Videos: First Nations calls FlatIron Crossing protest a flash mob, cops disagree
We sent Kempsell the flash mob video above and three others, on view below, from the last two years, all sent our way by Morris. Kempsell says it's clear the nature of the event is quite different.
"I would make the distinction between what I see as a flash mob...and a protest," he says. The spontaneous dancing in the videos is "fun and entertaining and then it was over.... [It's a] form of entertainment, versus a protest."
Courtesy of Elizabeth Redwing Sheely A photo of the protesters arrested last week.
He says people do have a right to protest in the space, which is open to the public, but if storeowners and mall management on the private property ask protesters to stop, they must comply.
"We don't want to limit one's freedom of speech," Kempsell says. "What we are responding to is the criminal element."
He notes that in those past flash mobs, police were never called onto the scene.
But Tessa McLean, one of the protesters on site, tells us that the police were at the mall demanding they stop almost as soon as the protest began, noting that they didn't even make it through one song.
"I really don't feel like it was a protest, what we did at the mall," she says. "We had the intention of dispersing after we got in maybe two songs.... We weren't there to block anyone's way from the stores."
She says those who were arrested plan to bring up these past flash mobs in court.
McLean adds, "I know as a group, we felt singled out, because we are people of color."
Kempsell says, "There was absolutely no...racial concern.... It was their actions that amounted to criminal conduct."
Continue for videos of past flash mobs at that mall.