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Man Arrested for Refusing to Show Drivers License 1972

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the living-your-life-with-principles dept.
NMerriam writes "Michael Righi was arrested in Ohio over the weekend after refusing to show his receipt when leaving Circuit City. When the manger and 'loss prevention' employee physically prevented the vehicle he was a passenger in from leaving the parking lot, he called the police, who arrived, searched his bag and found he hadn't stolen anything. The officer then asked for Michael's driver's license, which he declined to provide since he wasn't operating a motor vehicle. The officer then arrested him, and upon finding out Michael was legally right about not having to provide a license, went ahead and charged him with 'obstructing official business' anyways."
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Man Arrested for Refusing to Show Drivers License

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  • by king-manic (409855) on Monday September 03, 2007 @12:59PM (#20452861)
    And it smells like a lawsuit. I don't think either the police or the store is going to go unscathed.
  • by Arceliar (895609) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:04PM (#20452919)
    Open and shut if there's a mentally competent judge presiding. But given the kind of stuff that's been getting posted lately, I wouldn't want to underestimate the idiocy of some people in the legal system.
  • by Snowtide (989191) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:05PM (#20452933)
    He said no to the police. Unless you have enough money or friends you always pay when you do that. Especially these days. Remember, most law enforcement know the rest of us are lower life forms than they are. The law does not matter, being right does not matter, nearly as much as money or power. Get used to it, it's going to keep getting worse before, if, it gets better. There are rapidly getting to be enough broad laws out there that everyone is guilty of something. You might just not know you have done anything wrong.
  • RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrashPoint (564165) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:08PM (#20452981)
    Every time one of these stories comes up, there's always a bunch of idiots who claim something to the effect of "But the store has the RIGHT to ask for your receipt". This is true but entirely beside the point. The point of contention is that the guy also had the RIGHT to refuse to show the receipt, and to walk right the fuck out of the store with his newly purchased property. The store did NOT have any right whatsoever to detain the guy.

    If you're going to argue against this guy, do yourself a favor: Don't argue the store was within their rights to ask for the receipt. Nobody's arguing with that, and you're a moron who can't fucking read if you think they are. Instead you need to make a case for why they were right to prevent him from leaving, because that, and only that, is what is being contended here.

  • by dtml-try MyNick (453562) <litheran AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:10PM (#20453001)
    Ok, call me ignorant, stupid, dumb, whatever. But why, whenever someone makes a mistake or fucks up is the very first thought (or post in this matter) always down the line of lawsuits, cash, court, lawyers etc?

    It may be common practice in the U.S. but every time it stuns me that whenever people make a mistake the very first thought is how to get maximum profit out of it and obliterate someone or something.
    Whatever happend to "sorry man, I fucked up, my mistake" "oh, ok, shit happens, have a good day, watch it next time" and simply get on with your life?
  • by heinousjay (683506) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:12PM (#20453029) Journal
    This was a little beyond a mistake. This was a deliberate violation of civil rights, in the face of multiple laws to the contrary of the officers actions. Pretty much the biggest reason we have a court system, frankly.
  • by NiceGeek (126629) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:15PM (#20453079)
    usually because the ones that caused the problem in the first place (in this case CC and the police) will usually not apologize or admit any kind of wrongdoing. Leaving the court system the only option in teaching them that it is not acceptable behavour.
  • by BalanceOfJudgement (962905) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:16PM (#20453089) Homepage

    He said no to the police. Unless you have enough money or friends you always pay when you do that. Especially these days. Remember, most law enforcement know the rest of us are lower life forms than they are. The law does not matter, being right does not matter, nearly as much as money or power. Get used to it, it's going to keep getting worse before, if, it gets better. There are rapidly getting to be enough broad laws out there that everyone is guilty of something. You might just not know you have done anything wrong.


    You might want to read his blog. He IS such a person.

    Oh, they chose the wrong man to mess with..
  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:17PM (#20453107)
    what laws though exactly? at least state the California laws since you already know them. I'm curious as well to the exact rights a store has to search a customer.
  • by The Anarchist Avenge (1004563) <nicho341&morris,umn,edu> on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:17PM (#20453115)
    Because in this case, we're dealing with an officer of the law, someone who is given legal rights beyond everyday citizens. Simply put, police officers should never be allowed to say "I'm sorry, I fucked up, have a nice day". People with that much power should be watched and punished if they try to abuse it, and in this case, it seems as if the cop just decided to exercise their power for no reason, and then punish the victim when it became apparent that the cop was in the wrong.
  • Blame the training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:19PM (#20453141) Homepage
    Someone on fark posted a good summary of why stuff like this happens. Cops no longer use discretion when dealing with people. They will arrest and charge and let the courts sort it out later. Nevermind that simply being arrested and not charged will appear on your record and any background check. You are then responsible for court costs and attorney fees all to defend yourself against the cop being wrong. So you win in court, big deal. The damage has been done. Nothing will happen to the office who made the mistake. He could shoot you dead and be put on administrative leave WITH pay and still be cleared because you didn't act like the rest of the sheep. I used to feel bad for police but after seeing the corruption and amount of lies they tell first hand my opinion has swayed the other direction.
  • by DeBattell (460265) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:19PM (#20453143)

    I must say I have a hard time sympathizing here. This falls under the heading of something my old boss used to refer to as "you'd be right, but you'd be dead". The usual analogy was crossing at a crosswalk in front of an oncoming truck; you're be right but you'd be dead. Is it really an essential liberty to not have to show your receipt as you exit a store? I think not. Is it a currently granted liberty according to the law? It would appear so. Am I going to loose sleep over trying to retain this liberty? Nope, sorry. Bigger fish to fry.
  • by T-Ranger (10520) <[jeffw] [at] [chebucto.ns.ca]> on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:21PM (#20453173) Homepage
    Well, the reason why apologies and admissions of fault never happen is because of the tort system. See game theory/MAD.
  • by Bob Gelumph (715872) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:22PM (#20453177)

    1. They have no just cause to search the bag since when they did the search they found nothing.
    Not finding anything has nothing to do with them not having just cause. They didn't have it. They may have had a suspicion, because people who don't want to be searched often have something to hide (because the other reason means the person is in the minority of society that thinks about a request to give up their privacy), but this is not a rule, and it is not good enough. Even if the police officer found something, the exact same lawsuit could exist, as anything found would be inadmissible (IANAL) due it being found in the illegal search.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:22PM (#20453181)
    > Whatever happend to "sorry man, I fucked up, my mistake"

    That happens every day. However, you never read about it in Slashdot since the next day, the people just go on with their lives and never think about it again. This is a function of the way news works. You hear about the cases where the police are idiots. Rightly so.
  • To raise funds (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:30PM (#20453259)
    One avenue that you could pursue for raising funds for your legal defense, is to bring a civil action against Circuit City. As you already know, they had no right to detain you. Also, their pockets are large.

