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Man Sues California Mall After Guard Arrests Him for Having Conversation About God

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posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 02:43 PM

Man Sues California Mall After Guard Arrests Him for Having Conversation About God

That’s what happened to California resident Matthew Snatchko in 2006 when the youth pastor initiated a conversation about God with three shoppers at the Roseville Galleria mall.

The women gave Snatchko permission to broach the subject, but a nearby store employee said they "looked nervous," so he ordered the evangelist to leave. After Snatchko refused, mall security arrested him.

"He was put in handcuffs and hauled down to the mall’s security station and later booked at the local jail," said Snatchko’s attorney Matthew McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute, a legal defens
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 02:43 PM
I am not so sure what to make of this. What crime was he charged with? For not listening to the security guard?

I am all for freedom of speech. From what I understand about this story, it sounds like that this man was harassing those people, pressuring them into accepting his belief.

In 2008, a California superior court ruled that the mall's ban on controversial conversations with strangers didn’t violate freedom of speech.

I think he did more than just exercising his freedom of speech.

Court documents claim that Westfield’s policy simply limits activities that have a "political, religious or other noncommercial purpose" to designated areas within the mall, in order to "minimize congestion." Speakers must submit a written application at least four days in advance. Access to the designated areas is then awarded on a "first come, first selected" basis.

Everyone loves a debate so I can understand why it would congest the traffic at the mall

Westfield argues in the court documents that mall security guards warned Snatchko on a number of occasions that he was violating the mall's Courtesy Guidelines by discussing religion with strangers. During one of his visits, guards even gave him a copy of the guidelines, but Snatchko continued striking up the same conversations without applying for a permit or sticking to the designated areas.

What's your take on this?
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 02:49 PM
Freedom of speech only applies to government, not to private property owners.

He was trespassing after he insisted on staying after being asked to leave.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 03:13 PM
From the news article, it is clear that the pastor was warned on several occasions that he was in violation of the mall's Courtesy Guidelines. He was also given a copy of the guidelines. Despite the efforts and apparent special treatment given to this stubborn person, he continued his misconduct.

Religous folks need to remove the attitude that it is fine to disobey rules and laws when they assume they are "doing gods will" and whatever other baloney they claim. Behave or pay the consequences, you are no more special than anyone else.

EDIT: Typo

[edit on 13-2-2010 by pplrnuts]

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 03:18 PM
reply to post by pplrnuts

Yes, in their worldview, their religion is the only truth so they will do anything to convince people or they will suffer in hellfire. This situation is just a mild form. It goes to tell you how much those people are willing to break the rules and laws. Some worldviews are very dangerous.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 03:27 PM
There is a time and place for everything. As a private business (the mall complex), they have the right to refuse service and remove people from their property. On the other hand, the people also being secure in their own selves have the right to engage into a conversation that has been privately accepted.

I find it odd that the person being initiated and engaged was either not interviewed or their words didn't fit the story's bill.

Its a sticky case nonetheless. You have an employee of a shop within the mall decide that someone else 'looked nervous' and has decided that the speech isn't appropriate. That employee wasn't the one being engaged and they may have been acting in 'good faith', they took it upon themselves to interpret the mall's rules on their regulation of speech.

The security guard was also acting in 'good faith' I believe, but I believe once the situation escalated to where an arrest needed to be made, it should have gone out of the hands of the private company and into the hands of the local police.

This will all lead to tangent arguments about things like:

What if two people are having a conversation in the mall's food court about God? Does the mall have the right to displace them because of that speech if someone is 'nervous', 'offended' or just doesn't like people talking about God?

On the other side of the argument would be:

If a private business cannot place reasonable rules and regulations on their property in regards to petitioning and assembly, it could open the door for the mall (which is private) to become subjected to mass gatherings, mass protests, etc.

Both may be extremes, but its worth following this case

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 04:16 PM
Well, I read the headline & despite noticing faux news, I was hopeful. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the man wasn't arrested for talking about god at all, but rather for refusing to leave private property when told to by those the management had authorised to make that decision. This youth pastor & his religious lawyers clearly set this up on purpose so they could file suit.
What I'd like to know is what Snatchko himself would think about people accosting strangers with a polite request to talk about sex. Why not? Its a personal thing that has much controversy attached, just the same as religion. Methinks he'd have a somewhat more censorious attitude...

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 04:23 PM
...snatchko's legal representation is the pacific justice institute, a severely right wing pro-christian-only org who is staunchly against everyone that doesnt bow to their very narrow views... their contention on snatchko's deal (which is appeal now) is that shopping malls are public venues, not private property, and so the mall owners do not have the right to have rules that govern speech... of course, thats bs and you can bet your last nickle that if the mall owner was a right wing fundamentalist xtian bigot and a homosexual athiest pulled the same stunt that snatchko pulled, the wishy-washy pacific justice institute would be on the mall owner's side...

[edit on 2/13/10 by Wyn Hawks]

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 05:54 PM
Another reason why I will never move to the U.S.....

for fear of being sued.

It seems America is obsessed with going to court. Why?

Is there nothing you can't be taken to court for in the States?

(please don't answer)

Although I am kinda glad it's a "bible basher" who has been taken to court.

There's too many of those nutcases hanging around malls / marts.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 08:54 PM
reply to post by Thistled

First of all read it closely,it states in the article it happened in CALIFORNIA.

Not the U.S. The failed effed up state has not really been part of the U.S. for many years now.

