Fact or fiction:Man arrested for 'peace' T-shirt (fwd)

Tom tomwhore@slack.net
Wed, 5 Mar 2003 18:47:23 -0500 (EST)


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 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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