SEATTLE -- Seventeen-year-old Universal Allah was enjoying his after-school snack -- until police arrived.
"I wasn't doing anything illegal. I wasn't smoking, I wasn't drinking, I wasn't loitering," he said of his encounter with Seattle police in May. "I was just standing there, eating, maybe texting."
Allah, who now attends Garfield High School, had been buying chips and soda from the convenience store across the street from Southlake High School, which he attended last school year. As he left the store, he saw a police officer approach schoolmates gathered around the curb.
The teens started to walk away from the officer, who followed them, Allah said. Allah also tried to walk away. "I didn't want any part of that," he said.
But he says the officer grabbed him, took his name and told him he was banned from the store. Allah learned later that if he were caught at the store again he could face arrest for criminal trespassing. Police said the owners of that store had asked for help dispersing loiterers.
"I was a little bit offended," said Allah, an honors student with no criminal history. "I don't know what the hostility toward me was for when I wasn't even a part of the group."
Allah is among the hundreds of Seattle residents who've been banished over the years from public places and private property under a police practice called "trespass admonishment."