On a recent trip to Phipps Plaza, I was shamefully treated by Simon Properties employees, Brown & Company Jewelers, and the Atlanta Police Department. ( Lower right: Asst. Director Public Safety Curtis A. Pulliam)
On my way to purchase a Theory suit from Saks, I decided to snap a photograph of the new retail space occupied by Brown & Company. I pulled out my iPhone to take a picture of the exterior of the store. The next thing I knew, someone from Brown & Company jumped up from her desk, ran out to where I was standing, and screamed at me. "What do you think you doing taking pictures of my store? What are those pictures for? You'd better stop taking pictures!" Stunned, I answered "for my personal use," not giving it a thought because it is something I had never been questioned for doing before. Suddenly, the police officer from within the store approached me in the same manner and said, "You better stop taking those pictures or I am going to arrest you!" At this point, my mouth had fallen to the floor in disbelief. I could not believe that I might be arrested for casually taking a picture in the mall. I asked why I couldn't take pictures, and the officer informed me that it was against mall policy. Still in disbelief, I asked to see the policy and informed both the police officer and the employee that I would delete the photos as soon as I saw the policy because I was unaware of it. Moments later, another Atlanta police officer, W. Crossen, approached me with SIMON employee (mall cop) Mathew Lewis. Officer Crossen demanded to see my ID. Meanwhile, mall cop Lewis radioed others about the situation. I told mall cop Lewis that I would gladly delete the photos upon seeing the policy. He informed me that he would be taking me to the posted policy. At this point, with my ID in the possession of officer Crossen, I was taken down the elevator to P2. On the elevator ride, mall cop Lewis said "We will be escorting you off the property immediately." Other mall shoppers were watching the entire ordeal on the elevator as well. We reach P2 and I was shown the policy. I was asked by mall cop Lewis how I came to the mall today, by MARTA or by car. I informed him that my friend had driven (Mark Edge), but had parked on P3. I then asked for each of their names. Crossen responded by saying "Here is my name tag, if you are even capable of spelling." After recording their names, mall cop Lewis exclaimed that it was taking too long for my friend to arrive. “This is taking too long. You are coming with us to the security headquarters.” As I sat there, Crossen asked that I give him my ID again. Lewis began to fill out paperwork as Crossen treated me like a common criminal asking absurd questions and belittling me. "Do you even have a high school diploma?" I informed Crossen that I was a GSU student. "Must not take much effort then to get accepted. What do your parents do anyway?" My Dad has been in the military for 23 years, I told Crossen. "They obviously didn't know how to raise you." At this point I was infuriated. I can't remember all of the derogatory and belittling statements made by mall cop Lewis and officer Crossen. Every other word included some smart comment calling me uneducated and stupid. I was then firmly asked by mall Cop Lewis to sign a document. I demanded to know what I was signing and said that I would require a copy. He said that a copy would not be made available and that I'd better sign it. At this point, officer Crossen demanded that I sign it or he would arrest me for non-compliance with authority.
Curtis A. Pulliam, SIMON Properties Assistant Director of Public Safety entered the room. He also demanded that I sign. As I look over the document, I notice that it has my Dad's name instead of mine, apparently because the ID I provided was my military ID with my father's name as well as mine. They did not even know whom they were detaining, but I am the one lacking a high school diploma! I continue reading to learn that I am banned from Phipps Plaza for a year (well, actually my Dad is). Finally, Pulliam makes a copy and I sign. I unlocked my iPhone, deleted the pictures I had taken, as Pulliam looked over my shoulder. Another mall cop snapped my picture. I grabbed my copy and headed for the car.
I am requesting a written letter of apology from SIMON Property Group and re-admittance to Phipps Plaza so I can continue to be a law-abiding citizen and once again stimulate the economy.
- Caleb J. Spivak
UPDATE: As of May 26th, 5:30 pm, Phipps Plaza General Manager, Dewayne Herbert called me on my personal cell phone to asses the situation. He apologized and made clear that the ban placed on me from admittance to Phipps Plaza would be removed.