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Man Wins Partial Victory In Circuit City Arrest 788

Posted by Zonk
from the this-is-why-online-shopping-exists dept.
JeremyDuffy writes "Michael Righi, the man who was arrested at Circuit City for failing to show his reciept/driver's license, has fought a moral battle against the city for almost a month now. The case has already been settled and he emerged victorious... sort of. It turns out that he's already spent almost $7500 and would have kept fighting them too, but because his family would have been dragged into it, he was forced to take a deal. They've expunged his record and dropped all charges, but he had to give up his right to sue the city to do it."
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Man Wins Partial Victory In Circuit City Arrest

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  • wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nishal (636649) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:31AM (#20696913)
    Guess it is cheaper this way, than for the city to actually admit it screwed up..
  • One question... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:31AM (#20696921)
    Where's the ACLU when you need 'em? I would think a case like this would be right up their alley. I know it's not as "hot" as some of the stuff they've been trying to keep to lately, but c'mon.
  • by garcia (6573) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:34AM (#20696979) Homepage
    In the days that followed a few things changed. First, I learned that the prosecutor was more interested in protecting the city against a civil law suit than she was in silencing my speech.

    And by doing so she effectively did silence you and the Brooklyn, OH police department and city will not have a blemish on their record because one of their officers acted like an uninformed dick.

    It's an unfortunate situation where you still have to pay out when you are completely in the right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:36AM (#20697023)
    Really, this guy needs to learn to pick his battles. $7500 because he didn't want to show ID to a cop. Well, I hope it was worth it. I'm sure his poor wife doesn't think so, but she's probably too afraid of getting punched in the face to say anything to him about it. Being a cop and dealing with the garbage of society every day is hard enough without people like this guy going out of his way to be a jerk.
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:38AM (#20697071) Homepage Journal
    "One more such victory and we will be undone."
    This headline needs rewriting as "Man wins Pyrrhic Victory". $7500 worse off and he didn't even get an apology. Hell, if he'd actually been shoplifting he'd have got a smaller fine than that.
  • by 91degrees (207121) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:40AM (#20697091) Journal
    He didn't show the cop his ID. That's not being a jerk. He agreed to a search when he had no obligation to do so. He gave his name. He just decided to draw the line at providing his driving licence when he wasn't driving. The cop was asking way too much.
  • Re:One question... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:40AM (#20697097)
    so they can let criminals go free.

    The city already let the first set of criminals go free, all they're doing is asking for equal treatment.
  • Re:wrong? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by djasbestos (1035410) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:41AM (#20697101)
    Well, if a city can get away with not admitting it screwed up with colorful Mooninites giving obscene gestures NOT being bombs (who'da thunk?), then another city can certainly get away with I-pulled-this-charge-out-of-my-ass-so-I-don't-look-incompetent with one cop and one "offender".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:41AM (#20697107)
    I think every city/county/state with a reasonable sized police force needs to have citizen review boards with the power to punish/fire officers. It's the ultimate solution.

    It will solve many problems and make cops stop and think before doing something stupid - especially with all the news lately about abuses of power and authority.

    Internal reviews are useless and don't change a thing. If some kind of "policing for police" isn't done soon, it's only going to get much worse.

  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:42AM (#20697129)
    we now call freedom fighters 'idoits'?

    the guy had balls to stand up for WHAT IS RIGHT and you criticize him for doing what is right over a few dollars (that won't matter in a couple of years)?

    when we put money and personal comfort up against all other Rights of society, we are phucked, truly.

    I'm proud of that guy. I would call him 'friend' if I knew him.
  • Re:One question... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Duffy13 (1135411) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:47AM (#20697205)
    Separate incidents (by almost 5 months), one of which did not end with a 6 on 1 beating until the victim was unconscious.
  • by Exp315 (851386) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:47AM (#20697227)
    Thank you Michael Righi for attempting to stick up for everyone's rights. But unfortunately the real lesson that everyone who reads this story will learn is that you don't really have any rights, you should just shut up and comply with authority if you don't want to be punished. Be honest now, if you find yourself in a similar situation and you think back on this story, what will you really do?
  • by rob1980 (941751) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:47AM (#20697229)
    The guy spent $7500 on the case and forfeited the right to pursue further legal action against the city for being wrongfully arrested, but hey at least his criminal record is clean now? His record should have been clean the whole time, so there's no victory there either...
  • Victory? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pcgamez (40751) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:50AM (#20697271)
    I fail to see where the victory is in this. The only thing he gained was that the charges were dropped. Considering that the charges were baseless to begin with, that is not much. On the other hand, the city won by making him pay $10k to fight a baseless charge and by getting away with no punishment for the city or the officer involved. Seems to be a weak victory to me...
  • Re:One question... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:50AM (#20697273)
    Hanging a noose in a tree, while despicable, is not a crime. However, assault is a crime. Unequal incidents, unequal treatment. It's really that simple. This is just another case of the Justice Brothers Jackson and Sharpton trolling America for opportunities to be in front of a camera. Why doesn't Sharpton apologize for the Tawana Brawley incident, or to the Duke lacrosse team?
  • Re:hey folks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taustin (171655) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:54AM (#20697339) Homepage Journal
    You may be asked for your receipt. You cannot be forced to show it. That's the law. The store employees should be in jail for assault and unlawful imprisonment. What the cop did was not only not allowed by law, but specifcially prohibited by state law. He belongs in prison. But instead, people like you have made it absolutely clear that he will not be punished in any way for abusing his authority.

