Monday, April 07, 2008

Scary 80-Year Old Terrierist

[Cross-posted from People First Politics

Police arrest anti-war protester, 80, at mall

Mr. Zirkel

Oooohhh, scary! Don Zirkel, an 80-year old church deacon was arrested last weekend in the food court of Smith Haven shopping mall in Lake Grove, where he was drinking coffee with his 77-year old wife. His offense was that he was wearing a t-shirt that had the death tolls of American military and Iraqis in the war, saying "Enough."

He'd been passing out protest pamphlets when mall security told him to stop and to turn his t-shirt inside out. He stopped passing out the pamphlets, but didn't turn his t-shirt inside out before stopping at the food court. So the mall security goons placed him under "civilian arrest" and called police. When they arrived and Zirkel refused to stop drinking his coffee they picked him up, put him in a wheelchair, and wheeled him out. He was arrested for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

"Eighty years, and I have never been arrested before for fighting injustice," said Zirkel. During those 80 years he had served in the U.S. Army, edited The Tablet, the Diocese of Brooklyn's newspaper, and worked for the state Division of Human Rights under Governor Mario Cuomo.

A PR company representing Simon Property Group, owners of the mall, said in a statement to the press -

...In keeping with our Code of Conduct, it is our corporate policy not to allow protests or demonstrations of any kind to take place on mall property regardless of the topic.

Unfortunately for Simon, there were two opposing protest groups at the mall that day, vocally sparring with each other - one anti-war, one pro-war. Zirkel said he wore the shirt to show his support for the anti-war protesters. None of the protesters in either of the two groups were arrested.

Maybe they were young and fit, and the mall security goons were afraid of enforcing policy on them. I'm sure an 80-year old looked like a much safer target...



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