Brad Kleinerman lives on a quiet 2-acre lot in the Connecticut countryside with his family. An American flag hangs near the front door. 

During a trip to the Twin Cities in January 2008, Kleinerman stopped at the Mall of America to return shoes and buy a SpongeBob SquarePants watch for one of his kids. 

Two security officers reported that Kleinerman, a human resources director for the health services giant CIGNA, based in Bloomfield, Conn., “intently observed” them as they answered an unrelated call and then “observed both of us very closely” as the three traveled in opposite directions. The guards considered this “very odd.”

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“We decided to follow Kleinerman and watch for behavioral indicators,” Officer Sean McArdle wrote in a suspicious activity report. They tailed Kleinerman as he headed into Le Gourmet Chef, a kitchen supply store.

McArdle reported that he and the other officer began to walk away after Kleinerman left the store, but Kleinerman started to follow them. 

They decided to attempt an “interview,” but Kleinerman refused, according to the report. That’s when Kleinerman was told he had two options: Answer questions or the Bloomington Police Department would be called. Kleinerman asked if he’d done anything criminal. 

“I informed Kleinerman that he had not,” wrote McArdle’s partner, Zachary Hill.

Kleinerman said he asked repeatedly why he was stopped, with no answer provided until a supervisor arrived. The supervisor told Kleinerman that shoppers sometimes “exhibit cues,” and the mall has a profile it looks for, according to Kleinerman’s account. 

The officers were dressed in street clothes, Kleinerman said. Even if he had been observing them closely for some reason, there’s no way he could have known they were security. 

“I explained to them why I was there,” Kleinerman said. “That really should have ended it, even if there was something odd about what I was doing. Yet for 45 minutes, they kept trying to get my name and information and seemed to get more upset with me the more I wouldn’t comply.”

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