    You, personally, are what's wrong with the world today.
  • Re:One question... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:55AM (#20697349)
    It's somewhat humorous, and rather sad, that whenever your sort wants to attack the ACLU without exposing your own authoritarian leanings... all you can do is criticize them for not doing enough.

    Looking through your other posts, you're obviously no friend of civil liberties. A cursory glance shows you arguing in favor trial-free detention of non-Americans. Why your thinly veiled propaganda gets modded up is a mystery to me.

    "I know it's not as "hot" as some of the stuff they've been trying to keep to lately, but c'mon."

    What a piss-poor attempt at slander. You try to pass off things like the right to a trial, or the right not to be tortured, as "hot" issues -- as if they're not serious. What else can be said?
  • Re:Being anal (Score:3, Insightful)

    by berashith (222128) on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:57AM (#20697389)
    This was a resistance to a random person walking up to you and asking you to prove that what you are holding is yours. The property was his after the purchase, and the store has zero rights to challenge him. He offered to let them officially charge him and to call the police, or let him go. They did neither. At that point, the store has broken the law and is falsely imprisoning this man. The fact the the police then arrested him for calling them is a huge problem.

    I really hope that there aren't many people like you who think that random searches by other citizens, and false imprisonment is OK. Standing up for your own rights under the law is far from a waste of time. If you do not protect your own freedom, you will not have any.
  • Screw you, coward (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @11:59AM (#20697437) Journal
    The cops have no right to ask for our papers. We are citizens, not sheep. Insinuating that the man beats his wife because he refused an unlawful order from the police is beyond low.
  • by FatSean (18753) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:00PM (#20697455) Homepage Journal
    No, please stop apologizing for bigots. Would you feel the same way if the white kids had hung up swastikas and some jewish kids had beaten up the ring-leader? Would those jewish kids deserve 'attempted murder' when the bigot walked out of the hospitol hours later with less damage than most people involved in a car crash?

  • He loses (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nate nice (672391) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:01PM (#20697471) Journal
    They dropped the charges, after $7000.00 in fees, headaches for his parents and a waste of civil resources in a DA, judge and officer.

    And what did he end up doing? He admitted the officer did nothing wrong (by virtue of signing his agreement, he admits this) and a lawyer made some money off of him. Now he's parading around like he's a champion. He's not. He's a loser.

    The cop and all his buddies are probably laughing about this one and they all clearly know his name, car, etc. He will catch no breaks with law enforcement anywhere around that place. The courts know he's a trouble maker and he won't catch any breaks with them. There's quite a few agencies waiting to nail him.

    His family was put through all types of stress and duress and were desperate enough to call him late at night and tell him to stop being a jerk. His family is likely embarrassed their son and brother is a borderline lunatic obsessed with unimportant civil law.

    I sympathize with the kid who was tazered. The police used unneeded force to punish someone when it isn't the cops jobs to punish people. This guy though got what he deserved: A $7000.00 bill, lots of wasted time, stressed out and humiliated family and a fat target on his ass for cops and courts to nail one day.
  • I Salute Him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ykswordnab.ddot)> on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:01PM (#20697477) Homepage Journal
    Ya know, I had in my head that this guy was some sort of a punk just looking for attention or money. Having read his blog about the case, I must admit that I am thoroughly impressed with this man and his principaled stand. I was blown away by the calm but strong tone of his wrap up, and his desire to put his family first, in the end. For this right winger, this man is everything that there is to be admired about the left wing, and the United States is better off for his citizen ship.
  • Re:wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 (716938) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:02PM (#20697503)
    Why provide a money pit for Lawyers to wallow in? The true victory is this: the name of the store is "Circuit City" make a note of that "Circuit City". Got that? Now you out there, oh slash dot geek buing public: know the name of this -soon-to-hurt-badly retailer and...... DO NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS! go to PC Club or Best Buy or whatever but shop ELSEWHERE. -THAT is the true way to get back at this sort of situation.
  • by Chas (5144) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:03PM (#20697519) Homepage Journal
    It's great to yell and scream about your rights.

