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Charges Dropped Against 12 MOA Black Lives Matter Protesters; 17 Still Face Charges

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- All criminal charges were dropped Tuesday against the leaders of the Black Lives Matter protest at the Mall of America last December -- but many are still not off the hook.

Thousands of people filled the rotunda just before Christmas last year to protest the killings of black men at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

The protesters shut down parts of the mall for about two hours. Twenty-five people were arrested that day.

Trespassing charges were dropped against 12 protesters:

  • Nekima Levy-Pounds
  • Kandace Montgomery
  • Michael McDowell
  • Catherine Salonek
  • Todd Dahlstrom
  • Adja Gildersleve
  • Amity Foster
  • Jie Wronski-Riley
  • Shannon Bade
  • Mica Grimm
  • Pamela Twiss
  • Imani Christian McCray

Seventeen protesters will still face charges:

  • Dakota Ryan Machigan
  • Nakami Faridah Tongrit-Green
  • Mautaui Kakemwa Alima Tongrit-Green
  • Rahsaan Hansraj Mahadeo
  • Tamera Janae Larkins
  • Andrew Jared Edwards
  • Christopher Mark Juhn
  • Aaron Lamar Abram
  • Tadele Kelemewark Gebremedin
  • Dua Safaldien Saleh
  • Emmett James Doyle
  • Madeline Cady Jacobs
  • Kimberly Ann Socha
  • Benjamin Michael Painter
  • Roxxanne Leigh Rittenhouse
  • Rose Marie Meyer
  • Sara Jean Gieseke


Gieseke and Rittenhouse both filed motions to dismiss their misdemeanor obstruction of the legal process via interference with a police officer, and both were denied.

Rittenhouse was also denied a dismissal of a gross misdemeanor charge of obstruction of the legal process via interference with a police officer accompanied by force, violence or threat.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill wrote in his decision that protesters kept the peace during the event.

"The BLM demonstration, while large and at times very loud, was peaceful; there were no reports by MOA management, MOA security, or the Bloomington Police Department of any rioting, fighting, looting, property damage, or physical injury suffered by any members of the public, demonstrators, law enforcement, or private security officers," Cahill said.

Meyer and Painter were the only two protesters who did not file motions seeking dismissal.


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