    Good luck, and good for you for standing up for yourself.
  • Re:RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tansey (238786) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:37PM (#20453331) Journal

    Any thoughts on how to keep goods from leaving the store unauthorized, without violating someone's rights?
    Sure. You can ask your customers to present a photo ID before purchasing anything, and if they exercise their right to refuse to provide the identification, then you exercise your right to refuse service. Once you have the photo ID, you can find out you can examine your surveillance videos and if you notice they did anything suspicious, you can forward the information to the police.

    Now, you might say that such a tactic is crazy as no one wants to provide an ID just to buy a DVD or a video game. And you're right. So as a store owner, you have to try to balance your level of security with the level of customer satisfaction. In the end, the more cautious you are, the more customers you lose. However, a certain level of security is necessary so that the stolen goods don't outweigh the extra money made from the increase in customers.

    The point is that it isn't the job of the law to make sure that the store is protecting its goods. If you want to put every piece of merchandise you have behind bullet proof glass and force customers to ask a salesperson to open the case, then you will certainly decrease the amount of theft. You'll also decrease the amount of sales. Deal with it.
  • by l3prador (700532) <wkankla@gmaTOKYOil.com minus city> on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:37PM (#20453335) Homepage
    Really, in most cases I would agree with you. I think that the opportunism of lawsuits against any mistake or misfortune that might happen is out of control. However, when it comes to police officers giving a citizen orders to do things even though the citizen insists that he is within his rights to decline, there has to be some sort of penalty. There has to be some sort of penalty for violating the rights, and it can't just be a slap on the wrist, or officers will be able to do whatever they want, and figure out if it was legal or not later.
  • by pla (258480) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:40PM (#20453379) Journal
    On the other hand, he's obviously a dick for refusing to show any of his information.

    Why? When did "you have no basis to harass me, good bye" go from the default norm, to "he's obviously a dick"?

    We have two separate "offenses" here, neither of which Righi committed: First, the store manager mistook a refusal to play games after checking out, as some sort of proof of a crime sufficient to risk a lawsuit by detaining a customer against his will; Second, a cop mistook a refusal to play games over a legal document only required for the purpose of driving a motor vehicle on public roads, as some sort of proof of a crime sufficient to risk a lawsuit by detaining a US citizen against his will.

    Righi's only "crime" involved a low threshhold for BS. I routinely do the same things he did, not to act like a "dick", but because I don't humor other people's power trips. I've just never had it escalate to actually getting arrested (most store managers have enough sense to realize they don't really have a "right" to search anyone without permission, and when they don't, most cops kindly correct them on the matter).

    Some managers (and some cops) think they can pull this crap only because we let them get away with it. STOP ACTING LIKE SHEEP, PEOPLE! If every single time a store tried to search you, or a cop tries to waste your time, you stood up for your rights - Stories like this would vanish overnight (Well, okay, they'd probably skyrocket overnight, then vanish within a few days as everyone involved learned what "rights" they really do or don't have).
  • Conspiracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quixote (154172) * on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:46PM (#20453439) Homepage Journal
    I don't possess a tinfoil hat, or buy into conspiracies. But reading the user comments in his blog, I am shocked to see so many people calling him a "douchebag", a "tool", "smartarse", "attention whore", etc.

    I find it hard to believe that there are so many people out there who would willingly bend over and spread their cheeks for anyone in authority who asks for whatever reason. That's such a scary thought, that I'm _hoping_ (and praying, for the future of this country) that it's just a small group of rabble-rousers who are positing those comments.

  • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:46PM (#20453445) Homepage Journal
    I could be talking out of my ass, but I am speaking from what little experience I have working at a retail toy store. I was always told that we were NOT allowed to approach anyone for suspicion of theft UNLESS we had witnessed that said person had stole something. Even then it wasn't so cut and dry. For instance, little old ladies would put things in their huge carpet bag only to take it out when they got to the register. Aside from that, even cops need "Probable Cause" to start digging in your things, without a warrant. Acting shady or being an asshole isn't Probable Cause. At best it would be "Reasonable suspicion", which only does the men in blue any good if you are in a school or other govt building. But I am not sure that this even applies, because Best Buy are not the cops.
  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:47PM (#20453461) Homepage

    If you don't want to be searched, then you can choose to leave.
    Except that it is specifically as you are attempting to leave that they are searching you. In the case of a club, they can refuse entrance if you refuse the search. In the case of a store, they could do the same thing as you're entering, but if you refuse a search, they can't detain you. Further the goods in that bag are now your personal property, they gave up any right to look in that bag when the transaction completed.
  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:50PM (#20453515)

    This brings up a question. Is a store legally allowed to make you show your receipt or look through your bags? I mean, once you buy an item, it is yours and is officially your property, isn't it? If stores can look through a shopping bag does that mean that stores can look into personal bags, and even search your pockets and such?
    I would imagine not. I tend to get my back up with Fry's "final indignation" and blow through their requests to check my receipt on exit. The worse they've done so far is wish me a good day in a really loud voice (I suppose that's to alert their security and embarrass me in to submitting next time). I would suspect if Fry's had the right to search me, they would be much more aggressive in stopping me considering how aggressive they are with other policies in the store (much having to do with their own employees).
  • by fastest fascist (1086001) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:51PM (#20453531)
    I can't say I'm an expert on US law, but if your system is anything like sane, then no private operator has any right to search a persons belongings without their consent.
  • by BalanceOfJudgement (962905) on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:53PM (#20453567) Homepage

    I can't say I'm an expert on US law, but if your system is anything like sane, then no private operator has any right to search a persons belongings without their consent.


    Except in very few instances, they don't.

    The obedience you see is a result of very effective social engineering to make people believe they do have the right to search people.
  • Common courtesy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @01:56PM (#20453613)
    That's what it is called. You don't have to be an asshole all the time. The store has an interest in making sure no one is stealing. So do you so that their prices aren't jacked up to make up the losses.

    It takes less than 10 seconds. They are not asking to pat you down or strip search you. Be nice, show the receipt and go the fuck on your way.

    Some people are just natural born assholes and this guy sounds like one of them.
  • "It depends on the posted terms of entry."

    Just because the post it doesn't mean its legal.

    If they posted a sign saying they have a right to search your anal cavity with a cattle prod, would you agree that they have that right?

    The law is clear that terms that go against public order, are illegal, or unconscionable, are to be ignored.

    As for the whole "searching your bags" thing, they reserve the "right", but its not a right that they have. All they can do is ask to search your bags, and if you refuse, let you leave, unless its VERY blatant that a crime is being committed. They can't detain you by force, unless they want to go the "citizen's arrest" route - with all the potential liability that involves (yes, I've done the "citizen's arrest" thing once at a public protest, had lots of witnessess, detained the person until the police came and took over, but you had darned well be sure you're in the right). They can call the police, who have the right to stop you. If it turns out the complaint was wrong, the proper thing is for everyone to apologize, not be dickheads about it [trolltalk.com].