    It's great to be able to have the ready cash to spend to help defend your rights when they're infringed upon.

    Unfortunately, there are other pain-points that can be hit by authorities to make you comply with their wishes.

    Lengthy court battles are the root of it. Sure, YOU may not mind taking all that time off work, and spending all that money.

    But what about the people you have to drag into it (witnesses, family, etc)?

    Moreover, they rely on apathy.

    At the time, the anger and outrage are hot enough to barbecue whole cattle.

    But, as time goes on, that anger cools. And it becomes harder and harder to keep oneself motivated.

    The authorities know this. And time is on their side, ESPECIALLY since they've got the deep pockets to back it up.
  • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:05PM (#20697567) Journal
    See, this is why the bad guys will always win. Because the good guys care and have something to lose. The bad guys don't. This is how rogues operate. So, the guy "won" a tiny victory. Society lost to malignant authority.
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:06PM (#20697575)

    He isn't a freedom fighter. In fact, he lost one of his own freedoms in the process. Now if the same incident happens again, he can't sue the city.


    Checking the PDF version of the release [michaelrighi.com] that he uploaded, it specifically mentions that incident. It also includes some vague "anything before this" text. Likely to make sure all legal loopholes are closed. (For example, if Righi claimed that the officer had verbally threatened him with arrest the previous day.) It doesn't, however, say anything about subsequent incidents. Even if the same officer were to arrest him outside of the same Circuit City under similar circumstances in the future, this agreement wouldn't prevent him from suing the city.
  • by nuzak (959558) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:06PM (#20697581) Journal
    > When the police show up and ask you to leave, leave. Don't resist arrest.

    And if he does resist arrest, taser him over and over. Make sure you order him to stand up, at the same time you're leaning on him, especially since the function of tasers is to make your muscles not obey you.

    It's not the jackbooted thugs that bother me so much as their cheerleaders.
  • interesting (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:08PM (#20697613)
    I understand his argument, but I wonder if the police are allowed to ask for identification if you call them. He called the police, I wonder if that makes the circumstances any different. I understand this is to keep people from being harassed, but if you call the police out it seems reasonable that they would need to be able to document their call and know for sure whom called them out.
  • by adam1234 (696497) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:11PM (#20697681)

    Would you feel the same way if the white kids had hung up swastikas and some jewish kids had beaten up the ring-leader?
    Yes.

    Would those jewish kids deserve 'attempted murder' when the bigot walked out of the hospitol hours later with less damage than most people involved in a car crash?
    Yes.
  • by sqlrob (173498) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:14PM (#20697723)
    If "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is valid when prosecuting, then the police damn well should know every one on the books.
  • are you serious? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [erauqssemitelcric]> on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:16PM (#20697751) Homepage Journal
    do you know what fascism is?

    what kind of paranoid hysterical low iq twit mistakes fascism for a rent a cop asking for a receipt?

    what the hell is wrong with you?
  • Re:wrong? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:17PM (#20697773) Journal
    Better for the city though. Since cities aren't operating on a for-profit basis, a big payout either comes from increased taxes or cuts in services. The people who would ultimately pay for it didn't have anything to do with this apart from electing the guy who hired the guy who hired the guy who screwed up.
  • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:18PM (#20697799)
    Especially since it involves a guy who was basically being a prick.

    Ya, what an asshole, standing up for his rights against a cop that BROKE THE LAW or a store that does the same.
  • by archen (447353) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:32PM (#20698029)
    But unfortunately the real lesson that everyone who reads this story will learn is that you don't really have any rights, you should just shut up and comply with authority if you don't want to be punished.

    You should thank him for that too. Believe me, when you end up severely fucked by the government it's always better not to get that lesson first hand. No one is going to stick up for you. No amount of logic will assist you. There is nothing you can do to fight the system because you're fighting the system WITHIN the system itself. It sucks that this is reality, but things could honestly be worse, so I suppose there is that much to be thankful for. If someone could have shown this guy that he would waste $7500 and his time for nothing, then perhaps he would appreciate that too. Not happily of course, but I'd rather be unhappy with an extra $7500.
  • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:36PM (#20698095)
    First off, it's anyones right to be a bigot. After reading about this story it looks like to me that many in that, both black and white, are bigots. The racial tensions there have been growing for a long time.

    With that said, the racial tensions need to be ignored when looking at the current case. Someone was beaten by 6 others. That was a crime and those 6 others should be charged. Supporting the 6 who did the beating makes no sense to me. Are we saying it's okay to beat down someone? Is vigilante justice the way to go now? Does not liking a certain group of people for whatever reason give them the right to come and beat that person down?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:36PM (#20698101)
    If you're so into the obedient law, are you promoting fascism? You want a police state where every bend of the law is enforced to the extreme? Is this what you're asking for? You want a fascist state?

