NAACP wants apology for teenager restrained by security at the Mall of America

Isabella Brown, 14
Isabella Brown, 14, at a news conference in Minneapolis City Hall on December 31, 2015.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

The Minneapolis NAACP wants the Mall of America to apologize for an incident Saturday where security officers restrained a 14-year-old African-American girl.

Marea Perry, a Twin Cities pastor and the girl's mother, said her daughter, Isabella Brown, went shoe shopping the day after Christmas and was asked to leave the mall because she was under 16 and without an adult escort.

Perry said her daughter was complying with the request from security and was at the mall's public transit station trying to get change for a $20 bill so she could take the bus home when three security guards pinned her to the ground. "She was targeted because she was black. She was treated without dignity, respect, or kindness."

Cell phone video posted on Facebook shows the girl on the ground with officers attempting to handcuff her from behind.

Marea Perry, mother of Isabella Brown
Marea Perry, the mother of 14-year-old Isabella Brown. Perry is co-pastor of Above Every Name Ministries. She stands with Pastor Danny Givens Jr.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Perry said her daughter is still traumatized.

"I don't want any other parent to have to experience what my 14-year-old daughter experienced that evening. No child by any means necessary should ever have to go through that."

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Actions by the officers were unnecessary, said Minneapolis NAACP President Nekima Levy-Pounds.

"This incident at the Mall of America could have easily become a deadly situation," she told reporters Thursday after the NAACP posted a link to the incident video. "To have adult men on top of a 14-year-old African-American girl is completely unacceptable."

The civil rights organization is calling on the Mall of America to fire the three security officers involved, and is also asking management to implement racial sensitivity training.

The mall wouldn't comment on the incident but said that on Saturday the mall's "parental escort policy" was in effect, meaning that children younger than 16 years old were not allowed in the mall without an adult escort. "More than 2,700 youth were denied entry that day because they were under age or did not have valid I.D." the mall said in a statement.

Those who refuse to leave after "multiple opportunities to comply" are subject to arrest, the mall added.

It wasn't clear, however, if the teen was arrested. Bloomington police, which typically handle arrests at the mall, said they were not involved.