The arrest of an activist outside of a Target store is the source of debate among San Jose residents. Salvador Bustamante, who is the executive director of Latinos United for a New America, was arrested while soliciting passersby to register to vote. While Bustamante says he was providing a public service towards bolstering democracy, Target says they have received numerous complaints from customers over the past couple months that describe Bustamante as “aggressive.” Target also says they only contacted law enforcement after repeatedly asking Bustamante to leave.
While the parking lot in front of the Target is technically private property, it can be considered a public space if it serves as a community gathering place. And California law usually exempts activists from trespassing restrictions as long as they don’t interfere with normal business. Apparently Target saw Bustamante and his LUNA colleagues as both disruptive towards business and in violation of the blanket policy that prohibits soliciting at all Target locations.
Laws regarding trespassing in California are not straightforward and often disadvantage activists. If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, like trespassing, you should contact the [firm-name], at [phone-number].