    Nice strawman.
  • by Fallingcow (213461) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:36PM (#20698115) Homepage
    Precisely.

    It's my responsibility to know what I can't do.

    Therefore it is the police's responsibility to know what they can't fucking arrest me for, and the cop's ass should be on the line if they get it wrong. Mine certainly is if I fail in my duty, since the result is a cop arresting me, probably knocking me around a bit in the process, and backing their authority with deadly force. That's hardly trivial, so misapplication of this kind of force should be severely punished. Fine the fuckers, and fire them then throw their asses in jail if they do it repeatedly.
  • by Wavicle (181176) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:37PM (#20698127)
    if this person is not cooperating then they have something to hide.

    Your post makes the baby 5th amendment cry.
  • Re:One question... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:38PM (#20698143)
    What's "hypocrite" about Larry Craig? Did he ask the undercover officer to (same-sex) marry him?

    Regardless of whether or not not supporting homosexual marriage is the same as being against homosexuality, his tough-on-crime stance and votes have been major players in what got him into this arrest, as well as against his uphill battle to reverse his guilty plea (the same faced by many, many other people who may be innocent but plea bargained rather than facing a court case with a questionable outcome).
  • by spyrochaete (707033) <spyrochaete@NOspAm.hyppy.zapto.org> on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:39PM (#20698179) Homepage Journal
    He was on their property when he was asked to show his receipt, but the receipt and the merchandise were his property at that point. Then a manager and an employee followed him outside the store and physically detained the car he was a passenger in.

    A store has a right to protect its property and eject people from its premises. They have no rights concerning someone else's property nor their mobility. They should have written down his license plate number and let the police do the policing.
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:42PM (#20698219)
    You are not obligated to show your receipt. They can, perhaps, make showing your receipt as you leave a condition of your entering the store and shopping there, if they inform you before the fact and not after the fact. Not only are you not obligated to show your receipt, but they cannot prevent you from leaving for doing so.

    They do have a right to stop shoplifting. For your protection, this right does not include detaining anyone they think might be shoplifting. If they observe you shoplifting (which requires observing the person select the item, conceal the item, and leave the store without paying), they can stop you long enough to resolve the situation and summon the police. In some states, this action has limited liability; in others, the detaining person is making a citizen's arrest and has greater liability.

    You may not think it bears much relation to fascism, but the generalization is that private entities (businesses) are permitted to detain citizens on suspicion of wrongdoing based on arbitrary criteria.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:47PM (#20698295)

    He must have a lot of time on his hands if he can pick small fights like this just to make a statement.

    Saying: "He must have a lot of time on his hands". Translation: "I don't approve of how you spend your time."

    Saying: "You've gotta pick your battles". Translation: "I've gotta pick your battles."

    Talk about "snobbish".

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:50PM (#20698333)
    The problem is when a beating gets you attempted 2nd degree murder and 20 years in jail, while someone pulling a shotgun on you.... gets to charge the other person with theft of said shotgun.

    The problem is the disparate set of charges that are leveled when a white person commits a crime and when a black person commits a crime.
  • by blueg3 (192743) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:52PM (#20698379)
    No, while you are on their property, they are entitled to inspect stuff. If you don't want them to, don't go into the store -- their intent to inspect your bag is prominently posted at the entrance.

    Now, you can refuse whatever search you find unreasonable, of course (theirs was not unreasonable, IMO). In that case they can try to prevent you from leaving their property (store, parking lot) -- see Citizen Arrest, and take all responsibility for the wrongful arrest.


    Incorrect. They do not have the right to search individuals. They do have the right to ask you to leave the premesis. They're quite free to ask you to be searched or leave. They cannot, however, decide to search you after you have entered and done business there and attempt to detain you or take your possessions after you've left the premesis.

    They did detain him, and his response was to call the police to be freed from unlawful arrest. (There's substantial documentation on what information is necessary to make lawful arrest for shoplifting.)

    Or they can call police, who -- armed with the probable cause presented by the store -- will inspect your bag for them... Upon inspection they can either let you go, or try to inconvenience you for inconveniencing them. There are many laws in their stinky books to do that. The one used by these cops -- "interfering with official business" is one example. "Disturbing peace" is another, and it can be topped with "resisting arrest" at the first word of your indignant objection.

    Aah, but not showing a receipt or refusing a search is not probable cause. Someone leaving the store without submitting to a search is evidence for nothing, and the police are required to treat it as such.
  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Friday September 21, 2007 @12:55PM (#20698447) Journal
    Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law. If the cop was ignorant of the law and where the law stood, he could have radioed in and asked.

