Walmart rent-a-cop shoots and kills shoplifter.

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posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by Xcathdra
He was not a security officer.. He was a deputy sheriff working security at walmart and was in full police uniform.


Cath - I know this is a standard practice in law enforcement circles. Private companies in some case such as concerts and special events actually contract with the local law enforcement for their presence at their venues. Both the organization and the law enforcement officers benefit.

Presumably the taxpayers benefit as well since the cost of the duties that would likely need to be provided regardless is funded by the private entity at (usually) the overtime rate.

I am not going to change it with my fundamental disagreement to the practice but I think it is a dubious one. In my opinion, it places the LEO in a conflict of interest situation. They are paid to preserve the peace and enforce law by the taxpayers to the benefit of the general public and as such are granted by a commission or an oath special status under the law. They are a protected category of person upon whom crimes committed (such as assault etc.) have a special status.

The conflict comes when they are being paid by a private organization to protect that private interest’s property and to preserve order at their venues under presumably sometimes different rules than the law of the land.

For example - search and seizure, sure it’s a private venue so if you want to enter you have to consent to the bag search. I have no problem with this issue thus far.

However, the difference is striking to me in some specific instances... If someone attempts to enter a venue with private security who are not LEO's and has in their possession of say an illegal substance (weapon, whatever).

The private security guard can indeed call an LEO and report the crime but they have no authority to detain the person forcibly - and if they do they are committing a crime themselves.

A LEO must have probable cause to conduct a search (or consent) since the venue requires consent to enter it is then implied and the citizen may or may not given the circumstances know the person is a LEO or some hired guard. Now the bonehead attempt to take an illegal substance into a venue is not just grounds for non-entry it is a crime, witnessed by a LEO.

There are varying degrees of this practice like the one here where the Deputy was in uniform and the idiot should be real clear he is an LEO.

However, there are some moonlighting gigs like a bouncer say which the LEO might not be in uniform but as an off duty LEO he still has all the rights and responsibilities on one (and also the special status under the law). Now here say in breaking up a bar fight the act of striking a bouncer would maybe result in an assault charge (having preformed these duties and been struck quite often as a result usually it’s not reported just cause its a hassle) is now striking a law enforcement officer and probably later resisting arrest and a whole slew of other things.

IMO a LEO who wants to make some extra cash by moonlighting as security should not in that situation have the same status or authority since he is no longer serving in the neutral role of serving the public (at their expense) but is in effect the paid enforcer for a private corporation or person's desires/rules.

Just my two rubbles. It won't go away - I just think it is a dubious practice and in effect an abuse of the position in using one's special status and arrest powers to get employment with a private company.

Want to moolight fine, everyone can use extra money. However, they shold have to give up thier special status since they are no longer serving the public but being paid to enforce corperate policy.
edit on 13/12/2012 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 04:11 PM
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Originally posted by Golf66
They are a protected category of person upon whom crimes committed (such as assault etc.) have a special status.
Not completely accurate.. We are protected from civil / criminal charges if our actions are within the laws / Supreme Court rulings. As an example law enforcement can use force in order to do our duty. However the Supreme Court has stated once the threat diminishes, the use of force must as well or we are violating a persons consitutional rights.

We are immune from civil lawsuits unless our actions violate state law OR departmental policy (even if our actions are within the law).



Originally posted by Golf66
The conflict comes when they are being paid by a private organization to protect that private interest’s property and to preserve order at their venues under presumably sometimes different rules than the law of the land.
If a person shoplifts from walmart they have committed a crime, regardless if the person stopping them are security or law enforcement. In the end the store is the determining factor on whether charges are brought or not, not the officer.



Originally posted by Golf66
For example - search and seizure, sure it’s a private venue so if you want to enter you have to consent to the bag search. I have no problem with this issue thus far.

agreed



Originally posted by Golf66
However, the difference is striking to me in some specific instances... If someone attempts to enter a venue with private security who are not LEO's and has in their possession of say an illegal substance (weapon, whatever).

The private security guard can indeed call an LEO and report the crime but they have no authority to detain the person forcibly - and if they do they are committing a crime themselves.

