California mall forbids talking to strangers
August 15, 2010
Owners of a mall in Roseville don’t like strangers speaking to each other, unless it is about commercial enterprises in the mall, and penned rules prohibiting strangers from conversing. [SacramentoBee]
The rules forbid peaceful, consensual, spontaneous conversations between strangers about any topic not commercially related to the Westfield Galleria mall. According to the rules, an application for third party access must be filled out and approved prior to engaging in a conversation.
After a 27-year-old pastor filed a lawsuit against the mall seeking monetary damages for false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malicious prosecution, and a general violation of his civil rights after he was arrested for speaking to strangers, the Third District Court of Appeals ruled the mall’s policies are unconstitutional.
Matthew Snatchko refused to stop talking with three strangers who had agreed to talk to him about subjects that included his faith.
A security officer ordered Snatchko to stop talking to the strangers or to take the conversation outside. The security officer made a citizen’s arrest, handcuffed the youth pastor and turned him over to Roseville police.
Snatchko was booked into jail and then released. After he appeared in court for his arraignment, all charges were dropped.
Snatchko is suing for an unspecified amount.