    I would add that it is his job to know the law and to be able to notify you of laws you have broken before/while detaining you. As such, if he is unable to notify you of the laws you have violated then he is negligent in his duties and has insufficient training to hold such a position of authority.
  • Something to hide (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tkrotchko (124118) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:04PM (#20698571) Homepage
    "if this person is not cooperating then they have something to hide"

    If a person replies as AC, does that mean they have something to hide? Or does it mean that there's an expectation of privacy in going about your business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:05PM (#20698593)
    how is it a loss if it has people discussing it now?
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:06PM (#20698613)

    maybe, gee, i dunno, i'm going to go way out on a limb here: HE COULD HAVE JUST SHOWED THE RECIPT AND HAD A NICE DAY

    If the guy feels that it's a fight that's worth having, then it is. Sure it would be easier to show his receipt and have no hassle. But sometimes people decide that this time it's worth it to put forth the effort and not do the easiest thing.

    Here's an example: There's a guy on Slashdot who thinks that the whole Circuit City thing was excessively escalated by some guy just basically being a jerk. So he takes the time to post that opinion. Others disagree, so he responds, reiterating his opinion, when it would have been just as easy --easier, really -- to leave it at that. But he continues the argument anyway. Why doesn't he just forget about it and let them have the last word? It would be easier, sure, but I think that this is an issue that this Slashdot guy feels strongly enough about that he's willing to put up a fight over it, even knowing that no one will "win" that argument.

  • Re:wrong? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:10PM (#20698661) Journal
    You know what would have been REALLY cheap, though?

    "Receipt? Oh yeah, here you go. Check ya later."
  • by LanMan04 (790429) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:11PM (#20698683)

    This guy though got what he deserved: A $7000.00 bill, lots of wasted time, stressed out and humiliated family and a fat target on his ass for cops and courts to nail one day.
    The guy lost, but I certainly don't think he deserved it, do you? Since when is standing up for your rights a bad thing deserving of punishment? I guess you just want all us citizens to be quiet and roll over, eh? :/
  • Re:wrong? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:13PM (#20698701)
    The point was to set a legal precedent, not to get a huge payout from the city. And what's your point, that governments shouldn't be responsible to their citizens becuase it's ultimately the citizens who pay? You're technically right, but governments are still liable for damages.. when you entrust a police force with weapons and right to assert force, there need to be strong penalties for them violating your rights. It's important for trust in the police to exist for citizens to be confident that if their rights are violated then they're entitled to huge amounts of money. The mechanics of where it comes from is irrelevant, it's a matter of rights, and the psychology of societies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:17PM (#20698765)
    Life isn't black and white, it's a series of greys. Just because you don't like the ACLU's position on firearms, shouldn't automatically mean "fuck the ACLU". They do a lot of good.
  • Re:wrong? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e4g4 (533831) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:31PM (#20698961)
    An *incident* maybe, but a massive anti-terror/bomb-squad response? I don't think that's what they intended at all. I think far more likely they wanted to draw the ire (and thereby some free publicity on say, Fox News) of people who found the middle finger offensive.
  • by ultranova (717540) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:38PM (#20699037)

    Moral of the story, freakin cooperate with the police or you'll get tasered. Doesn't matter if you're guilty or not. Not cooperating makes you look guilty.

    Another moral of the story: insecure people wearing an uniform because it gives them a sense of power will fly off the handle if they feel their authority is in any way challenged. It isn't the question of being suspicious, it's the question of threatening the policeman's delusions of grandeur.

  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:47PM (#20699181) Journal
    The point is that we should not have to justify ourselves to anyone, period. The police are not our masters, the government is not our master. We are each, our own master; this is what Liberty means. By requiring us to present any sort of papers or justification for us to be somewhere where we are allowed to be (especially a public place), the government and specifically the police are attempting to proclaim superiority over us. This is absolutely wrong. I applaud Michael Righi for taking a stand and saying, "no." It is sad that he has been dragged through this ordeal. It is sad that, in order to defend his rights as a human being, he was forced to pay out a considerable sum and that his family was so put upon; but this is the price of freedom.
    I find it sad that we have become so timid, in this country, that we are willing to tolerate this type of activity by the police. While the officer in question might have thought himself justified in making such a demand, and then enforced his wrongheaded belief with the authority we have granted him , he was wrong and should be called to account for it. We have given the police special powers, because it is necessary for them to do their job. I realize it is a very hard and thankless job; it does not pay well, and is often looked upon with scorn. But, that is something which must be accepted when a person chooses to become a police officer. Along with that, there must come an added level of responsibility to use the powers granted by the people, in an appropriate fashion. Any abuse of those powers, no matter how slight, must be punished. This is were we, as a society, are failing to uphold our rights, and will lose them eventually; we not only allow abuses such as these to go unpunished, we have people who encourage it. The AC who posted the idiocy of, "Why not cooperate?" is complicit is the destruction of our rights. He would give over his personal sovereignty to the police because it is easier. Freedom and Liberty are not easy, they are hard, but they are worth the constant struggle. He may think that having the police rule his life will make him safer, but time and again history has shown us that this is not the case. Governments given absolute sovereignty over their citizens do not long remain benign, and usually lead to tyranny and abuses far greater than the constant annoyance of crime.
    Liberty requires that each of us take responsibility for ourselves. This includes accepting a certain level of risk from criminals who may abuse their freedom. This means that you will be responsible for protecting and caring for yourself. In then end, you must ask yourself whether it is better to die on your feet or live on your knees.
    Patrick Henry said it best:
    I know not what course others make take, but as for me: give me Liberty, or give me death.
  • by antibryce (124264) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:47PM (#20699185)
    I agree with pretty much everything you've said, but I wanted to add some facts about Mychael Bell (one of the teens who garnered the most initial support due to his being a good football player.) Not only was he on probation for a previous violent assault, he committed 3 other violent crimes (two of them assaults, one a robbery of some kind) while on probation. All of this was factored in for the criminal case.