Not completly accurate.. It will depend on the state law. In my state (Missouri) private security can in fact detain individuals who have violated the law and hold them for law enforcement. They can use force to detain the individual as well.



Originally posted by Golf66
A LEO must have probable cause to conduct a search (or consent) since the venue requires consent to enter it is then implied and the citizen may or may not given the circumstances know the person is a LEO or some hired guard. Now the bonehead attempt to take an illegal substance into a venue is not just grounds for non-entry it is a crime, witnessed by a LEO.

There are varying degrees of this practice like the one here where the Deputy was in uniform and the idiot should be real clear he is an LEO.

Search and Seizure on private property is not all that different from law enforcement. If a person enters a venue and refuses to have his bag searched, its not a law violation. The person can very much refuse. Its at this point where private security can tell the person to leave and not come back. Forcibly searching a person is not going to pass legal muster (some exceptions exist). Forcibly detaining them after they refuse to leave for trespass is lawful and a valid action (in general in most states).



Originally posted by Golf66
However, there are some moonlighting gigs like a bouncer say which the LEO might not be in uniform but as an off duty LEO he still has all the rights and responsibilities on one (and also the special status under the law). Now here say in breaking up a bar fight the act of striking a bouncer would maybe result in an assault charge (having preformed these duties and been struck quite often as a result usually it’s not reported just cause its a hassle) is now striking a law enforcement officer and probably later resisting arrest and a whole slew of other things.

The US Supreme Court has taken this issue up and established rules that govern off duty / plain clothes law enforcement, not to mention department having policies specifically addressing what can and cannot be done by an officer acting as security.

If a police officer is off duty / not in uniform and takes actions, they MUST identify themselves as a police officer (inluding being able to provide comission card). Failure to do so will preclude any charges that would normally apply if the person were in uniform. A person cannot be charged with assault on law enforcement unless the person knows they are a law enforcement officer. They can still be charged with assault though, just like any person who strikes a bouncer / security officer.

As an example in Misosuri we have assault on emergency personell. Its a seperate offense that applies to Police / Fire / EMS and Security.

We also ave a law that allows a person to be arrested and charged for creating a situation that ellicits the response of Fire / Police / EMS / Security. If a Doctor in the ER pulls a pnic button intentionally just to see security come running, they can be charged by security for creating a false call.



Originally posted by Golf66
IMO a LEO who wants to make some extra cash by moonlighting as security should not in that situation have the same status or authority since he is no longer serving in the neutral role of serving the public (at their expense) but is in effect the paid enforcer for a private corporation or person's desires/rules.

Working as private security does not change what the officer is allowed and not allowed to do. Also moonlighting implies the officer is working outside the chain of command by hiding their secondary employment status. It is prohibited for me to hold a secondary job unless the Chief and City Council approve it. If I have a second job and dont disclose it I can be terminated.

There must be a victim willing to prosecute or there is no crime.

* - Can a cop tell a person to leave and not come back to walmart without the consent of walmart?
* - Can private security say that?
Responding to call the police cannot on their own trespass an individual. The property owner must authorize it, in both cases. Generally speaking security acts with the consent of the company, making their decision process easier than if we had to do it as law enforcement not working there.

* - Can a cop detain a shoplifter?
* - Can security detain a shoplifter?
In both cases - yes. However, again, the property owner is the victim, which means in the end they are the ones who decide if charges are pressed or not.

If I am working at walkmart off duty as security, its in uniform (per departmental policy for my agency). Working for walmart does not grant me any special authority, even when it comes to stopping / detaining / arresting law violators on that property.

I am not the victim, the store is.



Originally posted by Golf66
Just my two rubbles. It won't go away - I just think it is a dubious practice and in effect an abuse of the position in using one's special status and arrest powers to get employment with a private company.

Commissioned law enforcement aside many states allow a private individual to effect an arrest. There are no special powers law enforcement has when working at walmart as security.




Originally posted by Golf66
Want to moolight fine, everyone can use extra money. However, they shold have to give up thier special status since they are no longer serving the public but being paid to enforce corperate policy.
edit on 13/12/2012 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)

We are not enforcing corporate policy.. Corporate Policy does not dictate what a crime is. Corporate policy DOES dictate on whether the company will prosecute or not.

