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Old 09-11-2007, 07:43 PM   #1
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arrested for not wanting to show a receipt?

Where do our rights as citizens stand? Stuff like this reminds me of half life 2.

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Today was an eventful day. I drove to Cleveland, reunited with my father’s side of the family and got arrested. More on that arrested part to come.

For the labor day weekend my father decided to host a small family reunion. My sister flew in from California and I drove in from Pittsburgh to visit my father, his wife and my little brother and sister. Shortly after arriving we packed the whole family into my father’s Buick and headed off to the grocery store to buy some ingredients to make monkeybread. (It’s my little sister’s birthday today and that was her cute/bizare birthday request.)

Next to the grocery store was a Circuit City. (The Brooklyn, Ohio Circuit City to be exact.) Having forgotten that it was my sister’s birthday I decided to run in and buy her a last minute gift. I settled on Disney’s “Cars” game for the Nintendo Wii. I also needed to purchase a Power Squid surge protector which I paid for separately with my business credit card. As I headed towards the exit doors I passed a gentleman whose name I would later learn is Santura. As I began to walk towards the doors Santura said, “Sir, I need to examine your receipt.” I responded by continuing to walk past him while saying, “No thank you.”

As I walked through the double doors I heard Santura yelling for his manager behind me. My father and the family had the Buick pulled up waiting for me outside the doors to Circuit City. I opened the door and got into the back seat while Santura and his manager, whose name I have since learned is Joe Atha, came running up to the vehicle. I closed the door and as my father was just about to pull away the manager, Joe, yelled for us to stop. Of course I knew what this was about, but I played dumb and pretended that I didn’t know what the problem was. I wanted to give Joe the chance to explain what all the fuss was for.

I reopened the door to talk with Joe and at this point Joe positioned his body between the open car door and myself. (I was still seated in the Buick.) Joe placed his left hand on the roof of the car and his right hand on the open car door. I asked Joe if there was a problem. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Is there a problem?”
Joe: “I need to examine your bag and receipt before letting you leave this parking lot.”
Me: “I paid for the contents in this bag. Are you accusing me of stealing?”
Joe: “I’m not accusing you of anything, but I’m allowed by law to look through your bag when you leave.”
Me: “Which law states that? Name the law that gives you the right to examine my bag when I leave a Circuit City.”

Of course Joe wasn’t able to name the law that gives him, a U.S. citizen and Circuit City employee the right to examine anything that I, a U.S. citizen and Circuit City customer am carrying out of the store. I’ve dealt with these scare tactics at other stores in the past including other Circuit Cities, Best Buys and Guitar Centers. I’ve always taken the stance that retail stores shouldn’t treat their loyal customers as criminals and that customers shouldn’t so willingly give up their rights along with their money. Theft sucks and I wish that shoplifters were treated more harshly than they are, but the fact is that I am not a shiplifter shoplifter and shouldn’t have to forfeit my civil rights when leaving a store.

I twice asked Joe to back away from the car so that I could close the door. Joe refused. On three occasions I tried to pull the door closed but Joe pushed back on the door with his hip and hands. I then gave Joe three options:

“Accuse me of shoplifting and call the police. I will gladly wait for them to arrive.”
“Back away from the car so that I can close the door and drive away.”
“If you refuse to let me leave I will be forced to call the police.” Joe didn’t budge. At this point I pushed my way past Joe and walked onto the sidewalk next to the building. I pulled out my phone and dialed 911.

Two minutes later Brooklyn, Ohio police officer Ernie Arroyo arrived on the scene. As I began to explain the story leading up to Joe Atha preventing my egress from the parking lot, officer Arroyo began to question why I refused to show my receipt in the first place. I explained that I lawfully purchased the contents in the bag and didn’t feel that it was necessary for me to let a Circuit City employee inspect the bag as I left. Officer Arroyo disagreed. He claimed that stores have the right to inspect all receipts and all bags upon leaving their store.

At this point Officer Arroyo asked to see my receipt and driver’s license. I handed over the receipt, and stated that my name is Michael Righi. Again, Officer Arroyo asked to see my driver’s license. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “I’m required by law to state that my name is Michael Righi, but I do not have to provide you with my driver’s license since I am not operating a vehicle.”
Officer Arroyo: “Give me your driver’s license or I will place you under arrest.”
Me: “My name is Michael Righi. I am not willing to provide you with my driver’s license.”
Officer Arroyo: “Turn around and up against the wall.”

At this point I was placed in handcuffs, patted down, had my wallet removed from my back pocket and was placed in the back of Officer Arroyo’s police car. My three siblings sat in the back of the Buick crying their eyes out, which is the only part of today that I regret. I wish my little brother and sisters didn’t have to watch this, but I knew exactly what I was doing and was very careful with my words. Other than putting my family through a little scare I don’t regret anything that happened today.

