SALT LAKE CITY – A downtown Salt Lake City food vendor claims he is being harassed by security at City Creek Center.
For the past two years, Jose Escamilla has set up his food cart near City Creek Center with no problem, up until a month ago. He says mall security has been harassing him – questioning him about having the proper business permits.
“Another person came, the boss of security in plain clothes said his permits and stuff were void and that I couldn't be here,” said Jose Escamilla.
Escamilla asked Michael Clara with the Crossroads Urban Center for help.
“They would ask for Driver's license, ask for ID, ask for proof that they were citizens, which is just bizarre: The local police don't even do that,” Clara said.
On Friday, October 13, Clara used Facebook live to document the alleged harassment. Then four security guards confronted Clara and told him he could not film on their property without the mall’s consent.
Clara argued that he was in a public space and did not need permission to film. At one point, Clara accused the guard of harassing only Hispanic people.
The guard said the issue was over business permits and if the vendor was authorized to set up a business at the location. Clara informed the guard he had no right to ask them about business permits because it’s handled by the city.
“The city sent someone on Friday from their real estate service department and she confirmed that everything was in order, they meet all the permits and licenses,” Clara said.
City Creek sent Fox 13 a statement, saying in part:
“We ask all businesses operating at our entrances to confirm and provide documentation that they have obtained permits required to operate in that location.
I will personally contact Mr. Escamilla to understand and respond to his concerns. Our goal is to treat everyone, including customers and tenants, with courtesy and respect.
There is no restriction for filming on the public sidewalk. We apologize for any miscommunication and acknowledge that this was not handled in the best possible manner. We are working with our security teams to ensure they have a full understanding of the process.”
-Linda Wardell, General Manager, Taubman/City Creek Center.
Clara says if Escamilla is harassed any further, Clara says he will seek legal counsel.