  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:08PM (#20453769) Homepage

    What shocks me is that the cop instantly took Circuit City's side without even bothering to figure out if there was any reason he SHOULD.

    I'm not sure what that says about the cop but that was his fatal mistake and I suspect it's going to be a very, very expensive one.
    Why are you surprised that a police officer is ignorant of the law? Seriously, being a cop is not a particularly intellectual job. It does not generally attract deep thinkers or legal scholars. It's a job where you drive around all day in a car looking for trouble. Not to say that there aren't some cops who are bright sparks who are on the ball, but you cannot deny that there is a significant portion of any "street level" law enforcement agency that is made up of very average schmoes who were attracted by the badge, gun, and power to boss folks around. It becomes painfully obvious when you watch the "true crime" shows on A&E. Homicide investigators drag in the murderer and question him, and come to one of two conclusions: a) his story is "weak", which makes them suspicious; or b) his story is "too good", which makes them suspicious! Makes you wonder how many times they haul in people who didn't do it, but came to the same conclusion based on either rationale a) or b).

    No, it's not surprising at all that a cop could be that thick-headedly ignorant of the law. They aren't lawyers. They aren't judges. They're the thugs with the big sticks that make sure the tribe does what the chief decrees.
  • by JoeD (12073) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:09PM (#20453779) Homepage
    This is incorrect. While they are perfectly within their rights to REQUEST to see the contents of your bag, you are within your rights to REFUSE that request.

    The fact that it is their store means nothing. Think of it this way. Do you have the right to search any bags or packages that someone brings into your home? No. You can ask, and then you can ask that they leave if they refuse to show you, but beyond that, nothing.

    Also, refusal to allow one's person or possessions to be search cannot be used as just cause for a search. So says the Supreme Court.
  • by crush (19364) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:12PM (#20453807)
    Ugh, a guy gets arrested standing up for basic rights and all you can do is attack him through his little sister? I'm sorry but your comment reeks of petty tactics. I'll bet his little sister is proud of him for what he did.
  • A better way... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SiMac (409541) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#20453863) Homepage
    Why deal with this by creating a confrontation with officers? Why not simply state, "It is my right not to show what's in this bag. If you want to see it, I'll go back to the register and return it." This seems a lot easier, doesn't get you in trouble with the cops, and still makes your point.
  • by dereference (875531) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:16PM (#20453865)
    ...you very likely would have passed by a sign indicating that your entry serves as your consent to having your bags (and often other personal belongings) searched. The wonderful thing about rights is that they can be so quickly and easily be surrendered.

    These are typically considered valid contracts. Unlike shrinkwrap licenses, you get to read this notice ahead of time, you may choose not to enter the premises, and you do receive consideration in that you're allowed to enter their establishment. The only grounds upon which you might possibly object is that there was no "meeting of the minds" and that you thus didn't understand the rights you were waiving. My guess is that if you know your rights well enough to rightly challenge a police officer, few judges/juries are going to sympathize with your claimed ignorance. Of course it's possible the sign was missing or inadequately visible, but most major retailers wouldn't make such a mistake.

    The law--both in theory and in practice--is seldom as "sane" as we'd like to think.
  • Re:RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zCyl (14362) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:18PM (#20453883)

    A receipt check isn't the same as accusing someone of shoplifting and they can't detain you for refusing a receipt check.

    A receipt check is an assumption of guilt for everyone which asks everyone to prove their innocence. We have a civic duty to object to this mindset and approach, as it goes against the core values of justice.
  • by drtsystems (775462) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:21PM (#20453949)
    I can't get to the blog because it is slashdotted, but I work at this circuit city. I was not working when this happened, but I overheard my manager talking about it. Apparently this guy is filing assault charges against him.

    Although being arrested for not showing a drivers license is ridiculous, that doesn't really have to do with circuit city and just shows the ineptitude of the Brooklyn police. What doesn't make sense though is that the guy refused to show his receipt to the Loss Prevention Associate. That is there entire job, to check the receipt of everyone who walks out the door. In our store there are registers all throughout the building. There is no way to know if someone actually purchased an item without checking the receipt. What does this guy expect, that we should allow anyone who doesn't feel like showing their receipt to walk freely out the door? Our store has a ton of theft (occasionally our entire stock of a new rap CD will go missing on the first day, and a couple days ago we lost a laptop computer).

    Now the fact that the loss prevention associate apparently physically held the guy from leaving is a different matter entirely. That is defiantly a no-no and Circuit City emphases this. I am not sure who was the LPA at the time, but its possible they were new (we have a lot of new employees right now) which would explain his actions somewhat.

    I just don't understand the attitude of this Micheal guy (i assume thats his name, thats what his domain name is) that he shouldn't have to show his receipt. Oh and Micheal, if you read this, I would like to know more about what happened, if you wouldn't mind responding or messaging me or something with the names of the people involved.
  • by Eiron (1030492) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:24PM (#20454003)
    Don't think of them as public roads. Think of them as private roads owned by the government, which is like a club with huge dues that consistently ignores its charter because membership is close enough to mandatory that it makes no difference. Then it all makes sense.
  • by Above (100351) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:26PM (#20454023)
    I'm all for standing up for your rights, but the guy in this case was an idiot.

    Most importantly, he picked two fights at once, and one was with the wrong people. If he wanted to show the store manager a lesson, he should have given the cop is drivers license. Did he have to? No, however he wanted the cop to help him. Cops spend so much time dealing every day with lying scumbags they have a very short fuse for people they feel are playing games with him. Had he just coughed up his license he probably could have got the store manager at least a ticket.

    Also, the guy in this case wasn't completely right. For some interesting recent commentary there's this supreme court case http://freetotravel.org/hiibel.html [freetotravel.org], http://www.papersplease.org/hiibel/ [papersplease.org], http://www.law.duke.edu/publiclaw/supremecourtonli ne/commentary/hiivsix [duke.edu]

    At a minimum, if you do not provide a government issued ID they police can detain you until they are sure you are who you say you are. You don't get to just tell the cop "I'm George Bush" and expect him to take your word for it.

    So in his effort to make a point about circuit city, he called the cops on the emergency line. Rather than sticking to the issue of being prevented from leaving (his entire family, no less, so multiple counts) he pissed off the one guy who could have written a ticket and arrested people to try and make a second point that he may have been technically correct about, but not in principal.

    In short, this is one of the worst examples of how to "fight the system" I have ever seen.

  • by causality (777677) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:27PM (#20454027)
    If the system worked correctly, then either (a) freedoms would gradually increase over time, or (b) the balance of state power vs. personal freedoms would remain roughly steady over time. Because the size and power of the USA government have each continued to increase over time (as measured by several factors, such as: number of laws on the books, degree of privacy of the average citizen, size of the government in terms of percentage of GDP, degree of power wielded by the executive branch today compared to just ten years ago, etc), I would judge that the system is not working as intended by its founders.