Officer Arroyo ran my father’s license plate, my driver’s license and inspected my two receipts along with the contents of my bag. He also handed over my Circuit City bag to Joe Atha and allowed him to ensure that in fact I stole nothing from the store.

While being driven down to the station in the back of the police car I struck up a conversation with Officer Arroyo. I asked him if he was surprised that my receipts matched the contents in the bag and in a surprise moment of honesty he admitted that he was. I then asked Officer Arroyo what charges were going to be brought against me. He explained that I had been arrested for failure to produce my driver’s license. I asked him what would happen if I never learned to drive and didn’t have a driver’s license. After all, at the time that he arrested me I was standing on a sidewalk outside a Circuit City. I wasn’t driving a car, and even when I was seated in the Buick I was a back seat passenger. The officer never gave me a satisfactory answer to this question, but promised to explain the law to me after I was booked.

This morning I slept through my alarm clock and was in a hurry to drive to Cleveland. I didn’t have time to iron my shirt, and this is what I regretted while my mugshot was being taken. Listen up kids. Always press your clothes because you never know when you’ll be unlawfully arrested.

Shortly after being booked, fingerprints and all, Officer Arroyo presented me with my charges:

ORD:525.07: Obstructing Official Business (M-2)
(a) No person, without privilege to do so and with purpose to prevent, obstruct or delay the performance by a public official of any authorized act within the public official’s offical capacity shall do any act that hampers or impedes a public official in the performance of the public official’s lawful duties.

Not being able to find the law in the books that states that a citizen must provide a driver’s license while walking through a parking lot, Officer Arroyo had to settle for “obstructing official business.” Keep in mind that the official business that I was supposedly obstructing was business that I initiated by calling the police. I called for help and I got arrested.

My father posted the $300 bail that was needed to get me out of jail and back on my way to Park Avenue Place. (Sorry for the lame Monopoly joke, but it’s my first time being arrested. Cut me some humor slack.) After being released I stuck around the police station for a little while to fill out the necessary paper work to press charges against the Circuit City manager who physically prevented me from leaving the parking lot. I’m most interested in seeing my charges dropped for refusing to present identification, but I view that as a completely separate issue from the store manager interfering with my egress.

I understand that my day would have gone a lot smoother if I had agreed to let loss prevention inspect my bag. I understand that my day would have gone a lot smoother if I had agreed to hand over my driver’s license when asked by Officer Arroyo. However, I am not interested in living my life smoothly. I am interested in living my life on strong principles and standing up for my rights as a consumer, a U.S. citizen and a human being. Allowing stores to inspect our bags at will might seem like a trivial matter, but it creates an atmosphere of obedience which is a dangerous thing. Allowing police officers to see our papers at will might seem like a trivial matter, but it creates a fear-of-authority atmosphere which can be all too easily abused.

I can reluctantly understand having to show a permit to fish, a permit to drive and a permit to carry a weapon. Having to show a permit to exist is a scary idea which I got a strong taste of today.

My hearing is scheduled for September 20th, 2007. I will be contacting the ACLU and the IDP on Tuesday (the next business day), and I plan to fight these charges no matter what it takes. I will provide updates on this page as events unfold.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:43 PM   #2
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updated
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September 1st, 2007 @ 10:50PM EST Update:The police officer never read me my Miranda rights. I’ve heard differing opinions on how much this really matters and will certainly be bringing this up with my attorney.

September 1st, 2007 @11:34PM EST Update:I found the detail on Ohio’s “stop and identify” law. I encourage you to read it in its entirety, but I will spell out the important part:

2921.29 (C) Nothing in this section requires a person to answer any questions beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth. Nothing in this section authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest a person for not providing any information beyond that person’s name, address, or date of birth or for refusing to describe the offense observed.
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:56 PM   #3
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updated
you are right chris but, is everyone's fault for letting it happen. incluiding me
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Technology has insulated the stupid from the rightful consequences of their actions - and exposed the rest of us to the damage they can cause.

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nevermind ima bumbass and ill get my wife 2 do it 2nite.
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I know enough Spanish to stick you with a knife cabron
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:59 PM   #4
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www.MichaelRighi.com

check out his website

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Old 09-11-2007, 08:01 PM   #5
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In Texas, with the number of traffic deaths from no lic motorists a cop does have a right to ask for your DL if he has reason to believe you are about to drive or ride.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:14 PM   #6
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dude tfu this may the wrong section for my comment but our society today is under heavy thumb and it is getting closer and closer to home with rules, regulations, and so on that typically coming down from a higher source for the legal system to enforce. Good luck, & tell your sister hbd for me
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:19 PM   #7
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I'm surprised this hasn't happened to me. When I leave Fry's I refuse to wait in the bag inspection line after having already waiting in line to make my purchase. I will show my stuff if/when they follow me, but i just hold it out and don't stop walking.. I make them walk with me. They get , but fugg them.. I didn't steal chit!
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I'm surprised this hasn't happened to me. When I leave Fry's I refuse to wait in the bag inspection line after having already waiting in line to make my purchase. I will show my stuff if/when they follow me, but i just hold it out and don't stop walking.. I make them walk with me. They get , but fugg them.. I didn't steal chit!
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:39 PM   #9
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you know they check your stuff, don't like the policy don't shop there.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:40 PM   #10
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^^^ right on cue... fish-face! lol
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:41 PM   #11
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hahahahah i been to the circut city 100 times!!!