    Simply because of that I don't approve of him being released. He's clearly a violent person and the fact that he's a violent person living in a town with racists shouldn't affect his sentence in any way.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday September 21, 2007 @01:51PM (#20699261)
    It takes a 'rich kid' to bring things like this to the front more often than not.

    A 'poor kid' would have never had the time/resources to fight this, he would have forked over his ID, and took it because he had to. It takes someone who has the resources to take one for the little guy so that future people won't get the same treatment. The poor kid has to worry about paying for his food/rent and can't afford to spend time defending his rights. Sadly, that's just the way it is.

    Also note that this 'rich kid' had to cut it short because he wasn't rich enough to let it all play out. That should be telling.
  • Mod this up. Fantastically put.
  • by calhawk (921611) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:17PM (#20699747)
    Don't know if this has been pointed out yet, but Mr. Righi has written that people who question his motivation should read The Fountainhead. That's all I needed to know about his thought process... Anyone who accepts that book as a serious philosophical treatise isn't a very deep thinker and most likely just wants an excuse to go on an ego trip.

    If Righi really wants to have more Howard Roarks in the world he should have dragged this whole thing out to the bitter end, family be damned. After all, what's more Romantic and Randian than being martyred for what you believe? Even if what you believe is only that you shouldn't take two seconds to show your receipt at Circuit City after buying a Wii game. Actually, I hear that was originally what Rand was going to write about in The Fountainhead, but her publisher suggested she make it about architects instead...
  • by GuyverDH (232921) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:28PM (#20699931)
    I guess it's a good idea that you posted as AC.

    Any abuse of police powers should be fought, period.
    Complacency is the first step to losing the rights that our ancestors fought, bled and died for. Do you want to be the one to tell good old uncle GW (George Washington, not the other asshats) that you pissed away everything that all those men and women died for?
  • Re:I Salute Him (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scudsucker (17617) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:48PM (#20700303) Homepage Journal
    I always found it amazing how much conservatives hate an organization dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights.
  • Re:One question... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khaed (544779) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:51PM (#20700361)
    Psst -- the former incidents do not excuse a 6 on 1 beating. The guy was not the one who put up the nooses, nor did he point a gun at anyone. The guy who pointed the gun, as far as I can tell, was not even a student at the school. It should also be noted that one of the six had prior arrests for violent crimes, BEFORE Sept 1.

    So really, we have three incidents:

    Racist(s) put nooses on tree.

    Idiot Racist points gun at people.

    Six thugs beat up one guy, and at least one has a history.

    Then they try and justify their beating of someone UNINVOLVED in the previous two (by all evidence) because of the previous two.

    If six white kids beat up a black kid, people would call it a hate crime -- ESPECIALLY if there was some anti-white "prank" at school three months before. It would be presented as "White kids, angered by anti-white display, beat unrelated black kid."

    Instead, it's "Their poor feelings were hurt, so these six black kids ganged up on some random white kid, and that's okay, because there was some racism three months before!"
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Friday September 21, 2007 @02:57PM (#20700479) Homepage Journal
    Oh, that's pure fucking genius. Do some reading on lynchings in the south where black men who were accused of kissing/whistling white women were killed to see how that bullshit would work out. How many Americans looking vaguely Arabish would have been killed in the fall of 2001? How many kids of Asian descent would have been shot at at Virginia Tech? And on the flip side, if everyone is responsible for their own defense, are the old and disabled going to be told to go fuck themselves?
  • by Scudsucker (17617) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:05PM (#20700611) Homepage Journal
    While normally I'll argue that unless an officer is a former lawyer, it is damn near impossible for an officer to know the application of every law.