If a person steals a computer, whether law enforcement is called or if law enforcement is acting as security during the holidays, has the exact same result - Action against the law violater can only be taken if the store wants to prosecute.

If they dont, both positions are required to comply and release the person without charge.

Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion.. Any other questions / comments or concerns just ask.
edit on 13-12-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by Xcathdra
Not completly accurate.. It will depend on the state law. In my state (Missouri) private security can in fact detain individuals who have violated the law and hold them for law enforcement. They can use force to detain the individual as well.


It is true that is the case in Missouri – I live there and have a PI license. I am heading to the Sherriff’s Academy in January BTW. I was adressing the issue in general.

I know what the citizen arrest statutes are; however, I think in the interest of honesty we’d have to agree that the primary factor in cases that a store detective or security person detains an individual is the illusion of authority created either by the quasi police type uniform or the person’s demeanor and air of authority. In most instances, (in any private security gig I have worked, and there have been many) company policy strictly prohibits any physical contact with the suspect because it is so easy for a lawyer (not even a good one either) can get their client off based on excessive force for it is the suspects word against that of another. The company is in most cases liable rather than the individual. Most DA’s won’t even touch a citizen’s arrest situation – it is a very, very rare thing.

This is where the LEO has the “special status” I am talking about. He has arrest power that a civilian security person does not. This is primarily why private corporations want to hire off duty LEO’s – because their status as an LEO has more credibility on the witness stand and therefore makes their case much stronger. If I witness a crime and report it…it is my word against the perpetrators, if I attempt to affect a citizen’s arrest in today’s litigious society I’m more likely to end up the defendant than the person I detained.

However, if you witness a crime it is a trained observer, knowledgeable on the law, who has the power to give a lawful order to comply, or to just arrest the person on the spot. Your testimony is more valuable than mine in court in this case – it would be disingenuous to say otherwise.


Originally posted by Xcathdra
If a police officer is off duty / not in uniform and takes actions, they MUST identify themselves as a police officer (inluding being able to provide comission card). Failure to do so will preclude any charges that would normally apply if the person were in uniform. A person cannot be charged with assault on law enforcement unless the person knows they are a law enforcement officer. They can still be charged with assault though, just like any person who strikes a bouncer / security officer.


I am aware of the identification requirement; however, again here is where one’s “special status” as a LEO gives them an advantage in any confrontation. Not to mention again the fact that as an LEO because of that status you enjoy the benefit of being hired over civilians for the same security positions. Why else would private entities see any benefit from their presence over other personnel?

It is because once you are an LEO you always are, you can’t turn it off.

Just like when I was a Senior NCO working as a bouncer in Fayetteville. I was still a Senior NCO, (it doesn't shhut off) working with the knowledge and approval of my Chain of Command and worked at a bar frequented by Junior Enlisted folks. In many instances I could have identified myself as SFC XXXX to a couple of knuckleheads and made them comply with my instructions and if not invoked UCMJ given them the Article 32 warning and arrested them for not so doing. However, I never did – one because just like civilians in a bar they are there to have fun not be subjected to criminal charges for being knuckleheads in a bar. I’d just treat them like anyone else and hustle them out. I could have once when I got my ass kicked said hey I am SFC XXXX and then his next hit would have been in addition to regular assault been a UCMJ charge as well. I have never ever seen an assault charge result from a bouncer/patron exchange in 25+ years (off and on) of performing such duties.

This is where the conflict of interest comes in. I am not working on behalf of the Army when I am a bouncer no more than you are working as a LEO in that capacity in the same situation. A patron of the bar should comply be orderly and comply with the company’s rules but – hell drunk people do stupid things. They don’t expect to face criminal charges for being disorderly in a bar – they expect to be removed at most. However, a LEO thrown into the mix makes their actions (often unbeknownst to them until after the tempers are flared) criminal rather than civil in nature –witnessed by an LEO no less. They are sure to lose in any court. It is an unfair imposition all because the LEO wants to make some extra cash.



