The editor of the Tribune Press Reporter and his wife got caught up in the protest at the Mall of America Saturday afternoon.
Paula and Carlton DeWitt had visited the Mall early Saturday morning and were returning to the car, which was parked in the East Parking ramp. As they approached the east exit their path was blocked with protesters and police officers.
A group called “Black Lives Matter” organized the demonstration to protest what they believe is police brutality toward blacks. According to news reports, police arrested 25 people during the event. They chanted “hands raised, don’t shoot” and other slurs against police officers. The protesters were not violent, but shop owners did close their doors to protect their business.
Carlton asked an officer how they were to get to their car, they were told that the only exit for them would be on the west side and they would have to exit there and walk around the building to the east side, or they could wait until the protest was over and then the exit would be reopened.
After a two-hour wait, the protest seemed to be finished and the protesters had left the area where the DeWitts were sitting, the police moved their barricades into the area where they were sitting and officers ordered them to move out of that area, pushing them toward the west side of the mall.
With help from mall employees they were able to find an exit through the L. L. Bean’s store out of the mall with only a short walk to the east-parking ramp. Taking the elevator at the ramp from the ground floor up to the third level, the elevator malfunctioned and did not stop until it reached the seventh level. Fearing the elevator would not let them off at the third level, they walked down four flights of stairs to reach their car. This made for an interesting shopping trip.