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  • Minnesota law question

    I got into a bit of a discussion at a meeting I was in recently about arrest vs. detention. We had an incident in which a felony theft suspect was stopped by an officer in an enclosed lobby area with two exits. The officer was quickly joined by two other officers who posted themselves at the two exits.

    Our on site police officers arrived in force shortly thereafter and placed the man in cuffs and led him away. Our security officers do not carry cuffs.

    My argument is that we arrested the male. Everyone else in the meeting claimed that we merely detained the male until police arrived. My argument is that when a reasonable person feels that they are no longer free to go, they are under arrest. With an officer patting him down and telling him that he had to wait for the police and officers blocking both of his exits, I contend that our staff arrested him.

    We are in a corporate setting. The way that I have read Minnesota law is that only merchants have the right of detention. In other security settings, you cannot legally "detain" someone until the police arrive, you must arrest them and then turn them over to the police.

    Am I right? Wrong? Kinda right at least?

  • #2
    Sounds like a citizens arrest.

    Comment


    • #3
      Arrest” is “The taking of another into custody for the actual or purported purpose of bringing the other before a court, body or official, or of otherwise securing the administration of the law.” See Perkins, Elements of Police Science 223, 227 (1942).

      According to Princeton Universtity, "An arrest is the action of police or other authority, or even in some circumstances a private civilian, to apprehend and take under guard a person who is suspected of committing a crime."

      However, arresting another only means that of taking them into custody. See for example, Section 556.061(7) of the Missouri Revised Statutes (2006), ""Custody", a person is in custody when the person has been arrested but has not been delivered to a place of confinement."

      http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5560000061.HTM

      When vested with the powers of arrest under the color of law, rule, statute, regulaiton or custom or usage having the power of law in the state, merely “stopping and making reasonable inquiries” of a person reasonably suspected of criminal activity does not constitute an arrest. See Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968).

      However, one can be detained without actually being arrested. This is distinguished by what is actually said to the suspect, i.e. "You are not under arrest but you are being detained." If nothing is said, then a reasonable cause [might] exist for the suspect to believe he or she is arrested, even if only by a common law citizens arrest.

      In terms of making a citizens arrest, Missouri, for example, statutorily permits such only to the extent that "A private person acting on his own account may, . . . use physical force to effect arrest or prevent escape only when and to the extent such is immediately necessary to effect the arrest, or to prevent escape from custody, of a person whom he reasonably believes to have committed a crime and who in fact has committed such crime." See Section 563.051.2 RSMo at:

      http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5630000051.HTM

      The fact that handcuffs were not used is immaterial when there was a clear use of force by the presence of multiple security officers who knowingly and willingly blocked the exit doors to deliberately prevent escape of the suspect.

      For laws specific to your state, you will need to check the Minnesota statutes.
      Last edited by Christopherstjo; 06-11-2007, 05:23 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks. I do know Minnesota Statute pretty well, but sometimes you wonder about proper interpretation. I agree that handcuffs are not needed for an arrest to occur. It is trying to convince others of that fact that can be difficult at times!

        The police around here carry citizen's arrest forms. They argued since the police did not have us sign the citizen's arrest form we hadn't arrested the male. I disagree.

        Comment


        • #5
          Did any of your officers sign the citizens arrest form?
          Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...

          Comment


          • #6
            Nope, nobody had to sign a form. The police had been looking for this guy for over a month since he was responsible for a ton of thefts from auto and auto thefts.

            We have 160 cameras on our campus. Literally almost everything is caught on tape. We also have police on site. The way it generally works is that we observe criminal activity and call the police officers directly without going through dispatch.

            The police detain the subject and an officer comes into the command center and views the footage and they go from there. Even if the crime is a misdemeanor and it did not occur in their presence, once they see the footage of the incident, they handle the arrest without us having to sign any citizen's arrest form.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CorpSec View Post
              Nope, nobody had to sign a form. The police had been looking for this guy for over a month since he was responsible for a ton of thefts from auto and auto thefts.

              We have 160 cameras on our campus. Literally almost everything is caught on tape. We also have police on site. The way it generally works is that we observe criminal activity and call the police officers directly without going through dispatch.

              The police detain the subject and an officer comes into the command center and views the footage and they go from there. Even if the crime is a misdemeanor and it did not occur in their presence, once they see the footage of the incident, they handle the arrest without us having to sign any citizen's arrest form.

              I would say that technically your officers did not make an arrest. Was this in downtown MPLS? Because thefts in our ramp and surrounding streets have been getting hit hard lately with break-ins. But we're one of the only hospitals that doesn't have someone in our squad 24-7 because we don't have enough people to do it. Just curious if your thief might be one of our regulars.
              Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...

              Comment


              • #8
                Not DT Mpls. Thanks for your opinion! My logic behind believing that it was an arrest is that the reasonable person would not have felt that they were free to leave in this particular situation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CorpSec View Post
                  Not DT Mpls. Thanks for your opinion! My logic behind believing that it was an arrest is that the reasonable person would not have felt that they were free to leave in this particular situation.
                  A reasonable person would not feel they are allowed to leave while being detained either.
                  I can see where you are coming from though.

