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Old 03-05-2003, 07:46 PM   #1
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Man Arrested At Mall For Wearing A "Peace" T-Shirt

Lawyer Arrested for Wearing a 'Peace' T-Shirt
Tue Mar 4, 7:55 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer was arrested late Monday and charged with trespassing at a public mall in the state of New York after refusing to take off a T-shirt advocating peace that he had just purchased at the mall.

According to the criminal complaint filed on Monday, Stephen Downs was wearing a T-shirt bearing the words "Give Peace A Chance" that he had just purchased from a vendor inside the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, New York, near Albany.

"I was in the food court with my son when I was confronted by two security guards and ordered to either take off the T-shirt or leave the mall," said Downs.

When Downs refused the security officers' orders, police from the town of Guilderland were called and he was arrested and taken away in handcuffs, charged with trespassing "in that he knowingly enter(ed) or remain(ed) unlawfully upon premises," the complaint read.

Downs said police tried to convince him he was wrong in his actions by refusing to remove the T-shirt because the mall "was like a private house and that I was acting poorly.

"I told them the analogy was not good and I was then hauled off to night court where I was arraigned after pleading not guilty and released on my own recognizance," Downs told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Downs is the director of the Albany Office of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates complaints of misconduct against judges and can admonish, censure or remove judges found to have engaged in misconduct.

Calls to the Guilderland police and district attorney, Anthony Cardona and to officials at the mall were not returned for comment.

Downs is due back in court for a hearing on March 17.

He could face up to a year in prison if convicted.
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Old 03-05-2003, 07:48 PM   #2
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Group Protests N.Y. Peace T-Shirt Arrest

By DAMITA CHAMBERS, Associated Press Writer

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. - About 100 anti-war demonstrators marched through a mall Wednesday to protest the arrest of a shopper who wore a T-shirt that read "Peace on Earth" and "Give Peace a Chance."

"We just want to know what the policy is and why it's being randomly enforced," said Erin O'Brien, an organizer of the noontime rally at the Crossgates Mall in suburban Albany. "It's only the people in the recent months who have anti-war or peace T-shirts that are being asked to leave the mall."

Protesters met with a mall manager and said they would stop protesting when charges against the shopper were dropped and when the mall outlined its policy. A mall spokeswoman did not immediately return calls for comment.

On Monday, Stephen Downs, 61, and his son were asked by mall security guards to remove their peace-slogan shirts or leave. Downs' 31-year-old son, Roger, took off his shirt. But Downs, a lawyer with the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and a former Peace Corps volunteer, refused.

The guards called police, and he was charged with trespassing and pleaded innocent.

Police Chief James Murley said: "We don't care what they have on their shirts, but they were asked to leave the property, and it's private property."

The men had had the T-shirts made at a mall store and wore them while they shopped.
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Old 03-05-2003, 07:51 PM   #3
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I read that last night. I REALLY hope there's more to this story.
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:05 PM   #4
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There's more info on the Smoking Gun web site. Apparently these guys were in some sort of "verbal confrontation" w/ other people in the mall because of the shirts, and someone got nervous about what might happen and reported it to mall security..



This says they were "stopping other shoppers"



I saw a teenager harass a handicapped woman at the mall last weekend That was a lot more worrisome/bothersome to me than this would have been
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Old 03-05-2003, 09:26 PM   #5
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if these two were there provoking some sort of potential reaction from others then the easiest solution for the mall security guard is to remove the two of them.

only those involved really know if that is what was happening.
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Old 03-06-2003, 11:16 AM   #6
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I doubt very much that they were doing anything wrong at all. I certainly don't think they were approaching people in the mall. Much more likely, someone came up to them and started berating them for their message "Give Peace A Chance", just like people who are for peace get berated on this and other forums.

I say everyone that believes in peace should wear "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE" tshirts to their local mall on Saturday.

Yay democracy!
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Old 03-06-2003, 11:32 AM   #7
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I agree with gabrielvox. It was most likely the war-hawks who egged them into a conversation. It appears to be another case of the majority slamming the minority and then blaming the minority for causing an "incident".

This is outlandish and should scare everyone into dissenting. That's right!! If this doesn't prove that the federal government, local police, and even MALL SECURITY have an agenda against the peace movement, I don't know what it means.

Making these men remove their shirts doesn't alleviate the problem. It postpones the problem. It's not solving anything!

Urrgh
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Old 03-06-2003, 12:17 PM   #8
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Making these men remove their shirts doesn't alleviate the problem. It postpones the problem. It's not solving anything!

