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2009-01-13 02:11:10.917538+00 by meuon 5 comments

Chattanooga's Police make the Agitator Agitated

Chattanooga Police Det. Kenneth Freeman will not face charges in an incident in which he shoved a 71-year-old greeter at the Wal-Mart in Collegedale to the floor after he tried to stop him while doing a receipts check.

[ related topics: Law Enforcement Chattanooga ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-01-13 02:45:49.100771+00 by: Larry Burton

I'm thinking that if we saw the Walmart security video we would see a different story than what we are being told. I don't doubt the basic facts but I do think that the alleged assault was probably more of a reaction to being grabbed than an actual assault.

I got into a tug of war once with a Walmart greeter over a door sentry alarm going off as I went through. They can be aggressive.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-01-13 08:55:43.867227+00 by: meuon

Others would also like to see the video and make up their own mind. It sounds like enough people saw the incident and were upset about it to make me think it might be rather revealing.

According to: this article "Rick Watkins of Wal-Mart said an alarm was sounded when the 48-year-old Freeman walked by, causing Mr. Walker to try to stop him. Sgt. McPherson had already stopped for a receipt check."

Sounds like a mess in progress. When those stupid alarms go off, I stop. And because I stopped and smile sheepishly, they usually wave me on. However, I recently bought a DVD in one of those plastic cases with the higher security inductive loads. The cashier did not remove the plastic case as she put it in my bag. Accidents happen, it's how you deal with them that makes a difference.

If I pushed my way past the "greeter" after the alarm went off, I'd expect to be detained, my bags and person searched, and possibly be arrested and charged. If I pushed the "greeter" to the floor, and shoved another person through a door, (I'm not sure of the door swung open or shattered), makes that 'possibly' a 'probably'.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-01-13 14:51:27.801458+00 by: JT

I had a security guard try to stop me after an alarm went off in Biloxi MS wal-mart. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me I had to stop and go back into the store with him.

I quickly told him that I wasn't going anywhere with him unless he was willing to place me under arrest, and if he was sure he wanted to place me under arrest, I would gladly go with him however I wouldn't answer any of his questions unless my attorney was present and would not allow them to search me unless a policeman was present. I also told him that if he didn't take his hand off my shoulder immediately, I would be signing charges against him for assault. He removed his hand and I walked to my truck and left. I did nothing wrong, paid for everything in my bag, and don't like those alarms anyway.

I was pulled over down the road by two Biloxi Police Officers and relayed the whole story to them telling them I didn't like people putting their hands on me without even talking to me first. They just ran my information and found I had no warrants or previous problems, I also told them I didn't want wal-mart getting my information directly from them without going through the proper channels outlined by the freedom of information act... they told me they weren't going to give it to the security guard, but would allow him to use it if he wanted to sign charges. No charges were ever signed... and according to MS law, nothing could have been signed anyway. Of course, the only law that was violated was assault when he touched my shoulder, so I didn't expect to hear anything from it anyway.

As a side note, I was a police officer at the time, but it never came up and no one ever saw any ID from me or even heard what I did for a living. I thought it would only complicate things.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-01-13 15:30:19.794288+00 by: m

I have despised door nazis since I watched one at a Comp USA humiliate an overburdened young woman. The woman kept droping her packages while searching for her receipt. The so called guard not only did not assist, but laughed and joked about the woman's difficulties.

In my state, there is generally no legal obligation to stop for a receipt checker, or an activated alarm. A public store only has the right to detain an individual if there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. In most states, that means a witness or video to the shoplifting. Without legal cause, stopping and individual with an actual or implied use of force is a class A misdemeanor in my state. State laws vary significantly, some states even give peace officer status to any store guard in any kind of uniform.

That said, in general one can not just start beating up door nazis even in the face of minor battery. In general, you can only use force to protect yourself in a public place if you have exhausted any other options that a reasonable person would avail themselves of. It would seem that the officer involved had an obligation to identify himself, warn the checker that his behaviour was criminal, and arrest him if need be. Given that the police will not release the video, one can only believe the officer's behaviour was less than legal.

I find the best way to deal with these issues is to notify one or more corporate officers or a store owner that crimes are being committed on the premises, and remind them that it is a crime for an owner or corporate officer if they know, or should know that crimes are being committed within their purview. Few corporate officers are happy to receive such information. Such documentation must be retained by the organisation, and is subject to disclosure in future actions. Doing so has always brought an apology and a policy change. Again, note that state laws may vary.

#Comment Re: Door Nazis made: 2009-01-14 20:36:08.462707+00 by: andylyke

Another view of the 'greeters" is that they may be software engineers or bank veeps "downsized" to a new attitude. Treat them kindly - you too could fall down the ladder. (If you've become too dependent on "employment" to earn your living.)