Two men who say they were beaten after they were arrested by security guards at Landover Mall Saturday night, are scheduled to appear in Prince George's District Court Jan. 23 on charges of resisting arrest.
A third person faces a hearing in juvenile court on this and a separate charge of possession of marijuana, according to county police.
Eugene Darnell Thompson, 18, and his nephew, John Thompson Jr., 16, said they were beaten by mall guards. During a separate incident at the mall later that evening, Mark Gibrau, 20, of Landover said he was grabbed and choked by guards. Other shoppers at the mall said they witnessed the beatings.
Late Saturday night, all three were taken to a District Court commissioner in Seat Pleasant where they were formally charged. The two oldest were released on their personal recognizance while the younger Thompson was released to the custody of his parents, according to court records.
A mall official denied that the youths were beaten while in custody and said their injuries were suffered when they tried to resist arrest. On Sunday, both Thompsons had bruised faces and John Thompson also had a budding black eye.
In both instances, the youths ignored guards' orders to leave the mall, according to a statement of charges. The charges say the three put up a fight, and Gibrau drew a crowd when he yelled obscenities at a guard.
The shopping center is a popular hangout for teen-agers and young adults who sometimes get into trouble there, by all accounts. But Lt. William Matthews of the Seat Pleasant county police station said yesterday that he is "not aware of any continuing problems" at the mall with youths or security guards.
Henry Weisenberg, spokesman for Landover Mall, refused yesterday to comment on the weekend incident and said he would not allow a reporter to talk to the two guards involved in the incidents.
George Stern, chief of mall security, said several of his staff members are commissioned special police officers, licensed by Maryland State Police after an FBI check. He declined to say how many guards the mall employed.
According to state police, these officers have full arrest powers while on the private property they are guarding. These special police officers may apply for a separate license to carry handguns.
According to court papers, Gibrau and Eugene Darnell Thompson were charged by officer Gary F. Byrd, with disorderly conduct, trespassing, battery and resisting arrest. Police said the younger Thompson was similarly charged, and an officer who drove the three to the Seat Pleasant station also found a substance in the juvenile's pocket and charged him with possession of marijuana.