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  • Need input on a situation ("false arrest")

    So another officer and I were taking our break on client property inside a public park this morning around 0320 when a vehicle pulled in and started circling us and acting suspiciously. To make a long story short, we approached, as the driver was on client property, and she began to ask us questions about the area, the park, etc. She demanded personal information from us (first name, etc.), which we declined to give ("Last Name, Serial, that's all you need."). She then offered to show her ID, which we gladly took for our report, and she mentioned that if this took long she would call her attorney. I let her know that she is not under arrest, nor is she being detained, and she is free to go at any time she wishes. Despite this, she stayed, to the point where I pulled the, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" line. She left, then came back and wanted copies of all of our paperwork, saying she had "never been pulled over in a park before." I explained again that we had not pulled her over, she was not being detained, she voluntarily stopped and initiated conversation, voluntarily produced ID for us to inspect, and was aware that she was free to go at any time.

    I was careful with the words I said, how we approached, the positioning of our vehicles, etc., to try to prevent a stink. Anyways, my company is making a big deal out of this saying that I "possibly" placed her under false arrest. I am researching WA state law on what the definition of an arrest is and could only find something on the WSBA web site at http://www.wsba.org/media/publicatio...s/criminal.htm. When they call me into the office to try to rip my report apart and catch me in a lie that isn't there, I want to be well armed. Any suggestions?
    Liability is never above officer safety. Do what you must to make sure you go home safe.

    William-2, 10-6 for 105. Yep, I'm at Starbucks!

    I may be gay, but I'll eff you up!

    Personal Web Site

    Cheap, Quality Web Design! Put a great cop on the beat by helping with my tuition! :-D

  • #2
    Originally posted by jakeslife
    So another officer and I were taking our break on client property inside a public park this morning around 0320 when a vehicle pulled in and started circling us and acting suspiciously. To make a long story short, we approached, as the driver was on client property, and she began to ask us questions about the area, the park, etc. She demanded personal information from us (first name, etc.), which we declined to give ("Last Name, Serial, that's all you need."). She then offered to show her ID, which we gladly took for our report, and she mentioned that if this took long she would call her attorney. I let her know that she is not under arrest, nor is she being detained, and she is free to go at any time she wishes. Despite this, she stayed, to the point where I pulled the, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" line. She left, then came back and wanted copies of all of our paperwork, saying she had "never been pulled over in a park before." I explained again that we had not pulled her over, she was not being detained, she voluntarily stopped and initiated conversation, voluntarily produced ID for us to inspect, and was aware that she was free to go at any time.

    I was careful with the words I said, how we approached, the positioning of our vehicles, etc., to try to prevent a stink. Anyways, my company is making a big deal out of this saying that I "possibly" placed her under false arrest. I am researching WA state law on what the definition of an arrest is and could only find something on the WSBA web site at http://www.wsba.org/media/publicatio...s/criminal.htm. When they call me into the office to try to rip my report apart and catch me in a lie that isn't there, I want to be well armed. Any suggestions?
    Sure, I have a suggestion. If this person ever comes back to your site, call the police on her and report a prowler. Say this person is driving around you and watching you. Make any documentation about this person or her vehicle you possibly can with them so any applicable stalking charges will stick. Record her conversation with the recorder out in plain view if you can make that happen. I would also make it a point to limit conversation with people like that. Instead of answering any questions about the area simply tell the individual "you need to leave now" and if that person is persistent, keep dialling 911. This is the kind of person that makes a substantial living from filing frivilous lawsuits. You are the victim here, not her.
    The company is only squawking about it because their officers don't make "arrests" and they're not familiar with the laws themselves. They heard some word, I'm assuming the b**** called in sayiung they may be sued and they're scared enough to crap their pants.

    Anyways, for the research you mentioned, maybe these links will help.
    Definition of restraint: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.40.010
    Definition of unlawful imprisonment: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.40.040
    Definition of trespassing: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.52.010

    I didn't see anything there about a private person's or property owner's authority to detain or arrest. It seems your best defense there was the person was not restrained, especially since she remained in her vehicle, because she was not held by force, threat, or deception.
    "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

    Comment


    • #3
      There was only one vague mention of private security being allowed to detain in Washington, for violent behavior.
      http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2...2094-S.SBR.pdf
      "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, 1st. That looks to be exactly what I was looking for. Basically, a definition of an arrest, and being able to prove that I did not do it. Since this state is run by flower lickin' hippies, state law says that an arrest or detainment is anything that makes the person "feel" detained. This could be anything from my hand resting on the same belt as my gun, or even a smile she interpretted wrong. Although, with the way she spoke to me I felt attacked, could I file assault charges? :-D LOL

        Thanks though, really. I'm just trying to make light out of a situation that could possibly cost me my job. I'm trying to gather recourse should I have to pursue any legal action or resist the same. Any other suggestions would be great as well.
        Liability is never above officer safety. Do what you must to make sure you go home safe.

