LETTER- Lebo's memory faulty

Charles Lebo recently wrote a letter to the Hook ["We just weren't mean," July 27] in which he argues that the ACLU and the Rutherford Institute are wasting resources and hurting his reputation by appealing to a higher court the decisions arising from his pressing charges against me for trespassing.

I have some sympathy for Lebo's position because I think he has contributed to the community, as he maintains. These organizations are capable of explaining their decision to use their legal talent in my defense.

But Lebo has a less than perfect memory. He is consistent, however, in his uncompromising attitude toward what he claims are his shopping center property rights. He is also correct in reporting that it did take over an hour and three police cars before I was arrested. But this was not because– as he claims– the police were "nice," but because they were trying to find a way Lebo and I could resolve competing claims of "rights" in an uncertain situation.

The supervising police officer in the third police car to arrive tried to "mediate" between us, hoping that the issue could be resolved. Lebo rejected all compromises that would have allowed me, a single individual handing out political leaflets, to do it in a time, place, or manner that would be acceptable to him. He said it was "policy" to not allow any such activity, even though there was no posted sign to that effect.

I finally gave up. I told the police officer that if Lebo would agree to send me a written statement that his company's policy was to forbid all persons– and not just those he chose to confront– from "soliciting" in the shopping center's common areas, I would leave immediately.  

Lebo responded, "I will not. I am under no obligation to do so." At that point, I told the officers I was not going to leave because I didn't believe he had the legal right to order me off the property. This led to a body search and my being handcuffed and driven to a magistrate's office where Lebo filed his charge against me.

The facts about the actual "policy" with respect to Shopper's World are still in question.

Richard C. Collins