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Xcathdra
Working as private security does not change what the officer is allowed and not allowed to do.


That is exactly my point. While, the gig in no way restricts or enhances your authority as an LEO you have more credible authority than a private citizen in the same position. In the same gig I do not have the same authority/credibility you would have. I have no badge, no arrest powers etc. Ergo the “special status” you have as an LEO benefits both you financially and the private employer by your presence and that status. However, you are no longer acting on behalf of the citizenry but that private employer.


Originally posted by Xcathdra
Commissioned law enforcement aside many states allow a private individual to effect an arrest. There are no special powers law enforcement has when working at walmart as security.


I think I beat the dead horse on the citizen’s arrest fallacy – I don’t recommend anyone actually try to do it. More than likely if they do they will end up a defendant themselves. No you don’t gain anything or lose anything by working there. But you are an LEO. Wal-mart gains a great deal and you have an advantage in securing said employment for that very reason – “special status”.


Originally posted by Xcathdra
We are not enforcing corporate policy.. Corporate Policy does not dictate what a crime is. Corporate policy DOES dictate on whether the company will prosecute or not.


Perhaps I didn’t make my point. You are working on behalf of a private entity to protect their interests – period. If you happen to also be there to enforce laws too that is the secondary benefit they gain by your presence.

For example – if Wal-mart says I want to check receipts at the door before people leave and I say screw you Wal-mart…I am under no legal obligation to show them my receipt. They can either charge me with shoplifting or not but they take the risk of false arrest if they stop me and do not have any reasonable suspicion other than me walking out the door. It is not against the law to walk out of a store without subjecting your cart to an inspection and verification that is the purpose of the check-out stand. I’ll just ask you if you suspect me of shoplifting and am I under arrest until one of us gets tired or bored and gives in. Either you will say yes and I will sue you and Wal-mart and the Department for allowing the practice of being there in uniform or you will say no and I will leave showing nothing.

However, for most people if confronted with a LEO in a fancy hat and uniform sauntering over, hand on gun and stating that they need to show the nice old lady their receipt will give in the intimidation tactic.

It is intimidation pure and simple - by the illusion that my compliance with store policy in this case is required under the law because you have told me to comply. Your presence implies the rightness of your request. I know it is not a legitimate lawful command but most people do not and they will comply because they are threatened by the presence of an LEO and don’t know the law themselves. That is one example of why Wal-mart wants LEO’s there. Intimidation – nothing more nothing less.

Another example is when LEO’s provide venue security – I once worked a gig that stated we’d not let anyone within 5’ of the performer unless they waved them on. There is no law that says I have to give a performer walking in the same hallway a 5’ berth. All I can do as a civilian is block a person’s path and ask them to step back hoping they respect the security t-shirt. You however, present the illusion that any request is a demand and non-compliance will result in some kind if law violation. This is the “special status” I am talking about and again the very reason private entities seek these sanctioned extra duty type.


Originally posted by Xcathdra
Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion.. Any other questions / comments or concerns just ask


I don’t think I was ever confused. I do think I obviously didn’t make my point.

That is that I understand the practice is completely legal and is of some mutual benefit to both the LEO’s and the private entities.

However, legality aside it often places the citizen sometimes in a situation in which they can feel intimidated into following a company policy or rule because that policy or rule is backed by a LEO in uniform. That is where it becomes in my opinion (and it’s an opinion only) not illegal but unethical. I have the utmost respect for LEO's who for the most part like you are decent folks who do the right thing. I don't begredge them making some extra cash as they are like most EMS people grossly underpaid.

People pay LEO’s to protect and serve the public not enforce the desires of a private entity through their often intimidating (to the general public) presence.



posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 06:38 AM
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Originally posted by Xcathdra
reply to post by zatara
 


He was not a security officer.. He was a deputy sheriff working security at walmart and was in full police uniform.


