Sunday, January 4, 2015

Use Of Force as a Security Guard.

I recently saw this video about 3 security guards allegedly suffocating a black man to death a la Eric Garner.

My first thought was Fucking Idiots! You are security with zero police powers.

According to the site

A security guard has the general authority to detain someone if there is probable cause that shoplifting has occurred. However, this authority has some limitations. Any time a security guard stops a shopper, it must be for a reasonable time, and must be done in a reasonable manner.

Probable Cause 

"Probable cause" means that a security guard has reason to suspect that shoplifting has occurred. This normally means that he or she observes an individual approach merchandise, select the merchandise, conceal or carry away the merchandise, and leave the store. If there is probable cause, the guard may detain the suspected individual.

Reasonable Manner

Detention of any shopper must be done in a reasonable manner. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but usually includes:

  •  Physical restraint such as handcuffing if it appears to be necessary under the circumstances. 
  •  A "pat down" of the suspect to determine whether he or she is carrying a weapon or otherwise poses a threat to safety. 
  •  Requesting identification from the suspected shoplifter. 
A security guard can never use excessive force. Excessive force can include, but is not limited to, application of pain, choking, or improper handcuff use. Foul language, discriminatory slurs, and verbal threats can also be considered excessive force

Unreasonable detention by a store security guard may create valid claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, excessive use of force, or assault.  You may have the right to sue the store for damages you have incurred as a result of the detention.

If I were these guys I would shitting myself preparing to spend time in jail and be in debt from paying my share of the lawsuit. If the client expects you to act like a cop remind him of the liability it can open you up to. Your job is to observe and report. Not play fucking dirty harry. You will be left out in the cold if it goes wrong and no one will protect your interests. Be smart if you use violence on the job you will lose. There is no blue wall for security guards.