    It is failing, but because it's failing gradually and has taken several lifetimes to get this way, each generation grows up used to "the way things are" (Social Security vote-buying, drug asset forfeiture laws that don't require an arrest or for charges to be brought, warrentless domestic surveillance) and may lament the freedoms lost but do not see the inevitability of the police state. B

    Because of the difficulty of a massive takeover and the resistence and uprisings it would cause, freedom is almost never taken away all at once. Instead, it's eroded gradually, little bit by little tiny bit (always "for the children", "for your safety", "to stop terrorists", "to fight [some] drugs"), which suits the statists because it is never given back, making the resulting police state inevitable.

    What you're really dealing with here is an almost religious, always unstated belief that the artificial construct of the nation, as personified by state power, is like a massive all-powerful organism and the individuals of which it is composed are akin to cells in the body in the sense that any one of them is expendable and insignificant and they only matter in large numbers. This mentality has become deeply established in the USA, which is why in the news, no crime ever happens to a person - it happens to a Black person, or a White person, or an Asian person, or a woman, or a senior citizen, etc because the group identity has become more significant than the individual identity. This is useful for the goal of the statists, since each group has perceived collective interests in large enough numbers to influence the politics of the State. This is how you dehumanize people and turn them into a label, because it's no longer the mind, body, and soul of an individual who has hopes and dreams and feels pain like you do but just another faceless organization that can only be understood as an abstraction.

    Of course you also need to have a war of some kind going on to keep the public in a fearful state, since this is the best way to discourage rational thought and promote a groupthink "pack animal" situation. War on poverty, war on (some) drugs, war on crime, war on terror, war on obesity, etc. are how you get around that pesky Bill of Rights. For example, consider the 4th Amendment, which states:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Because of the War on (some) Drugs, it is now considered acceptable for the police to seize property without bothering to arrest anyone or charge them with any crime (reference [isil.org]). Thanks to the War on Terror, it is now considered acceptable for the feds to intercept communications and execute wiretaps without all that hassle of demonstrating probable cause and obtaining a warrant. Both of these practices, along with the entire idea of fighting an undeclared "war" against a battle tactic (terrorism is a particularly despicable form of guerilla warfare), would have been considered absolutely absurd things that would never happen here 100

  • Re:RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:28PM (#20454053) Homepage Journal
    You aren't getting it. Anyone has the right to ask anyone anything. So of COURSE the store has the right to ask for you to show them the receipt. Same way I have the right to ask you to pass the salt. Its no more empty or full of a right than that.

    Why on earth would you think they have any right to do anything beyond that? They are not cops, there has been NO legal process, why are you giving police powers over you to a minimum wage employee? That's just fucking crazy. If I buy a candy bar from you, that DOESN'T give you the authority to detain me because of some suspicion you have, or due to me refusing some request you routinely make as part of your business practices that I find objectionable. SO THE FUCK WHAT if you can't figure out how to sell candy bars profitably without assuming police powers over other people - that's not my fucking problem, its yours.

  • by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash...eighty+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:30PM (#20454079)
    Not my school. They could search your lockers, but can't touch anything in a backpack or other bag without you opening it, and you could refuse to open it up. Of course, they don't take kindly to refusing.
  • by VidEdit (703021) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:30PM (#20454099)
    "I must say I have a hard time sympathizing here. This falls under the heading of something my old boss used to refer to as "you'd be right, but you'd be dead"."

    Er, except he's right and he isn't dead! If this **isn't** a big deal then it never would have resulted in his unlawful detention and arrest.

    Now this clearly does not rise to the importance of fighting for suffrage and civil rights, but your boss would have dismissed those fights as well. He would have told Rosa Parks that she'd be right but she'd be dead! That or you are miss representing your boss's opinion...
  • by bill_beeman (237459) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:32PM (#20454127)
    Seems to me that being physically prevented from leaving (by the Circuit City types) does constitute a crime that justifies calling 911. In many areas there are different non-emergency numbers for each local jurisdiction, and if I'm being detained by a non-LEO it _does_ constitute an urgent need for an officer.

    In this case, of course, the lack of training on the part of the officer made the call relatively useless, but it is the right thing to do.

    My understanding is that the only circumstances under which a store can demand to see the receipt and inspect the purchases is in the case of membership stores such as Sam's Club or Costco, where you have agreed to that as a condition of your membership. I guess I'll tolerate a little hassle, but when the door nazis at Fry's get at all backed up I just walk past them. They grumble, but have yet to lay a hand on me.

    By the way, I'm sending a little to support this guy.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:33PM (#20454141) Homepage
    So the guy was being held against his will ... and you don't think that was an emergency? What if it was a girl being held against her will? Would THAT have been an emergency? What if the person regardless of gender felt threatened? Seems to me that an emergency is in the eye of the beholder, so if you weren't there, maybe you shouldn't be so judgemental?
  • by rwven (663186) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:38PM (#20454221)
    The problem is, once you walk outside the doors of their building, their right to detain you goes out the door with you. AFAIK, They can keep you IN the store if they have suspicion, but once you're out the door they're not allowed to do ANYTHING about it. It's a job for the police after that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:48PM (#20454347)
    In the UK, the police advise that shop staff follow "SCONE" or "SCOPE" before approaching a suspect:

    S - See the suspect take goods
    C - Conceal the goods
    O - Continuously Observe the suspect (to ensure they don't drop or discard the goods)
    P/N - Not Pay
    E - Attempt to exit

    Generally, if you're at an exit and someone tries to prevent you leaving, it's kidnapping (holding you against your will).

    My wife is a special officer and two of my good friends are full-timers. They would kick the arse of any shop staff that tried to hold a customer without having observed scope/scone.
  • by sdedeo (683762) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:50PM (#20454371) Homepage Journal
    All praise and kudos to this man. I am not surprised by the outcome w/r/t not showing identification. While there are laws and court rulings that mean that most any situation a law-abiding /.er finds him or herself in will not be legally required to show identification, these are largely ignored. Furthermore, they are very often "judgment call" laws: in other words, courts can later rule that the officer may have been justified (in defiance of reason, not something the courts are unfamiliar with.) Finally, laws vary from state to state. Last time I checked, for example, I was in New York State, and the police were allowed to ask you where you were going, for example, with no justification needed -- you will find yourself in trouble, and actual real non-martyr trouble, for refusing this based on your feeling about what actually is reasonable.

    I am a "privacy nut", but I have long stopped refusing to show identification (or in one case, provide a social security number for a bicycling-on-the-sidewalk ticket) to police officers. It is not worth the hassle. You will get caught up in a massive legal system. The only effective means to prevent this kind of completely illigitmate search/detention is to get involved at the political level. The bare facts of the Constitution in this case will not help you. This is in contrast to first-amendment type things, which the courts remain pretty firmly in favor on, and also tend to attract a great deal more press attention and public sympathy beyond /. YRO.

