Ohio Mall Security Guard Flies off the Handle Trying to Prevent Photos of Accident


A security guard for an Ohio shopping mall made a complete fool of herself as she tried to prevent people from taking photos of a truck that ended up in a ravine on mall property.

Officer Adams, as she describes herself in the above video, first threatened to confiscate cameras, then ordered people to delete their photos and finally ended up pushing a woman who immediately fought back.

The two women ended up punching and kicking each other on the street as onlookers calmly observed, including one who video recorded the debacle.

As outrageous as the video is, it is even more outrageous that the spokesman for the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville defended the security guard’s actions, telling WTRF that she was merely doing her job, which is to prevent people from taking photos on mall property.

Mall Director of Corporate Communications, Joe Bell, told WTRF on Monday that the fight occurred on mall property and the security guard was doing her job and was explaining to the woman that no pictures were allowed on mall property when the fight broke out.

Bell added no one was charged in the incident.

While it’s true that private companies can set their own policies regarding photography, they should notify customers about this policy as they enter the mall as they usually do about prohibitions against smoking or soliciting.

If they are so serious about their policy that they would allow security guards to attack shoppers, then they should post their policy on their website as the Crabtree Valley Mall in North Carolina did.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Photography, videotaping, or similar recordations are strictly prohibited without explicit permission from the mall management.

Failure to obey these rules or to comply with lawful and reasonable requests by the Crabtree Valley Mall Management, Special Police or Security will result in your being asked to leave the mall. If you refuse to leave, you will be arrested and prosecuted for criminal trespass.

But as strict as the Crabtree Valley Mall is about photography, even they know they can only order people off the property or have them arrested for trespassing.

They can’t order you to delete your photos nor can they order you to hand over your camera. And they certainly can’t get physical with you if you refuse to stop taking photos or even if you refuse to leave. They can only call the cops on you.

Fortunately for Adams, she wasn’t fired, but if she was, she is certainly qualified to work at 50 State Security in Miami.

Ohio Security Guard

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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  • Karen B

    Are u people really discussing wether it’s mall property or not? Who cares?! The video is awesome and crazy bc of “officer Adams” overinflated sense of authority, it’s the funniest thing ever, better than a Saturday night live skit! She is taking the situation wayyyyy too seriously, she acted like those people were violating every law known to man! Get over yourself Officer Adams!!!

  • Amicus Curia

    Well, actually, you have to leave if the owner orders you to, although filming itself is not illegal. Staying on private property when ordered to leave is. Just take the photos, and leave before the cops arrive. The guard has no right to touch you, seize your camera, or assault you in any way except in self defense. They cannot ‘detain’ you (lawfully) for trespassing.

    • Difdi

      Partly wrong. The guard CAN touch you in order to remove you from the property. Robbing you of your property on the other hand is not.

  • Amicus Curia

    It’s not *quite* that simple. e.g. The Harri Krishnas habitually beat their drums in airport terminals while wearing sandals (or barefoot) and robes, dancing in an effort to curry alms/donations. The airport authorities didn’t like it and would trespass them. When the issue reached the high court, the justices ruled in the Krishnas’ favor as (according to the court) the religious group was exercising its 1st Amendment right of freedom of expression/speech.

    At mall somewhere in the upper midwest (I believe) union members were demonstrating with signs in a labor dispute as they stood in the shopping center’s parking lot. The mall management tried to have them trespassed. Again, the high courts ruled against management for virtually the same reasons as the Krishna case. The parking lot was deemed as commonly available to the public. While it was ‘private’ property, it wasn’t private in the same sense your living room or the interior of a store might be. At any rate, the photos themselves are not illegal as there was no expectation of privacy in the above video. Whether the onlooking photographers all had to leave was another matter. It was also likely moot once the photos and video had been captured. At that point, I likely would have left, having gotten what I came for. What concerns me is if the hysterical guard had been seriously armed, this could have been tragic.

  • Amicus Curia

    Uh, not exactly. They can set ‘rules’ (e.g. no pictures). They can ask you to leave. They can seek to have you arrested for trespass if you don’t. But, they cannot order you (successfully) to stop taking pictures, seize your camera, order you to delete the photos, or have you arrested for taking the photos.

  • Amicus Curia

    I disagree. The security guard did not have the authority to physically accost anyone in the circumstances captured by the video.

    • Difdi

      The security guard overreacted, but not as much as you think.

      It is lawful for a property owner or their agent to order a person to leave their property. If that person refuses, it is lawful to use the necessary minimum of force to remove that person. Most businesses call the police for this part because police are partially shielded from civil liability where property owners and their employees (or contractors) are not.

      But just because it’s wise to use police for the civil liability shield, it’s not required by law that you do this. The security guard overreacted, but the overreaction and physical altercation was a lawful act.

  • Straight_Shooter

    Ofc Bernice Fife got her cottage cheese butt handed to her. What is illegal about taking a photo outside of the mall of a ravine?

  • Ziua Anei

    She was fired for not being professional not because she was wrong about enforcing the rule.
    Just because something is not a crime in the legal system doesn’t mean you have the right to do it on private property.

    Mall Cop’s Fight Highlights Public Misinformation on Authority


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