Georgia mall bans teen after spat over short shorts, arrest

Columbus Ledger-EnquirerOctober 9, 2012 

— A 17-year-old Central-Phenix City student asked to leave Peachtree Mall over the length of her shorts claims she was unfairly singled out and that Columbus police overreacted Saturday night by taking her to jail in shackles.

The girl, Jasmine Colquitt, said Monday that she and her family were considering taking legal action after she was charged with two counts of disorderly conduct -- a city ordinance violation -- and banned from the mall for a year. According to police, Jasmine had been asked to leave the Manchester Expressway mall repeatedly but became quarrelsome, saying, "You can't make me leave."

The irony, Jasmine contended, was that she purchased the allegedly delinquent shorts at the same mall.

"Since when does Peachtree Mall have a dress code?" Jasmine said in an interview at her Lee County home. "You know how young people dress. Everybody was in shorts at the mall, so why are you sitting there picking with me and my friends when it was people in the mall dressed exactly how I was?"

After leaving a tailgate party, Jasmine said she and two similarly clad friends went to the mall "to pick up a ticket for this party we were going to." They were flagged down by security after walking around the mall for about three minutes, she said.

A police report says Jasmine was asked to leave the mall about 8:30 p.m. "due to the attire she was wearing.""Subject's butt was exposed," the report states.

Jasmine said she and her friends stepped outside and began speaking with officers. Jasmine demanded police cite the mall rule or local law outlining what clothing she could wear inside, asking whether it could be found "in the handbook." It was during that line of inquiry, she said, that the situation escalated and she found herself in handcuffs.

Mall security asked Jasmine to leave three or four times, police said, but she still refused: "The subject was then arrested for (disorderly conduct) for disrupting the normal flow of the mall inside/outside," the report said.

The teenager, a high school senior who wants to study broadcast journalism in college, said the report had been exaggerated."

She didn't appreciate the fact that I sat there and asked her questions that I knew, as a citizen, I had a right to know," Jasmine said of the officer. "How am I disrupting the flow of the mall if I'm not even in the mall?"

Mall officials declined comment Monday.

The arrest wasn't the first in which security found a mall patron's clothing objectionable. Police in July charged Brandon O'Neal, 21, with disorderly conduct after he was asked to leave for wearing a shirt with the words "Real Hanging S***." He became argumentative and began to dance instead of leaving.

In the most recent case, Halcy Colquitt said she paid about $400 cash to get her granddaughter out of jail after she spent the night there. "Jasmine is in honors classes. She plans to go to college," she said. "How's this going to look on (her) record?"

Halcy Colquitt didn't have any qualms about her granddaughter's attire, and she said their legal action "probably will go further than a complaint."

"You know I'm not going to let her go out with her butt hanging out," she said. "Her thighs are out; they're shorts. Some people's thighs look better than other people's thighs -- so maybe that's the thing, I don't know."

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