I know he wasn't a security officer but a cop...policeman. But at the moment of the incident he was a security-officer hired by wall-mart. I must say that I do not know what his contract with Wall-Mart says but I can imagine there are words in it that defines his boundary lines. If not there will be an interesting discussion...like the one you have with ATS member Golf66 on the matter.



posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 01:07 PM
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People pay LEO’s to protect and serve the public not enforce the desires of a private entity through their often intimidating (to the general public) presence.


The Officer's pay was provided by Walmart, not the taxpayers.

As for the rest of your post I want to take the time to respond since you put effort into your response. Gimme a couple of days and I will post my reply.



posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 01:38 PM
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reply to post by The Vagabond
 

Amen.

At the end of the day, 2 kids now do not have their mother. Parents are grieving. There's a pool of blood somewhere that had to be wiped up. A series of expensive court appearances. This will probably amount to tens or hundreds of thousands, depending on what happens. All because of.... somebody shoplifted a t-shirt or something on that level. We really have to exercise better judgment.

We need intelligent security people who have information, not policeman packing heat.

This is a good example how government, defense and policing become too expensive because of bad judgment and lack of oversight. We need to stop giving authorities the green light so much.

Big Brother is not the single answer. Smart choices are, by everyone. We have to be smart as a society. There's too much dependency on others and too much swagger in the halls of power.
edit on 16-12-2012 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 01:45 PM
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property more important than life...

Frankly, Walmart should be giving the stuff away for even less than they do considering it's all made by slave labor. Sure, we've updated the slave economy...instead of throwing pork scraps at the Black folk, we give chump change to the East Asians, South Asians and South Americans so they can buy their own pork scraps and still have pennies left over for a night on the town with the family (the African slaves brought to the US never got that much, tee-hee...being faceteous, of course).



posted on Dec, 16 2012 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by Xcathdra
The Officer's pay was provided by Walmart, not the taxpayers.


That is exactly where the problem orginates. LEO's are commissioned by the government to enforce law for the good of the general public.

It is implied in a contract when money changes hands that the employee is to act on behalf of the party who pays their salary. Certainly, there is no implication that they ignore or violate the law either but a lot of corperate desires when it comes to restricting the movement or activities of persons on ther property are not expressly unlawful on their face.

When an LEO accepts money from a 3rd party (a private party) they can no longer be assumed to be acting in the absolute best interest of the general public, they can be expected to act in the interest of their current employer. At least I would expect them to if I were paying them.

When you stop being paid by the public, you personally might act in their best interest at all times; however, some other LEO might not for fear of losing the extra (and often superior pay to their salary) income. Ergo - conflict of interest. If not at least an appearance of that conflict that is best avoided. Using your intimidating and authorative uniform to ensure immediate compliance without question to any demand.

This is why the military is not allowed to perform our extra circular employment in uniform even if it might be to the mutual benefit of the entity for which you are working and the individual. Like when I took a contract for security at the carnival that was on post.

It would have been of great benefit for the carnival to have some SFC from Special Forces in uniform at the security desk - heck even the bouncer jobs would have benefited.

It would have made my job easier since any trouble makers are usually Junior Enlisted and my rank would imply any directive I gave would be an order; however, the appearance of a conflict of interest is best avoided.

Also the appearance in these situations can lead to the public thinking that their tax dollars are being spent to protect a private entity’s interests.

We might allow the contracting off duty military to perform security too but that doesn't mean we want them there in uniform because it will appear to the people that the military (not the individual) is protecting the place. The appearance of martial law in fact.

Imagine the uproar if some entertainer (for example) sought out active duty military for security at her concert venues and we were allowed to wear our uniforms and our leaders allowed us to use taxpayer funded radio equipment and even our weapons to secure the area? We can’t because it would give the impression that the US taxpayers. I know all about Military not law enforcement powers and posse comitatus but let’s say it’s on post then for example.

When LEO’s are at a venue and public see them, especially in uniform – they assume that they are on duty and being paid by the taxpayer. However, we know that is not the case…

That assumption is exactly why you are sought out for those gigs and the source of my opinion that it is unethical in that it is an intentional deception perpetrated against the public on the part of the private company with LEO and their organizations being complicit in that deception.
edit on 16/12/2012 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)
edit on 16/12/2012 by Golf66 because: (no reason given)





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