    Circuit City, on the other hand: obviously, no kind of political action will change that. If I had "ubersmarts" in a stressful moment, I would have done exactly as this man did, but then showed my ID to the police officer. The problem, and /.ers who don't already know need to know this, is that when you are in the middle of a confrontation with authorit[y/ies] the situation is incredibly stressful. You need to make a "game plan" ahead of time: figure out exactly what you are and are not willing to do after researching the consequences. Look not only at the laws, but at the actual enforcement of them, and ask yourself if $X is better spent, not on lawyers, but on political advocacy. Our nation, great as it is in many ways, has ceased to follow crucial portions of its mandate -- people need to be more strategic.

    Again, just to be clear: I fully support this man's decisions. They are not the decisions I would have made, but they are legitimate, noble and American.
  • Re:A better way... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saleenS281 (859657) on Monday September 03, 2007 @02:52PM (#20454389) Homepage
    because it doesn't bring attention the bigger issue at whole. It's like saying "why protest bush for invading iraq and creating an unjust war when you can simply not vote for him next time around?" If you can't see the difference, you're just another sheeple.
  • by Pfhorrest (545131) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:12PM (#20454643) Homepage Journal

    Based on that post, it looks like you value your constitutional rights and your Corvette, and not much else. Are you always this angry?
    People should be angry. Not enough people are angry enough, about the right things, and that's what lets thinks like the story in TFA happen.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:25PM (#20454829)
    You can say all those things, but if I refuse to play ball, all you can do is kick me out.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:29PM (#20454905) Journal
    Hmmmmm...I thought I'd agree with your statement, but then what's to prevent me from setting up my own dictatorial slave camp on "private property"?

    The rights of the owner of private property are certainly important, but I'm skeptical (and unsure) which parts of the constitution and the bill of rights (if any) are "suspended" when you enter private property. I mean, the private property is still on U.S. Territory.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:30PM (#20454911)
    Sad to see something this clueless get modded up as insightful. The simple truth is that you do not have a right to search me simply because I am on your property. You can ask to. I can refuse. If I refuse, it's fully within your right to ask that I leave, and if I don't, you can call the cops and have me arrested or removed. However, you at no time have a legal right to search me.
  • by Lane.exe (672783) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:33PM (#20454953) Homepage
    No, but murder is a crime. Violation of the Fourth Amendment is not a crime. It's a procedural violation. The remedy is not jail time for the violator... it's exclusion of illegally-seized evidence. Similarly, a search by a private person (when you are an invitee on to their property) does not violate any substantive rights you have. If you don't like their practices, no one is compelling you to shop there.
  • BTW... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:37PM (#20455005) Homepage Journal

    BTW, in many states you are not required to carry or produce identification, but if you refuse the police have the option of 'detaining' you for 72 hours to determine your identity.

    You're not required to produce ID, but if you don't you could go to jail for three days!?
    This is the same sort of logic that says that being on the sex offender list isn't a punishment, but the authorities can severely limit freedom of movement for someone if his name is on that list.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:50PM (#20455169) Homepage Journal

    ...you very likely would have passed by a sign indicating that your entry serves as your consent to having your bags (and often other personal belongings) searched. The wonderful thing about rights is that they can be so quickly and easily be surrendered.
    By reading the first word of this sentence you have granted me the right to harvest any and all of your organs at my discretion.

    Lucky for you, that's not how the world actually works. WTF do people think that entering a store makes you the ownser's slave? Sheesh.
  • by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Monday September 03, 2007 @03:52PM (#20455189) Homepage Journal

    My wife is a special officer and two of my good friends are full-timers. They would kick the arse of any shop staff that tried to hold a customer without having observed scope/scone.
    Unfortunately, in the U.S., it's quite common for stores to force you to show a receipt before they'll let you leave. Wal-Mart, most "wholesale clubs," many big-box stores, and an increasing number of electronics retailers do it. I guess they've found it's cheaper to hire some goon at minimum wage to harass people on their way out the door -- after they've made their purchases! -- than to implement a theft-prevention system or to hire enough people to actually track shoplifters and target them specifically.
  • by jonbryce (703250) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:03PM (#20455317) Homepage
    It may do. But that is a contract matter. If you refuse, the only thing they can do is sue you for breach of contract, and claim the actual losses they suffered as a result of you breaching the contract, which are probably approximately equal to zero.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:23PM (#20455505) Homepage

    Ok, call me ignorant, stupid, dumb, whatever. But why, whenever someone makes a mistake or fucks up is the very first thought (or post in this matter) always down the line of lawsuits, cash, court, lawyers etc?


    Because when a corporation or municipality is involved, they don't care about anything other than what it costs the bottom line. If they make a mistake and can get away with a press release, they don't really care and won't bother to do anything to prevent the mistake from happening again (maybe add a sentence on page 356 of the employee manual).

    It is, in many ways, about using "market forces" to prevent mistakes from happening. When mistakes cost real money, they're less likely to be tolerated by superiors, because that cuts down on the value of their stock options.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:30PM (#20455619) Homepage

    all they asked to check was the bag that contained his Circuit City purchases and his receipt. I'm not sure what privacy he is protecting


    That bag contained his private property that he had just purchased. He gave them money for it, it's his, not theirs.

    Should he be able to inspect their cash registers after his purchase? After all, they contain money that was his just moments before.

    Would you feel differently about the privacy implications if he were leaving Wal*Mart and had just filled his prescription for an STD, or to prevent his frequent diarrhea? Pharmacists are licensed professionals, trained on the privacy aspects of their profession. You're saying that I should have to expose my medical condition to any minimum-wage flunkie who gets curious?
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:35PM (#20455659) Homepage

    Do we really live in a society that coddles people like this?


    Like what? People who don't do what they're told just because it's easier, even if they think it's wrong?

    The CC manager could have defused the situation at any moment just as easily as the customer (indeed, CC policy almost certainly tells that he should have, and regardless of the legal consequences, this manager is certainly going to get some training). The cop could have searched the bag and said "He didn't steal anything. Have a nice day" and then let everyone get on with their lives.
  • by smidget2k4 (847334) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:36PM (#20455681)
    If you walked in and observed them choking customers on their way out and beating their children, would they be in the right to do that to you on the way out? Obviously you consented because you observed it when you came in. Thus, you are consenting to assault. It doesn't make it legal to do something illegal just because you consent to it, know about it, or others consent to it.
  • by song-of-the-pogo (631676) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:43PM (#20455765) Homepage
    i do not believe mr. righi was displaying "deliberate disrespect", nor was he doing anything "just to prove he could". he was defending his civil rights/liberties because it is necessary to do so. if one does not, one runs the far more serious risk of losing them. would it have been easier for him to simply roll over and comply? most probably, but it wouldn't necessarily have been right. as i see it, what he did wasn't just for his own sake but for the sake of everyone who has gone through or might go through something similar.
  • by Myopic (18616) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:55PM (#20455905)
    Hah, man, you just got caught not reading the article. The article specifically cites this law:

    2921.29 (C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person's name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person's name, address, or date of birth or for refusing to describe the offense observed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:55PM (#20455909)
    Wholesale clubs are a different beast. As part of your membership you have agreed to allow this. With normal retail stores there is no such agreement.

