Police Escort Muslim Couple Out of Mall After Reports of This Odd Behavior
A Muslim couple dressed in traditional clothing, apparently oblivious to the heightened concerns many Americans have about domestic terrorism, drew the attention of shoppers who followed the suggestion, “if you see something, say something,” and called mall security and the police to report suspicious activity.
Alan Crawford and his wife, Daphne, were walking through the Central Mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas with their son on the last weekend before Christmas, while used his phone to record video in the mall.
A number of bystanders grew concerned as they observed him recording not only shoppers, but also exits and entrances to the mall, and contacted mall security and the Fort Smith police.
Recording inside the mall is prohibited with prior approval of management and violates the code of conduct in place at the mall.
When he was told that he could not continue recording, Crawford claimed he was unaware of the policy.
“What crime I committed, I don’t know,” Crawford said, according to the police report. “I wasn’t aware that police officers show up five at a time to enforce mall law. If you want me to leave, I will leave happily.”
Although Crawford stopped shooting video, he continued to record audio, leading to the officers telling him that they could confiscate his phone if he refused to comply with mall policy.
“This is why you don’t trust the police – they harass people because of their religion,” Crawford reportedly told his son as they were escorted to the parking lot by Fort Smith police.
Shoppers observing the police and the couple, posted photos on social media with at least one post appearing on a Facebook page bearing the caption: “Cops escorting terrorists from the mall.”
Crawford was wearing a throbe, a floor-length covering, and his wife the hijab conservative Muslim women wear in public.
Later, Crawford told reporters they were just enjoying a Saturday at the mall and were racially profiled.
When asked if he was a threat, he added, “I probably would absolutely destroy a bacon cheeseburger or some fries with bacon on them or something like that.”
No charges were filed in the matter and there were no reports of the Crawfords returning to the mall later in the day.