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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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
"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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
"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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
Calls to the Guilderland police and district attorney, Anthony Cardona and to officials at the mall were not returned for comment.<br><br><br><br>
Downs is due back in court for a hearing on March 17.<br><br><br><br>
He could face up to a year in prison if convicted.
 

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Monday's arrest came less than three months after about 20 peace activists wearing similar T-shirts were told to leave by mall security and police. There were no arrests.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-mall-activists0305mar05,0,5805283.story?coll=sns-ap-nation-headlines" target="_blank">http://www.newsday.com/news/nationwo...tion-headlines</a><br><br><br><br>
and more in protest of his arrest:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.msnbc.com/local/WNYT/M276307.asp?0cv=NB10&cp1=1" target="_blank">http://www.msnbc.com/local/WNYT/M276...0cv=NB10&cp1=1</a><br><br><br><br>
Boy, think of all the free publicity this lawyers getting.....<br><br><br><br>
He knew that less than 3 months prior a group wearing the same shirt were asked to leave the mall. Just what did he expect would happen??
 

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Sounds like the mall isn't too concerned about all the bad press it will get. What cracks me up, though, is that the shirt he wore is one he actually bought at the mall.<br><br><br><br>
ETA- the mall says it has a policy against attire that is likely to cause a disturbance. While I don't have a problem with the mall not allowing protests in their mall, a) the disturbance involving the man arrested was instigated by security, and b) the worst disturbance during one of the protests was due to the actions of an anti-protestor.<br><br>
"As protesters in the food court began chanting, "What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now," a bearded man wearing a black jacket with "POW-MIA" in white letters and holding a cardboard sign that read "9-11" charged a peace activist, slamming him against a wall. "<br><br><a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ny--mallactivists0305mar05,0,7316106.story?coll=ny-ap-regional-wire" target="_blank">http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wi...-regional-wire</a><br><br><br><br>
Maybe they should escort to the exit anyone wearing "POW MIA" in the future.
 

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Comedy Central's "Daily Show" is "reporting" this story... He was allegedly arrested by the fashion police and will be tried in the food court. Ha.
 
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