrations and alerting shoppers that that area of the mall was on lockdown. Police forced people in the protest area outside into a light snow.

People also lined the tiers on the three floors above the protest, although it was not clear whether they were involved. Some stores locked their doors ahead of the demonstration.

Wednesday’s short protest marked the second consecutive year that the loosely organized movement, which grew out of protests over police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and other cities, had demonstrated near the peak of the holiday season.

Black Lives Matter officials had promised to assemble at the mall “restraining order or not” and said in a Facebook post late Tuesday, “What happens next will tell us volumes about who we are as a society.”

Just before last Christmas, more than 1,500 Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating against grand jury decisions not to charge police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York shut down part of the same mall.

The protest, days after rioting and arson in Ferguson, resulted in the arrests of about two dozen people, mostly for trespassing and failure to disperse.

The night before this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, members of the group marched through Macy’s Herald Square flagship store to show solidarity with the Minneapolis chapter.

Officials with the Mall of America, located in a suburb of Minneapolis, had said they could ban demonstrations on private property as allowed under the law. This week they asked a judge to bar the group, its leaders and others from protesting and require it to delete social media posts advertising the demonstration.

However, Hennepin County Judge Karen Janisch denied a broad temporary restraining order, only barring three leaders of the group from the protest. She warned that the order, which did not extend to the group itself or unnamed people, should not be seen as authorization to protest without the mall’s permission.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

Photo: Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Craig Lassig

Black Lives Matter To Protest At Mall Of America Again Despite Warning

By David Bailey

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Protesters angered by the police killing of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis last month plan to demonstrate at the Mall of America on Wednesday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, despite a judge’s warning that the property’s owners could legally block the action.

This marks the second consecutive year that the loosely organized Black Lives Matter movement, which grew out of protests over police killings in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and other cities, has planned a protest at one of the largest shopping malls in North America near the peak of the holiday season.

“Restraining order or not, on the day before Christmas Eve, protesters will assemble at the Mall of America; there will be cameras; and millions will be watching,” the group said in a Facebook post late Tuesday. “What happens next will tell us volumes about who we are as a society.”

Black Lives Matter demonstrators camped outside a Minneapolis police station for nearly three weeks after a police officer shot Jamar Clark, 24, on Nov. 15. The death of Clark, who was unarmed, added fuel to a heated debate over race and justice in the United States.

Last year just before Christmas, more than 1,500 Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrating against grand jury decisions not to charge police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York shut down part of the Mall of America.

The protests, days after rioting and arson in Ferguson, resulted in the arrests of about two dozen people, mostly for trespassing and failure to disperse.

The night before this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, members of the group marched through Macy’s Herald Square flagship store to show solidarity with the Minneapolis chapter.

Officials with the Mall of America, located in a suburb of Minneapolis, have said they can ban demonstrations on private property as allowed under the law. This week they asked a judge to bar the group, its leaders and others from protesting and require it to delete social media posts advertising the demonstration.

However, Hennepin County Judge Karen Janisch denied a broad temporary restraining order, only barring three leaders of the group from the protest. She warned that the order, which did not extend to the group itself or unnamed people, “should not be interpreted as authorizing or permitting others to engage in political demonstration at the Mall of America without the express permission of the Mall of America.”

Bloomington police and mall officials declined to comment on Wednesday. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said on Wednesday that 30 state patrol officers would be present in uniform as a backup reserve at the request of Bloomington police.

In Monday’s hearing, mall attorney Susan Gaertner said she sought the court order because of the group’s choice of forum, not the content of its message.

Attorney Jordan Kushner, who represented the group’s leaders Miski Noor, Kandace Montgomery and Michael McDowell, said the mall could remove demonstrators but could not tell them what they may say.

Ahead of the protest, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis on Twitter asked supporters to donate for bail, citing the mall’s “history of overreaction to peaceful events.”

(Reporting by David Bailey; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by Scott Malone and James Dalgleish)

Photo: Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Craig Lassig

Three Men Held In Connection With Shooting Of Minnesota Demonstrators

By Todd Melby and David Bailey

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) — Three white men were being held on Wednesday by Minneapolis police and prosecutors were weighing charges against them in connection with the shooting of five people protesting the shooting of an unarmed black man.

While police have said they will not identify the men until they are charged, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing sources, reported that Allen Lawrence “Lance” Scarsella III, 23, was arrested in Bloomington, while Nathan Gustavsson, 21, of Hermantown, and Daniel Macey, 26, of Pine City, were taken into custody after they turned themselves in.

All three men are being held by police without bail on suspicion of assault, according to online jail records.

Attempts by Reuters to reach family members of the men were not successful.

A spokesman for the Hennepin County Attorney said that office has until 4 p.m. local time to make a decision on filing charges and it expected to make an announcement at that time.

None of the five demonstrators wounded in Monday’s shooting received life-threatening injuries, police said.

Meanwhile, dozens of people entered a north Minneapolis church on Wednesday in small groups or singly for the funeral of Jamar Clark, 24, the unarmed black man shot by police on Nov. 15.

The Shiloh Temple International Ministries church is about a mile from the police station where protesters have gathered since Clark’s shooting.

Some people entering the church wore white T-shirts with “I matter” on the front or T-shirts with Clark’s photo on them, while others were dressed formally. Most bowed their heads as they walked through the glass doors.

Clark was shot at a time of heightened debate in the United States over police use of lethal force, especially against black people. Over the past year, protests against killings of unarmed black men and women – some videotaped with phones or police cameras – have rocked a number of U.S. cities.

A Black Lives Matter Minneapolis official said several men wearing masks approached the site where demonstrators have been encamped protesting Clark’s killing. When the masked men would not identify themselves, Black Lives Matter protesters escorted them away, but about a half a block from there, they opened fire on the demonstrators.

Law enforcement officials have not said whether they are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime, but activists on Tuesday said the protests would continue and called again for the release of video related to Clark’s shooting.

Questions have been raised whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have denied. Clark died the next day from a gunshot wound to the head. The officers involved are on leave.

Authorities have said there was no video of the shooting from police dashboard or body cameras, but investigators are reviewing video from business and security cameras in the area, as well as witnesses’ cellphones. One video from the back of an ambulance at the scene was inconclusive, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said on Monday.

A police union representative has said Clark grabbed one officer’s gun, although the weapon remained in its holster.

According to authorities, the police officers had responded to a request for assistance from paramedics who reported that someone was interfering as they tried to help an assault victim. They said Clark was a suspect in the assault and had an altercation with the officers before one of them shot him.

(Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay)

Photo: Members of the group Black Lives Matter march to city hall during a protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Craig Lassig