    JD
  • by Invidious (106932) on Monday September 03, 2007 @04:59PM (#20455949)
    Being detained against your will is a perfectly reasonable reason to call 911.
  • by krray (605395) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:18PM (#20456161)
    As otherwise stated being ILLEGALLY detained is a felony.
    You're being an ass for not realizing the emergency in the situation.

    And just FYI -- in my town the non-emergency number and 911 ring to the same panel and end up with the same set of dispatchers. I helped program it.
  • by Score Whore (32328) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:21PM (#20456193)

    WTF do people think that entering a store makes you the ownser's slave?


    Make you a slave? No. Mean you have to abide by their rules? Yes. They can detain you if they think you are stealing their goods. They can preserve evidence by taking shopping bags and bag packs and what not. What's more these people aren't police. They don't have to abide by the fourth amendment. There have been several court cases that have found this to be true. One example is sited at Volokh.com [volokh.com]:

    Does a user have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their files -- including images of child pornography -- posted on a password-protected website? In a decision handed down last week, Judge Stearns of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts concluded that the answer is "yes." At the same time, Judge Stearns refused to suppress the evidence in the particular case, finding that its collection was the fruits of a private search by a tipster. The case is United States v. D'Andrea.
  • Here's the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:23PM (#20456219)
    Refusing a search is NEVER probable cause, or reasonable suspicion or anything for a search. Ever. This has been in the courts and ruled on clearly.

    I mean think: Suppose that it was. Well then the police would never not be able to search you. They'd ask "Can we search your person/car/house/whatever?" If you say yes, you've granted consent so they are fine. If you say no, then they'd just say "Well he said no, that's probable cause to suspect he's doing something wrong so we can search."

    So refusal of a search cannot be taken for anything other than what it is. Otherwise there would be no ability to refuse a search, ever.

    Also, look up the standard of probably cause, you'll find that it is actually fairly high. "I think it probably happened," or "That guy looks suspicious," and so on do NOT give probably cause.
  • Uh. No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144) on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:33PM (#20456347) Homepage Journal
    "Until you show a receipt, the status of your merchandise (purchased or non-purchased) is unknown."

    Bull! It's known by the store's representative (the cashier) who checked you out!
  • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Monday September 03, 2007 @05:51PM (#20456517) Homepage
    Cynical much?

    Did you even read the guy's page where he described what happened? If you did I cannot see how you can possibly come to the conclusions that you have. My guess is that instead you have made a knee-jerk reaction based on your vague understanding of what happened and a personal belief that only you are justified in defending yourself, and when others do it, they're just being unreasonable.

    There was no disrespect. There was only a guy refusing to be coerced into being searched by a store employee. He tried to walk away from the situation, but he was barred from leaving (illegally) by the store employees. He tried to get the cops to rectify this and instead they arrested him. If he knew that the cops were going to arrest *him* I don't think he would have called them. Maybe he would have, only because he knows that they would be wrong and that in the end it wouldn't be so bad for him, but I nothing about his story suggests that he called the cops specifically so that they would arrest him. I'm guessing he expected the cop to know the law and to apply it, but that's not what happened.

    Seriously, rm999, you should read and understand the story you are commenting on before posting.
  • by ray-auch (454705) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:31PM (#20456887)

    And yes, even though you don't drive, you MUST have a state ID with you at all times


    I don't have an ID from your state (or any US state). Does that mean I'm committing an offence the minute I enter it ?

    How do tourists / visitors survive - or do you just not allow them ?

  • by rhombic (140326) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:37PM (#20456949)
    Agreed. Although after they laid off all their "overpaid" sales people then offered to hire them back at reduced wages, I decided to never shop at CC again. Haven't been into one of those annoying red stores since-- I can't boycott them any more than I already do. Damn.

  • Well, personally, I'm glad some people are willing to be the designated dick and stand guard against the gradual erosion of our rights.

    It's always easier to just go to the back of the bus, and it's always easier to wait until you're actually being forced into the showers before objecting.

  • by UglyTool (768385) <rstageNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:44PM (#20457005) Homepage

    My new approach is to show the receipt, while politely reminding them that "I'm doing this because I choose to and not out of legal obligation."

    So, basically what you're saying is, "I don't like your rules, but I'm going to follow them anyway."

    Voila, point made, no danger of ending up in bad situation.

    I'm not entirely sure what point it was that you supposedly made. They wanted to see your receipt, and you showed it to them.

    That said, I'm glad someone is out there actually doing the hard work.

    I've never considered standing up for my rights hard work. Just a growing necessity in today's world, and something that I enjoy doing.

  • by epine (68316) on Monday September 03, 2007 @06:57PM (#20457121)

    I can't believe how few posts here grasp the central legal issue. The case against CC is a side show. Up until the officer verified that nothing was stolen, he probably had the law, or at least the sympathies of the judiciary, behind him. *After* he verified that no crime had originally been committed, it was his snotty-nosed follow-up charge of impeding police procedure that is going to get him into some deep legal hot water, because at that point in time he suspected no crime at all, other than the refusal to show a driver's license, which it's doubtful he had any right to demand, and furthermore, the officer neglected to ask for other information he was entitled to that would have enabled him to conduct those duties without needing the DL in the first place.

    This is a case of an officer issuing a "screw you" charge against a citizen, at a point in time where he is suspected of no original crime, for sticking up legal rights he actually holds.

    What is it about this that's hard to grasp? For that matter, why don't the police just get it over and done with by charging the constitution for obstruction of law-enforcement activities. It absolutely does obstruct law-enforcement. There's no question about that whatsoever. It turns out that law-enforcement is not the highest ideal of constitutional society, a mundane and disagreeable detail which the police occasionally forget.

    Imagine you go to a bank to protest a $50 banking fee that was charged by mistake. The bank manager agrees that the $50 charge was in error. Then you return home and check your bank statement electronically and it now shows a $500 fee for "irregular statement review request".

    The cop had an opportunity to drop the matter once the reality of no original crime was apparent to all involved. He didn't. He chose to go snotty. That's the issue here. Not Circuit City groping people's bagaloons. Like, duh.
  • by rjhubs (929158) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:03PM (#20457177)
    There are two situations where fruit of the poisoness tree do not apply. First is Inevitable Discovery [wikipedia.org] where evidence found illegally can still be used if it can be shown that they would have found it inevitably. Second is the Good-faith exception [wikipedia.org] where evidence found in an illegal search can be admissable if it can be shown that the cop believed everything he was doing was legal. As you can tell both of these are very subjective which allows a lot of leway when it comes to 'illegally' obtained evidence
  • by GooberToo (74388) on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:10PM (#20457225)
    Wal-Mart, most "wholesale clubs," many big-box stores, and an increasing number of electronics retailers do it.

