Does anyone know the laws regarding detaining/restraining suspected shoplifters? I walked out of the mall tonight and found three Younkers loss-prevention staff holding a woman face-down in the snow, with their knees on her back attempting to handcuff her while she was telling them she couldn’t breathe.
They told me to go away, as they were Younkers loss prevention and dealing with a shoplifter. I told them they were forcibly holding a woman in a t-shirt face-down into the snow with their knees on her back, and there was no way in hell I was leaving because I’m calling the cops and giving a statement of excessive force.
I tried some searches to see if this is legal, or would qualify as excessive force or false-imprisonment, but couldn’t find any useful information (most of the web just says the store can “detain” a shoplifter, but doesn’t say what that means or how far that goes).
So, is this behavior totally legal, or total bullshit? For the record, she probably was shoplifting, as I found a pile of designer jeans a few feet away from her, but that also means she had already dropped all of the stolen goods. When I reported what I saw to the cop, he helpfully added “Well, I know her, and she’s a frequent shoplifter, and given the amount she stole, it’s probably felony shoplifting,” which somehow implies that it’s okay to mash her face into the ground??? I’m confused. Anyone have any legal opinions? (or bitching is good too – I’m always up for some good bitching).
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