                  It would be interesting to find out how the responding police department wrote up the incident.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just my thought

                    Courts have ruled and various State statutes allow a retailer to detain a suspect for a reasonable amount of time to determine if a person has shoplifted. The question that is debated is, how long is a reasonable length of time. The person is not considered "under arrest" during this time frame.
                    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CorpSec View Post
                      The police around here carry citizen's arrest forms. They argued since the police did not have us sign the citizen's arrest form we hadn't arrested the male. I disagree.
                      Police have the discreationary right to either arrest the suspect themselves, in which case it is a legal arrest under color of law, or to have, as your state uses, the citizen sign a citizens arrest form.

                      However, merely because the form was not signed does not mean that a citizens arrest was not invoked, to-wit, it clearly was to intially capture the suspect in the first place.

                      It mearly means that the supsect was criminally charged under a legal arrest rather than a citizens arrest, as generally speaking, a legal arrest tends to carry more weight and credibility in the eyes of some courts, than a citizens arrest.

                      In response to Security Consultant's view, many courts confer that it is not the length of time that the suspect is held that is in question but rather the length of time in the s/o calling the police that means more, in matters of law and whether or not excessive detainment exists to constitute false imprisonment.

                      Though, it is easily argued that in matters of LP work and in lieu of the required steps LP agents must abide by to detain / arrest a suspect in the first place, the LP agent should know right off the bat if a crime has been committed.

                      An exception to this would be a security officer who has police and legal arrest powers, under color of law, and conducts an investigation into a alleged shoplifting incident that was witnessed by a non-LP employee of the store and thus, naturally would take a little time to complete a competent investigation to ascertain whether or not probable cause exists to believe a crime was committed. In this respect, some argue that a half hour is suffient to complete the investigation and call the police, while others argue that an hour is more appropriate. It is however, best to call the police as soon as possible if for no other reason than to pass the buck of liability and avoid claims of false imprisonment all together.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        629.30 ARRESTS; BY WHOM MADE; AIDING OFFICER.
                        Subdivision 1. Definition. Arrest means taking a person into custody that the person may
                        be held to answer for a public offense. "Arrest" includes actually restraining a person or taking
                        into custody a person who submits.
                        Subd. 2. Who may arrest. An arrest may be made:
                        (1) by a peace officer under a warrant;
                        (2) by a peace officer without a warrant;
                        (3) by an officer in the United States Customs Service or the Immigration and Naturalization
                        Service without a warrant;
                        (4) by a private person.
                        A private person shall aid a peace officer in executing a warrant when requested to do
                        so by the officer.

                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        629.37 WHEN A PRIVATE PERSON MAY MAKE AN ARREST.
                        A private person may arrest another:
                        (1) for a public offense committed or attempted in the arresting person's presence;
                        (2) when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the arresting person's
                        presence; or
                        (3) when a felony has in fact been committed, and the arresting person has reasonable cause
                        for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        629.39 REQUIRING PRIVATE PERSON MAKING ARREST TO DELIVER ARRESTEE
                        TO JUDGE OR PEACE OFFICER.

                        A private person who arrests another for a public offense shall take the arrested person before
                        a judge or to a peace officer without unnecessary delay. If a person arrested escapes, the person
                        from whose custody the person has escaped may immediately pursue and retake the escapee, at
                        any time and in any place in the state. For that purpose, the pursuer may break open any door
                        or window of a dwelling house if the pursuer informs the escapee of the intent to arrest the
                        escapee and the pursuer is refused admittance.
                        Last edited by davis002; 06-11-2007, 07:36 PM.
                        "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill." Sun-Tzu

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Minnesota is one of those states where a private citizen does not have to contact the police once placing someone under arrest, if they themselves bring the suspect before a magistrate.
                          Some Kind of Commando Leader

                          "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The thing I am talking about is the Minnesota legal-eze between "detaining" and "arresting". The way I interpret Minnesota statute is that only merchants have a legal exception that allow them to legally "detain" someone. And then, they can only detain them for the expressed purspose of getting them ID'ed, recovering goods, and waiting for the police.

                            In the case of a Target LP associate, they may legally "detain" a shoplifter, but if a guy slugged the cashier over a refund dispute, the LP associate could not legally "detain" him. Of course, the LP associate could legally "arrest" the guy.

                            I contend that in a corporate setting we can never make a legal "detention", however, we can make "arrests"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                              Minnesota is one of those states where a private citizen does not have to contact the police once placing someone under arrest, if they themselves bring the suspect before a magistrate.
                              Hmmm... and what happens if, on the way to the magistrate, the suspect or the citizen is injured in a car accident, or the suspect escapes and commits criminal acts against others to aid in his escape, such as car jacking or taking a hostage?

                              Impressive authority but extremely dangerous

                              Comment

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