Members of an AIDS awareness group passing out condoms and fliers were ejected from Springfield Mall yesterday by security officers who said the group was trespassing.
Five members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, known as ACT UP, of Washington, were escorted off mall property by a security guard.
Reporters and photographers covering the event also were asked to leave.
The group was ejected after mall security chief Francis Korkowski was involved in an altercation with Journal Newspapers photographer Charles Agel.
Agel was photographing an ACT UP member handing an information sheet and a condom to a mall patron when Korkowski ordered him to stop taking pictures. When Agel refused, Korkowski grabbed at the photographer's camera and appeared to shove it in his face.
Mall general manager David Pierson said in an interview that Korkowski said he was attempting to block the lens so that Agel could not continue to take pictures.
Pierson said the mall is a "quasi-public property, but we still have the right to limit access."
He said an earlier request from an individual to distribute condoms at the mall was denied because managers felt it was inappropriate to make condoms easily accessible to children who would have been present.