Urrgh
i agree it is troubling. i think both you and gabriel are jumping the gun by, from what i can tell, assuming that there was no provocation on the part of the men wearing the shirt.

regardless you have to look at the incident. any security guard is simply going to try and neutralize the problem-that is their job. i dont think this is evidence of a mall security agenda against the peace movement, as you suggested, so much as it is a security guard neutralizing a problem. maybe they removed the innocent, maybe they removed the guilty. by and large, i doubt they really care-they restored a shopping environment with a safe and friendly environment...which is their job.
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Old 03-06-2003, 12:31 PM   #9
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Im not jumping the gun, Im allowing my personal experience with mall security shitheads to enter into my opinion.

In my experience, security guards are wannabe robocops who either are studying to be cops or who tried to be and failed the grade. Either way they love to power trip and rarely get the story right.

Just look at the difference in the two reports, in particular what the t-shirts said.
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Old 03-06-2003, 02:51 PM   #10
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An About-Face in Peace T-Shirt Case
From Associated Press

March 6, 2003

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- Officials at a mall where a man was arrested for refusing to remove an antiwar T-shirt asked Wednesday that trespassing charges against him be dropped.

Police said managers from Crossgates Mall called and asked that the complaint against Stephen Downs be withdrawn.

Earlier Wednesday, about 100 antiwar demonstrators marched through the mall to protest the arrest.

They told a mall manager they would stop only when charges against the shopper were dropped and when the mall outlined its policy.

"We just want to know what the policy is and why it's being randomly enforced," said Erin O'Brien, an organizer of the noontime rally. "It's only the people in the recent months who have antiwar or peace T-shirts that are being asked to leave the mall."

A mall spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Downs, 61, and his son were stopped Monday by mall security guards and asked to remove their shirts that read "Peace on Earth" and "Give Peace a Chance," or leave. Roger Downs, 31, took off his shirt. But his father refused and was arrested and charged with trespassing.
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Old 03-06-2003, 03:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Danospano
I agree with gabrielvox. It was most likely the war-hawks who egged them into a conversation. It appears to be another case of the majority slamming the minority and then blaming the minority for causing an "incident".
i agree too that this is probably what happened.

it too has been my experience that mall security officers are merely power tripping rent-a-cops. this one yelled at me to put back on my platforms as i was leaving the mall. i was limping along. it kinda fucking hurts to walk around in 6" heels for four hours, and since i was almost on my way out, i didn't see the harm.

ever since then i have been ticked off at security guards, because they pick on the little guys just minding their own business while a big group of morons who are being disruptive (often times at my mall there's a huge group of people literally blocking an entire side of the mall, they're just standing there doing nothing aside from running around) get to run around like monkeys on acid.
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:07 PM   #12
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this is rediculous. an old lady saw a group arguing and reported it to security. maybe the argument was started by "warhawks," whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. the lady reported this argument, and the only outstanding feature on any of these people involved were that two of them were wearing "give peace a chance" t-shirts or whatever. it didn't matter what was on the t-shirts. it could have been two guys with Bush Rules! written on their t-shirts, or two guys with U2 t-shirts. if they weren't wearing t-shirts that were easily spotted in a crowded mall, they probably wouldn't have been found by the security guards. the security guards found the people involved in an alleged argument based on a description from an old lady on what they were wearing, and they kicked them out. End of story. What... was the old lady who reported the incident a "warhawk" too? Come on...
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:36 PM   #13
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headache -
If that were the case, why were they asked to remove their t-shirts or leave? Why weren't they simply asked to leave?
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:43 PM   #14
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If that were the case, why were they asked to remove their t-shirts or leave? Why weren't they simply asked to leave?
This is the part of the story I have problems with. It's obvious that it was the shirts that were the issue.
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:53 PM   #15
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the only person who said that they were "asked to take off the t-shirts" were the people who were tossed out of the mall and arrested. the security guards deny it, and there haven't been any other witnesses who've steped up to back up their claims. come on now people... you really believe this? if the shirts said something like "fuck bush" or something, then i'd believe the "take the shirts off" story. but i really find it hard to believe that the security guards picked them out just because they had a shirt that said "give peace a chance" on. Besides the shirt wearing people and the security guards, there has been only one witness in this case... the old lady... who said that these two were involved in a very heated argument. maybe they were provoked by pro-war people, and maybe it should have been the other people who got tossed... but the report given to the security guards wasn't that two guys in give peace a chance shirts were being picked on by pro-war advocates... they got a report that said a bunch of people were involved in a heated argument, and that two of them had shirts that were easily spotted in a crowd. please let's not spin this out of control people.
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