You basing something that happens there with the rest of the country is ludicrous.

If you were to go to some small town or mid sizes city in the heartland of the country you would be surprised at the difference.

Places where they don't lock their cars or houses and the local police know their name because he went to school with them.

You people read about things that happen in the cities in liberal states and think the whole country is like that.

[edit on 13-2-2010 by Oneolddude]

[edit on 13-2-2010 by Oneolddude]

[edit on 13-2-2010 by Oneolddude]

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 09:03 PM
reply to post by Thistled

The US is more litigious for three reasons.

1. The loser of a court case in the US does NOT pay the other sides legal fees. In other countries, if I sue you and lose, I not only have to pay my own lawyers, but your lawyers as well. Here in the US, you can sue someone for free.

2. The discovery process in the US is more intrusive. Discovery is a set of procedures in which the two sides of a lawsuit can see the evidence the other side is going to present at trial. In the US discovery can be very intrusive and costly.

Many defendants in lawsuits will end up settling lawsuits just so they can avoid discovery. They may be willing to cut a check for a few thousand dollars rather than incur the costs of being deposed for a day, producing documents which may contain trade secrets, and having to sift through thousands of documents.

3. The US allows for jury trials. Many countries do not have jury trials, but in the US jury trials are allowed in most civil suits. Juries are more unpredictable than professional judges. Repeat players, like insurance companies, will settle just to avoid the costs associated with the risk of jury trials.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 10:50 PM

security arrested him.

"He was put in handcuffs and hauled down to the mall’s security station and later booked at the local jail,"

I was a security officer in calif and unless the law has changed a security officer does not have the right to handcuff anyone unless they are violent.
they are not cops and have no law enforcement powers.

If you are passive they can not handcuff you. Cross your arms and tell them you will wait for the cops to get there.

A security guard can not haul you anywhere.
They can not use force on anyone unless they are physically attacked.

A security guard can ask you to come with them to the mall’s security station.
But they can not force you that is kidnapping. One i would never go to a mall’s security station/security office. You want to stay in a public place.
Security wants you out of public sight so no one can make a claim against them with witnesses.
Mall's have security cameras in public areas.
They will film everything.
Even security guards doing illegal acts.
There likely will not be cameras in the security office that is why you want to stay in public areas with cameras.

Those cameras can be used to protect you from false charges.
Once you are not in front of a camera the security guards can claim anything.

Also mall rules in most cases are not laws but just mall rules. they can not handcuff you for breaking rules, only laws.
Mall rules are civil not criminal rules.

They may ask you to leave, they may ban you, but they can not handcuff you for breaking rules only laws.

There are a number of wannabee cops working security.
Most will never be cops because they break the rules and the cops know this.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:05 PM
If this same thing happened to a guy who was talking to strangers about how the war in Iraq was based on lies, I have to imagine that the general ATS attitude would be siding with the guy.

The guy asked for and recieved permission to talk to the ladies about God. A store employee without checking if everything was alright called security over because he, in his extensive body reading background, thought they looked nervous.

Being arrested for striking up a conversation with a stranger no matter what the subject is wrong. He was asked to leave because of his belief and that is why most of you think he got what he deserved.

Express your freedom of speech, just as long as you aren't talking about God.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:25 PM
reply to post by Berserker01

Berserker you are correct. Most people here have a slant and do not engage in objective conversation and debate. While everyone has a slant and view, they interject it into a discussion that wasn't ever there.

Most people that will post here will say the 'bible thumper' is getting what he deserved.

They will not engage in the real question about the constitutionality of the situation. They thrive on this as it serves their ideas and thoughts to further their beliefs.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:35 PM

he ordered the evangelist to leave. After Snatchko refused, mall security arrested him.

A mall is private property. If they ask you to leave, you have to leave. The mall doesn't even need a specific reason to ask you to leave. If you refuse to leave you can be arrested for trespassing.

He didn't follow the guidelines and refused to leave. When your in someone else's house you should respect their rules. The shopping mall is not your living room.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:37 PM
reply to post by A NeWorlDisorder

I wonder how well your reasoning would work if he was asked to leave only because he was black.

I'm sure you would sing a differant tune then.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:38 PM
I hope he gets laughed out of the court room.

Next time maybe you'll spend a little less time learning the law of the book and learn the law of the land. The latter will do you some good.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:43 PM

Originally posted by Berserker01
I wonder how well your reasoning would work if he was asked to leave only because he was black.

I'm sure you would sing a differant tune then.

A black person can't stop being black, a religious zealot CAN shut their mouths.

Hey, I think I'll stand out on your front lawn and preach about the wonders of late stage abortion, then we can see what all you're neighbors think about you.

(in case that was too subtle, a business being tied to a certain religion is not good for business as it creates an uncomfortable atmosphere for people who do not agree with it. That is why the policy exists. They are doing what is best for their business, and if he wants to preach, that's why they give those tax exemptions for churches, so he can do it there.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:49 PM
reply to post by grimreaper797

So what if he can't stop being black. The Mall, being a private buisness, can refuse service to anyone for anything. But thats alright you just confirmed my suspicion.

Like I said in my first post. You guys read about something like this happening to a religous person and you say he gets what he deserved. If it happened to anyone else then you guys would get your panties in a bunch.

I would laugh at people like you if you wasn't so pathetic.

posted on Feb, 13 2010 @ 11:50 PM
he was not arrested for talking about God.

He was arrested for trespassing.

Big difference.

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