    In most places it is plainly illegal for them to detain you based on unwillingness to present a receipt. Meaning, they must have cause to demand a receipt in the first place. On the other hand, stores which are "clubs" can have their own sets of rules which you may unknowingly agree to; Sam's Club being one of them. Obviously the details will differ from state to state. Be warned, even in states where the manager may wind up being arrested and charged with illegal detainmnet and/or kidnapping, assuming a police officier actually knows the law, which is a real crap shoot, it can be a whole different ball of wax at member's clubs when you sign on the bottom line.

    I actually know an attorney who makes their extra Mercedes and BMW money by ruthlessly chasing after the store chain, the manager, the employee working the door, and the the city and/or county paying the officer's salary. In some cases he's even able to get the officier fired with cause; depending on the officier's role.
  • by ckaminski (82854) <ckaminski&pobox,com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @07:43PM (#20457513) Homepage
    That's utter bullshit. If a cop can get away with just believing something is legal, then I should be able to get away with driving 95 in a 50. I believe it's legal anyway.

  • by iphayd (170761) on Monday September 03, 2007 @09:25PM (#20458429) Homepage Journal
    I think the key to your post is that the store has a right to detain anyone that they suspect of shoplifting long enough for the police to get there. In this instance, the store made no effort to contact the police, therefore was unlawfully detaining the individual in question, which is why the individual called the police. The police officer refused to hold up the individual's constitutional right (unreasonable search and seizure), and even went as far as further violating the individual's rights. Remember, that bag is yours as soon as you pay for it, and the store loses all rights in the matter, unless you sign it away (CostCo.)

    Now, with that said, the individual needs to realize that this day should not have been about him, and allowed the illegal search of his bags, for his sibling's sake.
  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Monday September 03, 2007 @09:57PM (#20458683) Homepage Journal

    A merchant may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the merchant has probable cause...

    Ignoring the differences in California and Ohio statutes, probable cause in a shoplifting case requires a good deal more [crimedoctor.com] than "he wouldn't show me a receipt." By and large, in order to detain someone on suspicion of shoplifting you need to see them:

    • take merchandise,
    • conceal it, and
    • leave the store without paying for it.

    And you have to keep them under continual observation the whole time.

    As you mentioned, Mr. Righi's refusal to suck corporate cock is not probable cause.

    Having read TFA, it looks to me like the security guard and store manager have unlawfully detained not just Mr. Righi, but his entire family: By blocking the car from moving, the manager and guard trapped his father and father's wife, his brother and two sisters. That's five crimes -- possibly felonies -- committed by the store, on top of whatever crimes they committed against their customer.

    If Mr. Righi and his family decide to pursue this, I think the perpetrators and their employers will be begging for the chance to apologize and settle.

  • by willfe (6537) <willfe@gmail.com> on Monday September 03, 2007 @10:17PM (#20458855) Homepage

    The assumption is that anyone shopping there is aware of that policy and plans to abide by it, or else they wouldn't be shopping there. So, when someone seeks to avoid having his receipt inspected, it's likely for nefarious reasons.

    The problem here is that's still a presumption of guilt without proof. "No, I don't want to be searched" is not an indicator of "nefarious" thinking (at least, it's not a good or "legal" one). The assumption that "anyone there is aware of that policy" is a faulty one. Who honestly walks into a store and watches the exit carefully as they walk in to see whether they "inspect receipts" or not? Whether a store "hides" that they do it or not is irrelevant; they don't get to detain everyone that refuses to hand over a receipt. As others have said here, a store's agent has to witness a theft or have CCTV footage of the same. I do go out of my way to look for this behavior and I try to avoid these places, but hey, sometimes when there's a good deal, it's worth risking a confrontation (because I still refuse all such "inspection" requests).

    I'm stunned that we, as a society, have been even partially "trained" to obediently stop at the exit to "pass inspection." I (and many others like me) make it a point to refuse searches for any reason, from a police officer or otherwise. If I'm willing to tell an officer "no, you may not" if he asks to search my person, my vehicle, or my home, what chance does a store grunt have? :)

    To stores that push this "inspection" nonsense, I say "bunk." I paid for my stuff. It's in a bag with your store's logo on it, because your cashier used your cash registers to charge my card (or accept my cash) to pay you for the stuff I've just purchased. Our transaction is done. I'm not interested in "proving" any further that it's paid for. Fix your system. Don't hassle me on my way out. I'm not your problem anyway (since I'm actually paying for stuff).

    Folks sometimes raise the issue of membership clubs that make "mandatory receipt inspections" a part of the membership terms, but even that's a wash. The most the store can do is revoke your membership if you refuse to "comply." They don't gain "magic police powers" just because they let you into their club.

    You're absolutely right though in that these stores are not ignorant of the law here. Some of their underpaid minions might well be, but the stores know where the lines are. If CC has any brains whatsoever in this one, they'll offer this guy a nice, humble apology, along with a nice & shiny high-value gift card (or a check) to go with it. The officer actually citing the guy for a silly charge like "obstructing an officer" (or whatever phrasing they actually used) is an obvious "uh, I can't find anything to actually charge you with, but you were a jerk, so n'yah!" That's probably gonna cost the city/state a bit of cash, too, sadly.

  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768NO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Monday September 03, 2007 @10:18PM (#20458863) Journal

    You do not have a right to enter my property without forfeiting some of yours. If you refuse, its fully within your rights to stay the fuck out.
    Um actually its not. Stores are considered private property with public access, which means they must obey all state and federal laws unless said store is a membership store where you signed a contract to enter. Its actually quite a interesting legal ruling, since technically unless a store pursues charges against you, and its ruled by a judge that you violated a law, they cants legally restrict your access to the store (IE they cant ban you no matter how many stores actually do it)
  • by tinkertim (918832) on Monday September 03, 2007 @11:17PM (#20459299) Homepage

    What shocks me is that the cop instantly took Circuit City's side without even bothering to figure out if there was any reason he SHOULD.

    I'm not sure what that says about the cop but that was his fatal mistake and I suspect it's going to be a very, very expensive one.

    I think simply asking for "Identification" would have been the way to go. I'm sure the cop realized that this was likely to be a lawsuit just over the false report of theft and harassment. The cop has paperwork, it needs to be completed correctly since its likely to become evidence.

    It sounds like the guy was also very very rude and combative, well, cops are trained to react to that in a certain way.

    Right or wrong, if I swat at a hornet, its going to sting me. Sounds like this guy delights in complaining. I'm not saying that they are not valid complaints, but a little more finesse would not have killed him.
  • by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:09AM (#20459775) Journal
    Because a person in the Unites States has a right to buy things at the store without showing documentation.

    Douchebag or not, if there is no law prohibiting an action, then that action is perfectly legal. One might even suggest that people in general should become the most glaring assholes the world has ever seen in the face of having their basic liberties trampled upon.

