Arrested For … Kissing at the Mall

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You’re just a gal taking a break from mall shopping, sitting on a bench for a breather, and you give your girlfriend a kiss on the cheek. In an all too familiar set of circumstances, Jessica Garcia and her girlfriend took part in that very scenario — before being kicked out of the mall by security and then arrested for “trespassing.”

As Garcia tells it, after mall security witnessed the kiss (on Dec. 26), they told them they were exhibiting inappropriate behavior. “This is a family mall, y’all can’t do this,” said the mall cop, according to Garcia. “Y’all kissed, and if y’all do it again I’m going to write you a citation or I’m going to kick y’all out.” Reports the San Antonio Express-News:

Garcia said she and her girlfriend [both 22] were bothered by the officer’s comments and told him they weren’t kissing.

Pardue initially said it was the kissing that gained the officers’ attention, but she later clarified that the officers approached the women to tell them to sit properly on the bench.

She said one of the women was sitting on the other’s lap — a claim Garcia disputes. Garcia said her girlfriend had the lower portion of her leg around hers, from the knee down. She said neither was sitting on top of the other.

“They (the officers) passed people who were kissing and they didn’t tell them anything, but they came to us,” Garcia said. “We didn’t even kiss. All she did is she kissed me on my cheek. There’s no other way to explain it. They discriminated against us.”

Both Garcia and Pardue agree the incident escalated after that.

Pardue said the women complied briefly with the officer’s request, but once the officers began walking away, they continued to engage in an “activity that was not appropriate for the public.”

She said that at that point, the officers told the women to leave.

Garcia said she and her girlfriend walked out of the mall, but re-entered through another entrance in order to take a shortcut to their car, which was parked on the other side.

Pardue said that when security found the women back inside the mall, they were confronted about trespassing, and that’s when the women became disruptive and physical with the officers.

Garcia said she attempted to tell the officers she was merely trying to get to her car, but the officers kept harassing her and her girlfriend and the situation deteriorated.

In the end, she was charged with trespassing, resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer, while her girlfriend was charged with trespassing.

Pardue said the mall’s code of conduct is posted at all its entrances, stating disruptive or disorderly conduct isn’t tolerated. It says nothing about kissing, however.

And now, Garcia is suing for discrimination. Naturally, the mall disagrees with her version of events:

Danielle Pardue, the mall’s marketing director, denies the women’s claims of discrimination and said security officers would evict anyone found kissing in the mall, regardless of sexual orientation.

“If our security officer feels that is disruptive to our shoppers and our business, then they have that authority to make that determination,” she said. “It’s their responsibility to make sure our shopping place is an enjoyable shopping place for everyone to be.”

Pardue also stressed that contrary to what the women claim, they weren’t arrested because they were kissing, but because they re-entered the mall after being told to leave.

But let’s not kid ourselves. While we can’t claim any firsthand knowledge, it’s ridiculous to think mall cops would kick out a straight couple who exchanged a kiss, or were sitting on each other’s laps. A free gift card to Jamba Juice is definitely in order.

[Photo: SUTH]

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11 Comments

  • BradK

    Sorry, but since when is Paul Blart: Mall Cop considered a “Peace Officer”?

    Yet another reason to avoid shopping malls. Talk about a dead business model. And what of the future employment possibilities of of a laid-off mall cop? Karma rocks.

  • Merlin

    Kiss-in anyone? Like the sit-ins of old? LOL.

  • Fiftyninth

    I agree with Merlin. Time for folks to stage a peaceful kiss-in — both straights and gays together, all engaging in mild PDAs.

  • Darth Paul

    That’s San Antonio for you. That whole city is a dumping ground for (ex-)military, crazy-christians.

    My boyfriend, his best friend (a female) and I were booted from the ice skating rink back in 94 for holding hands while skating. No kissing or groping, just holding hands. The excuse was that we were upsetting a-hole moms w/their kids who were present. It seems little has changed in 15yrs.

    Personally, I think malls are sh!t. I avoid them like the plague and would advise all SA queers to do likewise. You can easily score better deals online if you know where to look.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    With their high overhead costs, air conditioning, heating, lighting, security, maintenance, insurance, management, etc.that drive rents and retail prices through the roof, malls will go the way of other extinct species.

    Since I began shopping on line several years ago, I have saved myself countless dollars on my purchases, not to mention the savings of time, energy and gas money.

    Mall mentality sucks. And if one needs to hang out in a mall in order to spend their hard-earned bucks, with a buch of schmucks who can’t even show some appreciation for the patronage give them, then theyneed to get a life.

    The malls need us. We don’t need them. And if they continue to act in such an arrogant fashion and choose to discriminate against minority groups as part of their TOS, then their demise is comming sooner, rather than later.

    onsidering some of the crappy service I have received at malls, I won’t be shedding any tears from them when they’re gone. They eat up far too much real estate that could be put to better use.

  • getreal

    What is the name of the mall so queerty readers in the san antonio area know to avoid it and so the rest of us can call management and give them a piece of our minds.

  • Buffy

    Malls suck. Why bother with them?

  • Shark

    I like malls :(

  • Buck

    @Merlin: I’m up for it. Although San Antonia’s quite a little drive from Tucson!

  • Distingué Traces

    Is this an original Queerty illustration, or did you just get lucky with Google images?

Comments are closed.