Police don't keep public records of detentions? - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 07-18-2007, 04:40 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Idhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 722
A few weeks ago (July 2nd), while I was shopping at a coop grocery store, of which I'm a member and which I've gone to for several years, shopping with my backpack as I often do (with no one remarking negatively on it), an undercover policeman, accusing me of shoplifting, and marched me down to a basement locker room in the coop. He and a store manager questioned me; I explained that I was not shoplifting, that I was unaware that shopping using my backpack was against store policy, and that from now on I would use a shopping basket.



After that, it appeared that I would be released. I tried to resume shopping, removing the contents of my backpack and putting them into a shopping basket in accordance with the recommendations of the officer and store manager. To my confusion, the plainclothes officer once again assailed me, accusing me of shoplifting, and put me in handcuffs, tightening them to the point where there was sufficient pressure to leave bruising on my right wrist (although neither of us knew this at the time, and I never complained about the pain, assuming that handcuffs were just innately uncomfortable). He put me back into the locker room, handcuffing me to a bar on the wall, and sent for police. When I asked for his badge number, he refused to tell me, claiming that I would get it later. Over all, I spent perhaps an hour handcuffed to the wall.



When the police finally arrived, I explained myself to them once again, although the man who appeared to be in charge was incredulous that I would shop with my backpack, putting my groceries in, go to the checkout counter, and pay for them. It was clear, though, that I had, regardless of my intentions, committed no crime, since I had not gone past the checkout counters or attempted to leave the premises. As such, after an incident card was filled out by once of the police, who copied information from my driver's license, I was told to leave the premises, and my groceries (which I hadn't yet checked out) were taken back by the store to be placed back in their places.



I realize that, without damages, I have no real legal recourse in this matter, but I nonetheless intended on writing a letter of complaint. I would like, however, to know who the police involved were. I contacted the Chicago police department's headquarters, who said that, without an arrest (just a detention), there would be no police report, but there might be an incident card which I could get at the local district office (I'm in the 21st district). I called the local district office, who also said that there was no report. I commented that there might be an incident card, and they replied that that could be, but it was not a matter of public record.



So the police, it seems, can detain you for an hour, handcuffing you to a wall, and never have any publicly accessible report about their activities? Is this true? Or is there some way I could get records and find out who the officers who detained me were?
Idhan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 07-18-2007, 04:53 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
I don't know where you're located but I would research the Open Records Act in your state if you're in the U.S. Not sure if this would apply to an incident card. Good luck.
GhostUser is offline  
#3 Old 07-18-2007, 04:57 PM
Veggie Regular
 
social_moth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 322
If he failed to give you his badge number you could have considerable recourse. As far as I know, police are required to give you some sort of identification if you ask for it.



I commend you for talking it so well. I would be outraged.



I'm sorry that happened to you. Hopefully you will no longer frequent that store? You should lodge a complaint with the manager.



Was the officer undercover or off duty?
social_moth is offline  
#4 Old 07-18-2007, 05:28 PM
Joe
Veggie Regular
 
Joe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,660
Some things you might do are:



Contact the ACLU.



Contact your college and demand that they take action.



Contact your student union, and try to organize a boycott of the coop.



Sue the store manager and the coop.



Organize a picket of the coop.



If you go near the coop again, take a camera and try to get a picture of the undercover cop.
Joe is offline  
#5 Old 07-18-2007, 07:04 PM
Give peas a chance
 
Mojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: California, USA
Posts: 1,715
That wasn't an undercover police officer. The police don't hang out inside private businesses waiting for people to commit crimes. And a real police officer is always required to show identification, especially in situations like that.



That was a private security guard hired by the store. And not a very good one at that. It's not a crime to walk around a store with their merchandise. You might be violating their policy, but it's not a crime until you attempt to leave without paying.... and I'm sure that's what the REAL police told them.



What are you doing putting stuff in your backpack anyway? Don't you think that invites questions?

Vegan Cookbooks Illustrated

http://vegan-cookbooks-illustrated.blogspot.com/

http://pinterest.com/VeganCookbooks/

Mojo is offline  
#6 Old 07-18-2007, 07:24 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
I agree with everything Mojo said. ^^^
GhostUser is offline  
#7 Old 07-18-2007, 07:25 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Idhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 722
The guy did briefly flash me a badge, but wouldn't disclose the badge number.