        William-2, 10-6 for 105. Yep, I'm at Starbucks!

        I may be gay, but I'll eff you up!

        Personal Web Site

        Cheap, Quality Web Design! Put a great cop on the beat by helping with my tuition! :-D

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jakeslife
          ...state law says that an arrest or detainment is anything that makes the person "feel" detained...
          According to what I saw of the state's law, "arrest" is defined as a police officer taking a person into custody. "Detainment" isn't a word, although it's popularly used. "Detention" is the correct word and that depends on what "force" was used. "Restraint" is the key factor here.
          Force is usually divded into three areas:
          1) Physical force - this applies when you actually come into physical contact with a person. It applies whether you tackled someone, guided the person by the arm, or even caught them with your hands while they were falling.
          2) Threat of force - this is where you use verbal commands, usually combined with the implication of physical force being used. Telling someone to do such-and-such or else be removed by force or be handcuffed is threat of force. Telling a theft or vandalism suspect to stop their activity while standing near them is also threat of force.
          3) Deception - this is where you use misleading statements to stop a person from committing an act or keep them at a location. To detain someone using deception is popular with security. Saying something to a party who's assaulted someone for example like "hey take it easy, I'm here to help you. Come sit over here on the curb where it's more comfortable," and when they ask why "because I want you to be safe. It's not safe over there by that other person," while your partner calls for the police. You didn't use physical force or threat, but the person was held using deception.

          The idea that a person can prosecute simply because he or she "felt" like they were detained shows there is a lack of solid case law and definition of a private person's rights in the criminal code. The only building block such a person would have for a case here is to purport your ignorance and their sensationalism of how they were inconvenienced. This is easy to defend since there is no physical evidence such as injuries and no testimony from third party witnesses. This also shows again the importance of documenting every action not only on paper, but with as many means as possible, with testimony from your partner, recordings, and police reports.
          "We appreciate all the hard work you've done, the dedicated hours you have worked, and the lives you have saved. However, since this is your third time being late to work, we are terminating your employment here."

          Comment


          • #6
            Jake,

            Your actions and story here looked to be very well rounded and good to go. I had a very similar (well sorta.. ) incident with a company... see my sig for the Co. Anyway, from what you describe, such as notifying her she is not under arrest and is free to leave, you are pretty much clear. However; I would not have taken her I.D. In Washington State, when you hold onto someone's property they are no longer free to leave. Now, I do not know how this holds up since she allegedly handed you the I.D. without being asked (which seems a trifle odd to me). I have a little trouble seeing what happened, did you pull up to her in vehicles? were you following her in a vehicle? did you light her up at all? Etc... Feel Free to PM me. like I said, I have had a similar incident and would like to help you work your way out of this.
            "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
            "The Curve" 1998

            Comment


            • #7
              Asking for identification is not a detention, in most states. If the person refuses, you have no recourse to demand ID unless you are making an arrest. Same with sworn officers, unless the ID is used to establish identity as part of a citation or summons, which could be construed as ROR arrests.

              It sounds like this woman is playing with you. Any time someone tries this, remove them. If they refuse to leave, call the police for backup, and take whatever steps needed to protect yourself, while shouting a command to leave every few moments. This command demonstrates to the public that you are ordering this person to leave the property. When the police pull up, they'll usually document that

              "the security guard was shouting at SU1 to leave the property. SU1 was in her vehicle, and the vehicle was not leaving. The guard reported that he asked SU1 to leave numerous times, then ordered SU1 to leave. SU1 failed to leave, asking the guard many questions."

              I usually gave a few yells at someone who was not doing what I lawfully ordered them to do, so that others would notice and come forward when the "real police" came. The BG would always say, "that cracker ass guard didn't tell me s--t." The witnesses, of course, had a different story, as did the responding officer who heard me yelling.
              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


              • #8
                Ok, I feel I need to answer this from a cops prespective for Jake. 1st and foremost, the state of Washington does not have a citizens arrest law on the books. The only people who can make arrests are sworn and commisioned police officers. With that said security officers in the state of Washington may detain by using any lawful means necesarry including handcuffs. The RCW defines detention as the act of preventing a person from leaving. This can be done by verbal comands, physical force, or the retention of property. I should note that the law determines if its a detention based on what the SUSPECT feels not the officer. if the suspect does not feel they are free to leave then the officer is detaing them, whether or not that is the officers intention. This applies to police officers, security, and private citizens. With that said I will move on but if you want me to go into more detail PM me.