    Rights cannot be granted, they can only be taken away.

  • by RudeIota (1131331) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @12:21AM (#20459889) Homepage

    Commonly known as 'stop and identify' statutes, these laws permit police to arrest criminal suspects who refuse to identify themselves.

    "Currently the following states have stop and identify laws [flexyourrights.org]: AL, AR, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, KS, LA, MO, MT, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, ND, RI, UT, VT, WI""

    I've been pulled over before (in KY, not driving) and the officer told me it was illegal for anyone 18 and over not to have an ID. He may or may have not been correct, but that's why I sought this information awhile back. Apparently, it has still not changed. I'm surprised no one has heard of this before?

    I appreciate those of you who asked for more information. I'm glad to have found this link which clears up which states this applies to. Worthy of noting, OH is not one of them, so nothing to see here folks... keep moving along. ;)

    It is also worth noting that 'criminal suspects' in the context it is used here is a pretty broad blanket term. Virtually anyone who's been pulled over or stopped by police for most reasons could be classified as such.
  • by RealGrouchy (943109) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:08AM (#20460247)
    You really think a manager at Circuit City is competent enough to be able to track down a slashdot user?

    - RG>
  • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:44AM (#20460493)
    Had he just coughed up his license he probably could have got the store manager at least a ticket.

    Now he'll have merely a highly-publicized lawsuit. Oh darn?

    Also, the guy in this case wasn't completely right. For some interesting recent commentary there's this supreme court case http://freetotravel.org/hiibel.html [freetotravel.org]

    Not sure what your point here is. Hiibel v Nevada says in accordance with Nevada law he was required to tell the officers who he was if they had "reasonable suspicion" of criminal activity. This fellow (a) was not in Nevada, (b) the officer had no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity by him (he was the one who called 911 for help!), and (c) he did indeed tell them his name, which the store clerks could have easily verified if there was any doubt.

    At a minimum, if you do not provide a government issued ID they police can detain you until they are sure you are who you say you are.

    Only if they have reason to detain you in the first place. If I'm walking down the street, the cops can't simply ask for my ID and then detain me for not having any. After Hiibel, they can only if they have reason to think I committed a crime, and if state law allows it.

    You don't get to just tell the cop "I'm George Bush" and expect him to take your word for it.

    But he didn't claim to be George Bush. He gave his real name, which the officer had no reason to doubt, and which the store could easily verify. And he was not even the one being accused of assault (or anything at all), so his identity shouldn't matter.

    So in his effort to make a point about circuit city, he called the cops on the emergency line.

    If being detained against your will isn't an emergency, I don't know what is. I've called 911 for far less, when told to by cops. It's not some magic number you can only dial if you're dying.

    Rather than sticking to the issue of being prevented from leaving (his entire family, no less, so multiple counts) he pissed off the one guy who could have written a ticket and arrested people to try and make a second point that he may have been technically correct about, but not in principal.

    Assuming you mean "principle" -- what principle exactly are you thinking of? "You're only allowed to defend one right per 24-hour period"? Your comment about "pissing somebody off" is hilarious -- it reminds me of John Adams in "1776", when congress won't vote on independence for fear of pissing somebody off: "This is a revolution, dammit! We're going to have to offend SOMEbody!"
  • by forlornhope (688722) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @01:58AM (#20460579) Homepage
    If that's true, contact the OP. That cop just smoked any immunity he had and he could potentially end up in jail. I would hate to be him right about now.
  • by raju1kabir (251972) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @03:07AM (#20460959) Homepage

    I see your point, but I still feel that this guy cut off his nose to spite his face. Right or wrong, it was a knee-jerk reaction and did not seem to do him a lot of good

    He's taking the long view. It's a hassle today, but in the long run he is striking a blow for freedom for all of us. We need more people who are able to look past momentary inconvenience and see the big picture.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:10AM (#20463719)

    It sounds like the guy was also very very rude and combative, well, cops are trained to react to that in a certain way.

    This is not a justification. The cop was wrong, he should be trained properly, and he should know what to do in a situation like this. Now he (and perhaps the taxpayers there) will pay the price for improperly detaining someone.

    IANAL -- Without taking a side on the issue (I really don't care that much), acting combative and rude will give a police officer probable cause that you have something to hide. A courtroom is a place to argue your case, not the parking lot. He would have faired better if he politely refused to show ID, explained why he refused, and try to reason with the officer. If the officer doesn't agree then he has no choice but to ask for a hearing on the matter. Politics aside, you do not want to get in a "I said vs. he said" argument. If the officer suspects you did something wrong, he will look for a way to search your person. This will likely involve looking for some disorderly conduct charge to gain access. Your best bet is to not provide that ammunition. While on the subject (again IANAL), it is true that we don't have to carry official ID. It is also true, that we can not hinder an investigation. The guy may not needed to show ID, but he did have to identify himself and answer any question the officer had truthfully. Of course without video tape, we have little choice but to draw our own conclusions with so little hard facts. Personally I tend to doubt the story told by a combative personality since they do tend to embelish...

    I know it is the norm around here to rally against the evil corporation, but let me play devil's advocate. A store manager would not risk making such a serious accusation unless he thought he had reasonable belief that the guy stole something. Maybe the guy was acting suspicious, then on top of that was a total dick when walking out the door. Who knows - Maybe he was guilty. He had a partner (remember he was a passenger) so in all of the fuss his friend ditched the merchandise. Anyway, we will never know. All we will ever know is that if this guy was in fact guilty, he didn't get caught with the evidence.

    At any rate, I doubt any lawsuit resulting from this incident would be a "slamdunk" against Circuit City or the officer.

  • by torkus (1133985) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @10:14AM (#20463753)
    Exactly.

    To all the people who claim that this guy caused the situation or that he should have given in to difuse the situation:

    If the LAW says you can do X... If the LAW says your rights are Y... If the LAW says you're protected from Z...

    WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU EXPECTING HIM TO DO SOMETHING ELSE? Seriously people. The manager of the store and the cop were dead wrong and you want HIM to give in? Yes, it would have been easier - for him - but instead of giving him kudos for pushing back against people encroaching on his rights (and those of others in similar situations i'm sure) you complain about him?

    What planet do you live on?

  • by Cornflake917 (515940) on Tuesday September 04, 2007 @11:40AM (#20464839) Homepage
    The big picture? Give me break. He just refused to let a store employee look at his receipt. It sounds like he was being a smart ass to the cop as well. If you want the right to be a dick to the cops, then don't be surprised when the cops return the favor.

    Please don't compare this guy to Rosa Parks. A few seconds of your time isn't that big of a deal. It wasn't like the cop was asking him to do anything embarrassing, time consuming, or painful.

    I'm all about fighting for our freedoms, but we should pick our battles more wisely. If we focus our efforts on stupid crap like this, then other more important rights might slip through the cracks.

Nothing succeeds like success. -- Alexandre Dumas

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