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SHOWDOWN WITH IRAQ

An About-Face in Peace T-Shirt Case

March 06, 2003|From Associated Press

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Police said managers from Crossgates Mall called and asked that the complaint against Stephen Downs be withdrawn.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