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eden2eve's avatar

Have you ever been unjustly detained or arrested? If so, what did you do about it?

Asked by eden2eve (3693 points ) May 26th, 2010

Once I was in a department store shopping for my daughter, having her try on clothing. I was very careful to show the cashier everything I took in and brought out of the dressing room.

After we left the store and were some distance from the mall, we were pulled over by a police car, and I could see someone with him who had been “shopping” in the same department. Our car and baggage were all searched, with my permission, and they found nothing. This was a great embarrassment, to myself as well as my daughter. Of course, there were no apologies, by either the officers or the representative of the business. After this incident, I read in the newspaper of several similar cases, also involving innocent people, committed by the same department store.

Later I wished that I had done something about this, but I was so shocked and upset that I just wanted to put it behind me and not think about it.

Have you ever had the experience of being dealt with unjustly by a business or by the legal establishment? If so, how did you handle it?

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5 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Yeah passover at my MIL’s! I called 911 and they said there was nothing they could do to help! Scarred me for life!

reverie's avatar

No, I’m happy to say that I haven’t been arrested or detained.

I just wanted to comment to say that I’m absolutely horrified by your story and found what you experienced absolutely sickening. I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before, or at least not to anyone in my acquaintance. I think it’s outrageous that your dignity and privacy was breached in this way, and even more insulting that you received no apology for their incorrect assumption of your guilt.

Sometimes, I think people here (in the UK) are very quick to start shouting about “human rights” when anything comes up to do with CCTV/arresting/searching people and so on, and that in the grand scheme of things, being stopped and searched by a policeman is a minor incident when compared to the sorts of human rights violations that occur with regularity in other countries. Having said that, my perception is that these sorts of experiences are happening more and more in Western countries, and even more alarmingly, I think this treatment is almost becoming socially acceptable. In my view, this is not an acceptable way to treat an innocent person. I understand that innocent people can and do have to be subjected to these sorts of experiences sometimes in order to achieve justice and to keep communities safe. However, I see no reason why apologies can’t be made to those people who have done nothing wrong.

In terms of how I would respond if I was in your situation, firstly, I would never give my custom to that business again, and I would urge close friends and family members to do the same. Secondly, I would lodge a formal complaint with the business stating a clear but reasonable time limit for when you expect to receive their response, and if you do not hear back, or the response is not to your satisfaction, try taking the issue up with an independent regulatory body (here in the UK, there are ombudsmen that can deal with these sorts of complaints – I don’t know if you have anything similar!).

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

False arrest is a crime in itself. I would complain to the police department. I would also take my business elsewhere.

I should add that I used to get pulled over all the time before the Supreme Court outlawed spot checks for license and registration, c. 1979. Those were the consequences of looking like a roadie for the Grateful Dead.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Once while in college I was out walking downtown at 4 AM (college kids, go figure!) in the wintertime, wearing jeans and a jean jacket, boots, gloves and a knit cap. I was walking by storefronts and looking in windows—just like anyone would do during the daylight.

I suppose that looked suspicious, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when a cop in a prowl car stopped me. He was somewhat belligerent in demanding to know why I was there at that time of night and what I was doing… so I answered him the same way: “I have a right to be here.”

Bad move. He frisked me and found the joints I had rolled and carried with me most of the time in those days. “What’s this?” he asked. “Merri juana?” (There were two of them, rolled in red paper and stored in a small glass jar. I may have already been high. It wasn’t the toughest deduction on his part.) He kept the joints, and when he finally found my ID and I told him I was a student at Worcester Tech—not known then as a hotbed of radicalism, crime, delinquency or vandalism, he let me go.

I probably should have just shut up at that point and let it go and thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse (“merri juana” was looked at differently in the early 70s by law enforcement, even in Worcester), but I asked him for his badge number. As if I were going to file a complaint!

I think I was on the bubble then. He may have been deciding whether to run me in and make this a righteous bust… but instead he told me his badge number and then smirked at me like, “What’re you gonna do about it, college boy? I’m going to enjoy your joints and you ain’t going to do anything more than sulk about it.” And he was right about that.

I suppose he enjoyed the joints. I smoked good shit. (But not for much longer.)

woodcutter's avatar

while in the army living in the barracks there was a surprise room search and a small amount of weed was found up inside the ceiling. It was up there before I was moved into the room but they weren’t in the mood to listen to any of my explanations sooooooooooo off to the police station in cuffs I went. Along with a half dozen others. There was enough opinion from others to get those with the power to let me go as I really was in that room for such a short time and the guy that was living there was a known jellyhead so they blamed it on him(he had since gotten out of the army) What did I do about it? There wasn’t much I could do really, except I did move off post into my own apt. That fixed it.

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