Grandfather injured, arrested in Walmart Black Friday brawl Don't be stingy, SHARE USClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related Post navigation The Problem As I See It: vol 7 The Problem As I See It: vol 9
One word: Lawsuit. Out the wazoo. In Arizona, as in most states, you can stick anything you want in your pockets while you’re shopping, and you’re not shoplifting, Shoplifting is when you are leaving the store with unpaid goods. Until you walk past the cash registers to leave the store with unpaid goods you are a shopper, not a shoplifter. Loss prevention can step in and evict you from the store (after you return the goods of course), but they can’t arrest you for shoplifting, because you haven’t, not until you’re clearly on the way out of the store without paying for it.
Do note that in Arizona merchants do have arrest power over shoplifters and *can* legally detain people who they believe are shoplifting, and there is immunity against lawsuit when they do that (that is, it’s written into Arizona law that merchants are basically agents of the state when it comes to detaining shoplifters). But this doesn’t appear to be a situation covered by that statute and case law, which covers the situation of people who are actually leaving the store with unpaid goods.
Loss prevention people know all this. Believe me, the lectures to loss prevention people on what constitutes shoplifting and what *doesn’t* constitute shoplifting, and what actions may be taken at what point in a suspected shoplifting event, are lengthy and comprehensive. The store apparently assumed that cops they hired for additional security for things like Black Friday know all this too. Apparently the store was overoptimistic about the competence of officers from the Buckeye Police Department.They shouldn’t have been. Buckeye PD is infamous for hiring based on cronyism rather than ability, a situation which has occasionally resulted in tragedy…
I’m also concerned about how they dragged around a man who had hit the ground hard enough to pass out. He could have neck injuries and should have been handled in a manner that would not exacerbate that.
Ya, Buckeye doesn’t have a civil service system for their police department, every single cop there gets their job by being a relative of a city counselor, a friend or relative of a top City executive, or because a campaign contributor wants the cop hired. Everybody’s a certified Arizona peace officer, meaning they have a high school diploma or GED, got some minimum training (385 hours required) at some point in time, and have to get CEU’s to keep their certification, but Buckeye ain’t exactly the crime capitol of the world (other than meth — they know a *lot* about meth labs) and CEU’s are pretty worthless, sit thru a few hours of lecture, regurgitate enough of it on the post-test, and you’re done. So this level of professionalism — or lack thereof — is what you see. And the people of Buckeye are apparently okay with that, or they’d demand change, which they don’t.
I wouldn’t want to be in loss prevention. What a pain. What you can and can’t do is so tightly controlled. By the time they get out the door: good luck. For a while I worked at Radio Shack: back then a haven for those who wanted to distract the sales person while another stuffed parts in their pocket.
That being said, dragging someone that way would be a “No, no.” I’ve always thought even cops should have tranquilizer darts and then haul them away: gently. Of course that leads to: “What did you do to me while I was out of it?”
Indeed. Loss prevention is a profession all in itself, tangled up with all sorts of regulations put there by the stores themselves to keep themselves from being sued, well beyond the requirements of the law itself. For example — if they make it past the loss prevention guy and start running, in most cases you’re prohibited from chasing them. Because if you trip or fall — or if THEY trip or fall, for that matter — the store could be sued for having a “hazardous working environment” or “unsafe parking lot”.
One reason why I work with computers now, instead of kids. Computers don’t sue you ;).