                Now the second part is did you detain her or not. In short the answer is yes you did. When she surrendered her ID to you whether voluntary or not you were detaining her regardless of what you told her. Now was there a false arrest made, no there wasn't. As I mentioned security cannot make an arrest. She voluntarily entered your clients property (a park) after hours which is Criminal Trespass 2nd degree a gross misdemeanor. You confronted her which is your job to warn her to depart. It sounds to me like your job was completed satisfactorily. I agree with the statement that she is probably going around filing frivilous lawsuits. My suggestion to you and any security guard, is to have the person show you, not hand you their id. You can still copy the info you need but because they are holding onto it they are not being "detained". Obviously put your safety first and if them holding onto their ID puts you at risk then take it, you need to look out for you 1st others 2nd. With that said I hope this info helped. I should tell you I explained this briefly as it was taught to me by the WSCJTC when I went through the academy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Michael Ledgerwood
                  When she surrendered her ID to you whether voluntary or not you were detaining her regardless of what you told her.

                  That was basically my understanding.
                  "Alright guys listen up, ya'll have probably heard this before, Jackson vs. Securiplex corporation; I am a private security officer, I have no State or governmental authority. I stand as an ordinary citizen. I have no right to; detain, interrogate or otherwise interfere with your personal property-... basically all that means is I'm a cop."-Officer Ernie
                  "The Curve" 1998

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Michael Ledgerwood
                    ....
                    Now the second part is did you detain her or not. In short the answer is yes you did. When she surrendered her ID to you whether voluntary or not you were detaining her regardless of what you told her.
                    Good point. Next time, just get the license plate number and tell the trespasser to leave. That having been said, I don't think you made a critical error. It sounds like your security company is more interested in sacrificing you on the altar of self-preservation. Even if you hold onto your job, why not consider finding a position at a different security company? After all, do you really want to be there if you have another encounter, knowing that your current company will 'hang you out to dry?'
                    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The only thing I can add to this discussion is ask how were your patrol cars positioned? Were they placed in such a way as to block the lady from driving away? If so, she can make a claim that she "was not free to leave" even though you told her that she was.

                      Do you carry a micro tape recorder? If not, I highly suggest you invest in one. Their value in situations such as these should be self-evident. I start recording as soon as I approach someone and twice now it has saved my butt when someone made a false complaint.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For this reason alone, my mobile car has in car video, and prior to that, I carried a tape recorder for such incidents.

                        In my province, I am NOT required to tell you I am recording as long as the information that is being recorded is used only to protect my self (from cases like this).

                        I would recommend you carry a recorder, and a mic. Check your local laws in regards to this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What's the case law like for Washington? The prevailing standard for Wisconsin and Florida is "common law citizen's arrest for breach of the peace," in which they cite Torts 2nd edition as "arrest is a deprivation of freedom." There seem to be, and have been for awhile, two different standards for arrest. What LE uses, and what the court uses.

                          There can be a formal warrantless arrest, made by an agent of the state, or a "citizen's arrest," which is where a person takes an offender into custody to bring them (in medieval England) before the magistrate, and now days to the police who then forward them to the magistrate.

                          "Arrest" and "Detention" are a game of semantics once it gets to the court. A good rule of thumb is every detention that is not codified in law (which is usually codified as an arrest) is an arrest.

                          However, how is requesting identification a detention? And, is it the suspect's thought, or is there a reasonable man threshold for "detainment" in Washington? A reasonable man believes that if a security guard asks for ID, and he gives it, that he can ask for it back and then leave of his own free will. Only when the guard or police officer refuses to return the ID is there a detention, to my understanding.

                          One thing to note, however, is that the usual "stop and frisk" laws do not apply to private citizens, so we cannot detain for investigative detention purposes like a LEO can. But, we can ask alot more questions than a LEO can, because we're not detaining - we're simply engaging in conversation.
                          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
                            At first out vehicles were mating and the woman drove around us (around the perimeter) a half turn, then turned around and drove about 10 yards in front of my partner's vehicle. My partner turned her headlights on to get a description and the license plate, and the woman drove towards us. My partner and I drove away from each other, partner driving from left side, me from behind. Their vehicles got close because the woman turned around in her seat to look at me and almost hit my partner. My partner pulled along side her, leaving ample room for her to leave, and I parked about 10 yards behind and to the driver's side. This is an officer safety issue. I am not walking in front of the woman's headlights.

                            When my partner made contact, the woman began asking questions about the park then.
                            Liability is never above officer safety. Do what you must to make sure you go home safe.

                            William-2, 10-6 for 105. Yep, I'm at Starbucks!

                            I may be gay, but I'll eff you up!

                            Personal Web Site

                            Cheap, Quality Web Design! Put a great cop on the beat by helping with my tuition! :-D

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Also, do you reccomend a digital voice recorder or one using a micro casette? I would assume using a tape for use in court and to save accusations of alteration.
                              Liability is never above officer safety. Do what you must to make sure you go home safe.

                              William-2, 10-6 for 105. Yep, I'm at Starbucks!

                              I may be gay, but I'll eff you up!

                              Personal Web Site

                              Cheap, Quality Web Design! Put a great cop on the beat by helping with my tuition! :-D

                              Comment

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