Man at mall arrested for wearing "Peace on Earth" T-shirt

I couldn’t believe this thread wasn’t open already, so here you go:

Legal? Maybe. (Privately owned or not, a mall walks a pretty thin line between private and public space.) Cowardly? Absolutely.

I hope, in addition to the protests from the doves, we hear some outrage from the Christian Right that wearing a shirt bearing the words of the herald angels of Jesus’ birth is an act worthy of arrest.

I note the mall management is staying quiet about their motives behind the banning. What a bunch of weasels.

Locally, this thing is getting them a lot of bad press. A local DJ is supposedly getting a bunch of people with peace t-shirts to go down there together in protest.

I think Crossgates Mall is already regretting the incident. It’s made Yahoo news, I’ll bet it makes more national news soon.

That is wrong in so many ways I can’t bear it.

LoL, since when did the angels herald “Let inspections work”?

I read it on a foxnews article. It didn’t go into depth about what the police tried to do and what happened in December. Not bad IMO mind you, but may have set a precident and new policy at the mall.

So I was a bit more “outraged” at, what appeared to be from the fox article, ambiguous censoring that looked to be based upon the security guards political views. Now that I have read your cite I get a better picture.

Steve and Roger Downs

They put on the shirts while still in the mall.

The security told them to take them off, leave, or be arrested.

While Steve, “who insisted he wasn’t protesting or demonstrating by wearing the shirt”, said “I don’t think we have to take off the T-shirts,” then said “‘OK, arrest me.’”

So he says he wasn’t protesting. Not exercising his free speech rights. Just wearing a shirt. So why didn’t he take it off. He surely had another one under it or with him. He was apparently explained in detail what he was doing ‘wrong’, and the only recourse the cops had if he did not obey the officials of the mall. He chose to go to jail in that light. He had three options, take it off, leave, or be arrested.

Now don’t get me wrong. To me, it is bad for business for a service oriented business to ostracize their customers that way. But they had the right. Especially given the circumstances. i do not, personally, support their lack of tolerance on such a small issue. But I am not outraged given the circumstanes.

And already the protests begin:

Right, wrong, or indifferent, it was just stupid. The national news pile-on is probably just starting.

If I was a storeowner at Crossgates, I’d be screaming my head off at the mall management right about now.

I think the angels were probably patently opposed to King Herod’s inspections… :wink:

from that MSNBC piece:

I bet his/her cow-orkers LOVE that employee…

Back up a second here… they do?

Does the mall have an established dress code? Are there rules posted, saying that nobody can shop in that mall with a pro-Peace t-shirt on?

Further, he was able to purchase the shirt in the mall. From the article cited in the OP (emphasis mine):

It’s quite unreasonable, to my way of thinking, for the mall to allow its shops to sell these items if customers cannot wear them in the same mall. They are not obscene or offensive. There’s no good reason to restrict the wearing of these shirts, especially if they can be purchased in the same mall.

In the absence of established, posted rules for the mall in question restricting certain types of nonoffensive clothing, this reaction by mall officials seems more like unreasonable paranoia. I do not agree that they had the right to order Steve and Roger Downs to change clothes at their whim.

It was pretty stupid of the mall officials to enforce this rule to this level.

Stupid? Absolutely.

But on what basis do you conclude that they don’t have the right? It’s their property. They can invite, or uninvite, whoever they please, subject only to laws that restrict that right. The law forbids them from inviting only a particular race. The law, or may not, protect people of a given sexual preference from being singled out.

The law does not protect the wearers of particular shirts. So on what basis do you say, “They don’t have the right?”

  • Rick

On what basis do you say that they do? Ever hear of freedom of expression? Imagine how you might feel about mall officials demanding that you change your shirt or leave… would you feel they had the right to do that to you?

Av - the news reports said the mall doors were posted that attire “likely to cause disturbances” (or somesuch phrasing) was prohibited.

Or, for that matter, asking Sikhs to remove their turbans and Muslim women their coverings–or leave–because it makes other mall patrons feel uncomfortable?

A mall is not a private country club. A mall is not even a fine restaurant with a dress code. A mall is a semi-public space.

Instead of “no shirt, no shoes, no service” they can post " shirt, no service".

The Smoking Gun has the police report which states the two were harassing other shoppers. They were supposedly involved in a “verbal dispute” with another group of shoppers and also were “stopping customers to express why they were wearing the shirts”. Seems as if they were asked to stop using their mall bought shirts as an excuse to harass other people. They were given the option to keep shopping if they stopped bothering people and asked to take off their shirts to ensure such. They argued about if for quite a bit. One of them still refused and after being warned a number of times, was arrested.

An obnoxious peace protestor? There is a rarity! :rolleyes:

I have a few questions that don’t seem to be answered in the article.

  1. Were the men afforded privacy when they removed their shirts?

  2. Did the security staff who demanded they remove their shirts make sure they had another shirt to put on?

  3. What if it had been a female? Would she have been made to remove her shirt in front of the security staff?

  4. Was the mall built entirely from private funding or was public funding used?

My idea of protest would be to have a group of individuals walk into the mall wearing these “offensive” shirts and then take them off. They could then walk around, have a sit in.

And that includes a “Peace on Earth” shirt? Is this backwards day or something, when a shirt promoting peace is “like to cause disturbances”? Sheesh.

As has been noted, the mall is not a private space in the same way your living room is. I have no idea what the relevant precedents are, but unlike people in your living room, mall patrons cannot be shown to the door for just any reason. If the grounds here were religion, race, etc, there would be absolutely no question. Since it’s “only” political expression, I don’t know how the legalities actually play out, but it’s very misleading to say this is simply a case of the rights of the property owner to invite and uninvite, and the fact that the shirt was bought in the mall makes it that much more ridiculous. If the shirt wasn’t “causing a disturbance” on the rack in the store, why would it cause one on the back of the shopper?

Anyways, the mall’s music store should be protesting the action - the guy was advertising for the Beatles. :smiley:

On preview I see a link to the police report referencing stopping shoppers - if this is true, why was he given a choice between removing the shirt and leaving, instead of between leaving shoppers alone and leaving? Something stinks here, and I’m thinking there are facts not in evidence. That, or you guys need to change the second last line in your anthem.

My basis is the right of a private property owner to exclude any person from their property, subject only to those restrictions the law imposes.

Freedom of expression is a constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment, of course. I have heard of it. But it applies to the government, not to private citizens. Do you have some belief that you are bound by the Constitution to eschew unreasonable searches and seizures, Avalonian? Hint: you’re not. Nor is a mall owner required to support someone else’s “freedom of expression”.

So, that’s my answer - the basis of right they have is the right of a private property owner to exclude anyone he wishes. I ask you again, Avalonian - what’s your basis for saying they had no right?

  • Rick

This whole “peace police” thing and “anti-war is anti-American” attitude is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are in for som serious shit.

There are multiple issues here but I think in the end the mall management is going to get hammered hard and probably face a nasty civil suit. The tresspassing issue is a bit more gray as he did refuse to leave when asked but the reason, his attire “likely to cause a disturbance,” is hopelessly vague and the fact he bought the shirt in the mall doesn’t help their case. It would be like a store that explicitly sold gang colors having a sign at the door reading “no gang colors.”