"There’s no real threat to anyone by having a camera and snapping a picture," he [the kid's father] said."
Yes there is... the threat that is perceived is the threat of law enforcement (and mall cops) being exposed as overly-aggressive, law-breaking thugs. They fear being exposed for what they are. High school dropouts or not... most people in "secuity" jobs are there because they lack the skills to do anything more meaningful... like be a real cop.
I was tempted to photograph/video a cop the other day. He was driving like a moron because he was yakking on a cell phone, showing pictures on his phone to his partner in the passenger seat... all the while making hand gestures that included every word in the Italian dictionary. I'm glad I resisted that temptation... but it probably would have been so good it would have gone viral on Utube.