Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md., has a lot to offer — a couple of chain and outlet stores, some high-calorie food options, and security guards who will assault you if you record them with your phone.
That’s what happened to Thomas Tang on April 8 when he and his girlfriend entered the mall by trying two different entrances that aren’t permitted after a certain hour, even though they were still open. Tang and his girlfriend, Erin Fabian, argued with security for not allowing them into the mall to get to the movie theater, which was still open. More security was called, and the pair were banned from the mall for their behavior in challenging the policy.
On his way out of the mall, Tang pulled out his iPhone to record the guards’ behavior and told them he would put it on YouTube. That really set them off, and they chased him into the parking lot. Four guards wrestled him to the ground and took his iPhone and deleted the video. He and Fabian were arrested by local police — he for trespassing, she for assault since the police claim she hit a guard in the chin.
Arundel Mills, which is owned by Simon Property Group in Indianapolis, is of course private property and they have the right to request people leave the premises and ban them too, if they so desire. However, security staff have no authority to assault you or seize your property, regardless of your behavior. They actually have the exact same amount of authority as you or me.
The authorities have told Tang there is nothing he can do; they say he was on private property so he has no recourse. Not true exactly.
This is what we recommended to him (and anyone who is being railroaded by individuals or companies abusing their authority): He should press charges against them for theft, unlawful detainment, assault and battery, false imprisonment and destruction of property; get recovery software to retrieve the iPhone video and put it on YouTube; get the mall’s security footage; file a complaint with the state agency that is the watchdog for security guard companies; contact the Better Business Bureau; contact local politicians, like city council members and the DA’s office; send the story to local news media so people are aware that this mall employs people who break the law. (This local site has already picked it up.)