The main reason for the backpack was to make sure it all fit; I rode my bicycle there, and didn't want to get so much that I'd need more bags which I wouldn't be able to ride back with.
Idhan is offline  
#8 Old 07-18-2007, 07:28 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
Don't security guards have badges that "quickly flashed" would look to an average joe, like one of a police officer? (no offence to you at all. I think the fact that he was so quick about showing it and not giving a number proves he wasnt a real cop.)
GhostUser is offline  
#9 Old 07-18-2007, 07:57 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Idhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 722
That's true. I think I'm going to file an FOIA request to the city to see if I can get the incident request card and see if that sheds a bit more light on matters.
Idhan is offline  
#10 Old 07-18-2007, 08:01 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Medesha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,101
Definitely pursue this. You were wrongly, shockingly, treated.
Medesha is offline  
#11 Old 07-18-2007, 08:08 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post

That wasn't an undercover police officer. The police don't hang out inside private businesses waiting for people to commit crimes. And a real police officer is always required to show identification, especially in situations like that.



That was a private security guard hired by the store. And not a very good one at that. It's not a crime to walk around a store with their merchandise. You might be violating their policy, but it's not a crime until you attempt to leave without paying.... and I'm sure that's what the REAL police told them.



What are you doing putting stuff in your backpack anyway? Don't you think that invites questions?



^^ I agree , there might be some recourse if he was claiming to be a cop and he wasn't
bluegold is offline  
#12 Old 07-18-2007, 08:10 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
How can you not know it's not okay to put unpaid for merchandise in your backpack?!! That's attempt to steal, and I'd of questioned you too.
kpickell is offline  
#13 Old 07-18-2007, 08:19 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Medesha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,101
At the store where I work, we have a lot of people bring in their own bags and carry around unpaid purchases in them. It's not illegal unless they try to leave the store without paying. Then again, I work at a smallish health-food store, and the staff are used to seeing it.
Medesha is offline  
#14 Old 07-18-2007, 08:25 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
Backpacks? Why not just stuff things down your pants.
kpickell is offline  
#15 Old 07-18-2007, 08:32 PM
Veggie Regular
 
abroadinSacto's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,087
Joe is right. If you're telling everything, your rights have been violated. Call the ACLU.
abroadinSacto is offline  
#16 Old 07-18-2007, 08:36 PM
Veggie Regular
 
SuperChicken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 797
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

How can you not know it's not okay to put unpaid for merchandise in your backpack?!! That's attempt to steal, and I'd of questioned you too.



You can stuff merchandise down your pants but until you leave without paying for it, it is not theft.
SuperChicken is offline  
#17 Old 07-18-2007, 08:40 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
It's attempted theft.



Point a gun at someone's head and you're not guilty of murder... but the police have every right to jump in and question you.
kpickell is offline  
#18 Old 07-18-2007, 09:01 PM
Veggie Regular
 
abroadinSacto's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,087
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

It's attempted theft.



Point a gun at someone's head and you're not guilty of murder... but the police have every right to jump in and question you.



No - the burden of proof lies in the accusor. Most cases that get challenged are thrown out if the charged wasn't trying to leave the store. That's about the second thing they taught us in loss prevention (after the fact that most thieves are employees).



That said, it is foolish to use a backpack as a shopping bag without clearing it with the store, first.
abroadinSacto is offline  
#19 Old 07-18-2007, 09:12 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
Quote:
Originally Posted by abroadinSacto View Post

No - the burden of proof lies in the accusor. Most cases that get challenged are thrown out if the charged wasn't trying to leave the store. That's about the second thing they taught us in loss prevention (after the fact that most thieves are employees).

Oh I agree.
kpickell is offline  
#20 Old 07-18-2007, 10:48 PM
Veggie Regular
 
danakscully64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 34,591
I'm sorry this happened to you. I definately agree with everyone when they say you should pursue this. I sorta understand why they thought you were shoplifting, but by law, they can't do anything until you've walked out without paying. Plus, if you weren't being sneaky about it, why did they think you'd walk off if everyone saw you putting things into your backpack? I think it's okay if you were questioned, but it shouldn't have gone past that point. The fact that you were handcuffed for no reason is against the law. I would contact the store manager and the city about it.
danakscully64 is offline  
#21 Old 07-18-2007, 11:20 PM
Veggie Regular
 
social_moth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 322
Impersonating a police officer is a crime. If you were being held against your will by a security guard who misrepresented himself, you most definitely have recourse.
social_moth is offline  
#22 Old 07-19-2007, 05:07 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 10,763
"Is this true?"