hahaha im going to see try this when i go back home for the holidays
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:49 PM   #12
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After all of that, did he keep what he bought there? If he was a good Capitalist and forward thinking person, he would have returned the item for a full refund to show that he was dissatisfied with the way that they do business.

People shouldn't knowingly patronize businesses that operate in a manner that is unsatisfactory to them, that's not the American way. Supporting the business by shopping there is as bad as being one of the 'sheep' standing in line waiting to have the receipt examined.

While I can respect the guy for having principles and standing up for them, I don't have a lot of respect for him choosing to enter an establishment where he has fore knowledge of policies that are in place that he does not agree with and an intent to willing and knowingly challenge people of authority within said establishment and most likely ruining his little sisters birthday. To me he sounds pretty selfish and inconsiderate, but I don't know the guy so... whatever.
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:55 PM   #13
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Checking my bag is accusing me of stealing. If not, then why check my bag? I dont like it either and I give people that want to check my bags a hard time.

Walmart last night, I checked out of cash register 1, the closest one to the door, and the lady still did not let me go, WTF. It took the cashier telling her I paid before I could go.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:27 PM   #14
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in TX you do have to show driver's license or state ID card. Its the law. It was tested in west TX by a man that said he refused to reveal his drivers license under his 5th amendment privilege against self incrimination. the supreme court didnt' buy it and held that citizens have to show their ID to law enforcement.

shopkeepers also have what is called "shopkeeper's privilege." this allows a store that reasonably suspects someone of stealing to detain that person for a reasonable amount of time. Two people I know had the same thing happen in a sams club (bought a wedding gift on a way to a weddnig, long line at the receipt checker station, late to wedding, skipped line, were tackled in parknig lot and held in detaining room at sams club for 2.5 hours, missed wedding) and they sued sams club for false imprisonment and lost.

apparently if its the stores policy to check all customers receipts as they leave, refusing this gives them reasonable suspicion. IMO, if this is their policy they need to post it somewhere. seems so inefficient to buy things and then have to prove that you bought them to leave the store.
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:47 PM   #15
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"...but I’m allowed by law to look through your bag when you leave."

That's BS. After you've paid for something it's yours, regardless if you're still in the store or not.

Be forwarned though - if the store accuses you of stealing something and you're charged with shoplifting THEY WILL WIN. Regardless of your innocence.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
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you know they check your stuff, don't like the policy don't shop there.
lawful rights take president over store policy. I personally, will defend myself if I feel I am in danger of harm from a store employee.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:15 PM   #17
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you didn't read what I posted about shop keepers privilege. you'll go to jail for battery or assault if you "defend yourself". they aren't there to hurt you, just to detain you. therefore no reasonable threat exists to validate a self defense theory.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:19 PM   #18
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you didn't read what I posted about shop keepers privilege. you'll go to jail for battery or assault if you "defend yourself". they aren't there to hurt you, just to detain you. therefore no reasonable threat exists to validate a self defense theory.
not if they put their hands on you. Any person is allowed by law to defend themselves from harm, if they presume iminent danger of being harmed. and yes you can defend yourself from a police officer(I read the law like 50 times, to make sure, the first time I took the chl class)
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:44 PM   #19
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Where does it stop? Can they check your stuff as they check you out and take your money? Of course - that's where the exchange of goods for money occurs. Again at the door - not me. Once I pay for it, and they take my money and give me a receipt - it is MY property at that point. Suppose you let them check you at the door, then what if they want to check you at your car as you load it, then at a guard gate as you leave the property - BS. I'm like Arturo C - I'll show it to them, but it's on the go, and better be quick. The more people that become sheep - the more our rights go away. If they don't trust me between the register and the door they can escort me - keep an eye on me - etc; but when they take my money and give me a receipt - the stuff is mine. Flame away, but anyone who's been to Walmart with me knows that's exactly what I do and will continue to do. I guarantee you if enough people protest this bullshit violation of rights it will stop - read your history books.
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:48 PM   #20
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Only time i'll stop is at Wal-Mart if I set off the detector thing, cause i've seen people get almost tackled if they dont stop ..

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