    This isn't about some obscure legal code, it's about when he can and cannot ask for ID. Since that pertains to his job just a little bit, he deserves no slack whatsoever.
  • by Jinjuku (762364) on Friday September 21, 2007 @03:55PM (#20701459)
    Dude, you made the actual crux of the matter and don't even realize it: A person went to jail, was arrested , booked, fingerprinted all because he didn't feel like being called a criminal that day by a CORPORATION!?
    He didn't show someone a receipt or open his bag? Now that is fucked up.

    Are you kidding me? You actually don't get it? How thick can you be? Simply amazing.
  • Re:wrong? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:05PM (#20701633) Journal
    If they'd attached them to the signs of willing shop owners, it wouldn't have been a problem. As evidenced by the fact that the shops they placed them in weren't a problem. If they'd put it on a Billboard, they might've pissed off the prudish, but the prudes would just complain and possibly litigate. They wouldn't cause city wide overcaution induced traffic.

    But when they put them in a hard to access location on a freeway support, they went way over the line. The only way to handle that is to shutdown traffic on the affected segment (which requires closing off lanes quite far away and routing traffic through already crowded surface streets for just ONE device) and treat it with caution until it is determined to be harmless.

    They had the option, at any time before there was a panic, to inform town officials or emergency responders of the nature of the devices. The best time would've been before placing them. The next best time would be right as soon as they started a commotion. The worst time was what they chose: wait until the city was in full panic mode and there was no way to deny their involvement.

    No, their choice of placement, and their actions leading up to and following the event are strong evidence of their intent to cause national headline inducing panic in at least one city. Boston took the bait. Not a proud moment for Boston, but by no means a responsibility absolving level of overreaction.
  • Re:Ethical? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ruggerboy (553525) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:15PM (#20701875)
    He agreed not to sue the city, but he should still file a complaint with the attorney ethics board/grievance committee against the prosecutor. The prosecutor should be reprimanded/suspended from the bar for strong-arming a man she knew committed no crime.
  • Re:He loses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by izomiac (815208) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:18PM (#20701955) Homepage
    Interesting, while I do agree the tazering shouldn't have happened, I don't really feel any sympathy for the kid. He set out to be malicious and resisted the police, plus I can't see what he was trying to accomplish. As for this case, this guy didn't do anything illegal, but refused to let the police and circuit city break the law. Maybe it's just me, but I care a lot more about the permanent loss of "unimportant civil" liberties than someone suffering unnecessary but temporary pain.
  • by DavidTC (10147) <slas45dxsvadiv,vadiv&neverbox,com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:28PM (#20702227) Homepage

    It is to prove that employees are honest. Employees can't just walk out of the front door of a store with goods, and, trust me, the back is usually tightly locked up, someone goes out back there and they set off alarms.

    Employee theft mainly happens by employees not ringing things up. You show up at the register with a PS3 and three games, and your drinking buddy, who runs the register, doesn't scan the PS3.

    I'm not saying anything about the legality of them checking the register, but it's not to stop the absurd idea of you trying to shoplift somehow via the shopping bag. It's to make sure that if you have eight items in your bag, you have eight items on your receipt, and the cashier didn't 'forget' to scan one of them.

    However, there are plenty of non-invasive ways to do the same check. They almost always have cameras pointed at the register. If they're missing some PS3s, they just need to pull up the camera on the PS3s, wait until one of them disappears, and then see when it shows up at the register. And then pull up that transaction and see if there's a PS3 on it.

    See, the joke is they don't need to catch the people in real time. It's their employees who are doing the stealing, and they can have the police there ready to arrest them when they show up for work.

    The guy who walked out with the thing is completely unimportant. Give the video to the police when you turn the employee in, they'll quickly locate the co-conspirator and charge him.

    But the problem is that my method would actually take some modest skill, whereas someone standing at the door takes no skill at all. They don't even have to check the receipt actually, they just have to pretend to do so and the plan will be foiled when first conceived.

  • by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:41PM (#20702581) Journal
    The police are there to investigate crimes after they happen, arrest those responsible and turn them over to the courts to be tried for breaking the law. They cannot, and do not protect individuals. It borders on insanity to believe that they can. The police do not have the resources to have an officer everywhere at once, always ready to stop every crime. There is no way to do so unless you deputize half of society to watch the other half, and then never let them sleep. There will will be times in every normal person's life where they are outside of the direct protection of the police. At these time, such a person must be responsible for their own well being.
    While I believe that I am responsible for protecting myself and my family, it is quite possible that I will fail. Moreover, if I shoot someone and claim self-defense, who is to say that I am not lying? The crime (presumably either an assault on me, or a murder and lie on my part) needs to be investigated. If I am lying, I need to be arrested and held to account for the murder. This is where the police come in. They are there to pick up the pieces afterward and determine whether or not they fit together. This is the reason we give them the power to question people, to arrest suspects and to search private property under the oversight of the courts, it would be impossible to investigate crimes otherwise.
    A large part of the problem is that we, as a society, are starting to expect the police to prevent crime. They cannot reasonably do this, but they try. The problem is that, in order to do so, they are engaging in behaviors which run counter to a free society. The current case being just one example. This is why it is important for us free citizens to accept the responsibility of living in a free society, and the dangers which come with it. We need to let the police do their real job, investigating crimes, and quit trying to get them to be our personal bodyguards.
    The goal is not anarchy, it is a society and government which respects the liberty of each individual. And there is a place for the police, it is just not as protectors, but investigators.
  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000 @ y a h o o . com> on Friday September 21, 2007 @04:57PM (#20702965)