Correct. In fact, it is not allowed to be a matter of public record. At least in the US. This is (supposedly) to protect you. If it has not been sufficient evidence to arrest you, then it presumed you did nothing wrong, and the public should not be allowed to have official information showing that you did anything wrong. Arrests should not be a matter of public record either. Only convictions. Although public records of many kinds of arrests apparently are available. The police are allowed to keep private records of questioning and arrests. For minor incidents like this most likely within a year the record would be purged. Prob within a month unless the company calls them and complains about you again.



Yes police are required to give you their badge number. I don't know about private security guards. I would think yes but I don't know.



The police can detain you for no more than 24 hours, at which point they have to **** or get off the pot - formally arrest you or let you go.
soilman is offline  
#23 Old 07-19-2007, 05:19 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 10,763
"How can you not know it's not okay to put unpaid for merchandise in your backpack?!! That's attempt to steal, and I'd of questioned you too."



No it is not. In fact, many coops encourage people to bring their own bags. Young people cannot be expected to know all the nuances of unwritten laws of behavior that elderly people believe in but have not codified or clearly communicated using normal methods instead of agressive physical force methods like they used to communicate here. Unfortunately, envirommentalists and vegetarians and organic-food coop people often turn out to be more distrusting of their fellow man and less peaceful and easy-going and more stick-up-the ass than the general population.
soilman is offline  
#24 Old 07-19-2007, 05:31 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Spaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,175
I just want to reccomend that you take a picture of the bruise on your hand.

If you persue this it should be valuble evidence if you sustained an injury from it.
Spaz is offline  
#25 Old 07-19-2007, 05:51 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 10,763
"reccomend that you take a picture of the bruise on your hand.

If you persue this it should be valuble evidence"



Unless the bruise became infected and caused you doctor expenses or long-term injury, no-one is going to care about it. A superficial bruise is generally regarded as just that. People get them frequently, from bumping into table corners or whatever and forget about them unless they have diabetes or something.



If you want to pursue a lawsuit I would think that your best angle would be loss of income from being kept away from your job or self-employment.
soilman is offline  
#26 Old 07-19-2007, 06:58 AM
Veggie Regular
 
catswym's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,906
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

It's attempted theft.



Point a gun at someone's head and you're not guilty of murder... but the police have every right to jump in and question you.



it's not really attempted theft, either, until he tried to leave with it.



if they thought you were going to steal most times they would watch you and then wait for you to try to walk out with it.



and, in the city at least, people shop with their own bags all the time, for the reason the OP mentioned--because they will be walking/biking/bussing home with it and need to make sure they can carry it. i see it all the time and have never seen anyone stopped UNTIL they have tried to walk out of the store without paying.
catswym is offline  
#27 Old 07-19-2007, 07:29 AM
Veggie Regular
 
SuperChicken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 797
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

It's attempted theft.



Point a gun at someone's head and you're not guilty of murder... but the police have every right to jump in and question you.



It's not attempted theft until you try to leave without paying for it. It may be reasonable cause for search/suspicion, but it is NOT theft. Google it.
SuperChicken is offline  
#28 Old 07-19-2007, 08:17 AM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
It becomes ATTEMPTED theft when you ATTEMPT to leave the store. Though I wouldn't shop with a backpack, and would keep an eye on anyone in my store (If I had one/worked for one), that did.
GhostUser is offline  
#29 Old 07-19-2007, 01:59 PM
Veggie Regular
 
thebelovedtree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,477
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

How can you not know it's not okay to put unpaid for merchandise in your backpack?!! That's attempt to steal, and I'd of questioned you too.



I stick unpaid merchandise in my tote bags all the time and have never had a problem. I've had my reciept checked AT THE DOOR before but I've never been bothered about it while shopping.



You're not stealing until you leave the store with stuff you haven't paid for.
thebelovedtree is offline  
#30 Old 07-19-2007, 02:27 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Spaz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,175
Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

"reccomend that you take a picture of the bruise on your hand.

If you persue this it should be valuble evidence"



Unless the bruise became infected and caused you doctor expenses or long-term injury, no-one is going to care about it. A superficial bruise is generally regarded as just that. People get them frequently, from bumping into table corners or whatever and forget about them unless they have diabetes or something.



If you want to pursue a lawsuit I would think that your best angle would be loss of income from being kept away from your job or self-employment.



Can't you charge them with neglegence or something of the sort? As far as I know if you're detained for any reason they don't have a right to cause you any harm unless you are fighting back at them or something.



I would still take a picture of it just in case, especially since whoever it was was some, unexperienced security gaurd posing as a police officer.
Spaz is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off