    Yes, with anarchy, ie without a ruler or rulers. Instead each person is sovereign.

    Falcon
  • And sadly, it's extremely typical of how minor criminal charges are handled. The first line is usually the cop, whose job amounts to little more than hired muscle for the state; entrance requirements in terms of education are pretty low in most areas, and cops barely understand the law themselves, instead adopting an attitude of "arrest first and let the courts sort it out later".

    Combine this with absolutely zero options or oversight from the citizenry and you already have a recipe for disaster.

    A cop will therefore hassle a citizen based on a combination of hazy understanding of the law, bad mood, and whether or not he approves of the citizen's attitude. The charge is usually, in the grand scheme of things, fairly minor, but enough to cause a serious headache for the victim. For many things, an arrest will be involved, along with jailtime, bond money, and the embarassment of having to call friends and family to get you out, not to mention the retrieval of whatever confiscated or impounded property -- and the money involved in getting that back.

    This is justice in America.

    Your court date will roll around and you'll plead not guilty. A trial date will be set, meaning you'll have to schedule your life around that, and try to get a lawyer to help. The average person isn't expected to fully understand the law, because it's so nuanced and convoluted, which is why defense attorneys with years of specialized training exist. The average person is expected to fully abide by the law he doesn't understand, though, which may suggest a problem with the system, but nobody will question it during this process.

    On your trial date you'll speak to some self-important prosecutor or solicitor who acts on behalf of the government. He'll treat your minor case like it's the crime of the century. Depending on your demeanor he may offer a deal of some sort, which usually entails you pleading guilty to a somewhat lessor offense. What he probably won't tell you is that if you reject this offer, and make him go through the hassle of an actual trial, he'll push for the maximum possible punishment the law allows, regardless of any circumstances up to that point.

    This is justice in America.

    If you take his deal, you've just pleaded guilty to an offense you may not have even committed, and is probably something so stupid no one should care even if you did do it, but you're intimidated into the plea by his legal jargon and the fact that, as an average Joe, you don't have the time, money, or resources devoted to fighting it. You'll pay a few hundred dollars in fines and be on your way, with an arrest record, a criminal history, and completely out the hundreds you spent for the bond, the fine, the impound, the attorney, and anything else. The state will pat itself on the back for a job well done for cleaning up the mean streets of dangerous scum like you.

    If you don't take his deal you'll be put on trial. For minor offenses you may not even get a jury of twelve average Joes who will sympathize with you; the state has found a loophole and called this an "administrative matter", meaning you'll get tried by a judge, who will claim to be impartial but is on the state's payroll and has a vested interest in making sure things turn out in the state's favor, not to mention his clouded view of every person who appears before him as a criminal.

    The judge will ignore everything you say, and your attorney will be mostly powerless since the time for deal-making is over and all he can do is try to object to the prosection's evidence. There will be little evidence to which he can object, though, since for most minor offenses there aren't any significant witnesses or material bits of evidence. Nothing but the policeman's word and charge on the books, often, and this will be taken as wholly sufficient to pronounce you guilty, whereupon you'll pay a huge fine, face possible jail time, and be in worse shape than you had you just meekly submitted instead of trying to assert your rig
  • by Wavicle (181176) on Friday September 21, 2007 @07:33PM (#20705799)
    There's nothing that states explicitly or otherwise that another person, viz. a juror, can't weigh this unwillingness against them.

    There are many things the constitution doesn't explicitly state. That's what we have the judiciary for. They interpret the law. Griffin v. California was the case that determined the prosecution may not use your refusal to take the stand against you. The supreme court relied on their interpretation of the fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendments to arrive at this opinion.

    I know you fancy yourself as smarter than the judiciary and the fact that the Constitution article III section 2 gives the supreme court appellate jurisdiction for all cases tried is insignificant next to your formidable intelligence in all constitutional matters. But still, the Supreme Court interprets the fifth in such a way that lack of testimony may not be used as evidence and the Constitution we live by says their opinion counts, yours not so much.

    Kudos to the Judge, who was clearly better versed in the law than you.

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