Shoplifting by Concealment and Assault & Battery on Police Officer charges dismissed.
- Steven Topazio wrote this August 7, 2018 at 6:40 pm
The client who was at TJ Max was accused of shoplifting by store security when she passed all points of purchase with store merchandise. Store security alleged that the client left the store with several pairs of earrings without paying for them but when asked returned the earrings to store security. Store security did not take the client into custody nor obtained any information from her after she left the store and once outside the client refused to return to the store with security. A detail officer who was in the area was asked to assist store security in stopping the client. The detail officer alleged that he only wanted to speak to the client and not arrest her, but when the client refused to speak with the officer the police officer grabbed the client and in the process of subduing her claimed that the client bit him on the leg so he arrested her for assault and battery on a police officer. Attorney Topazio argued that the police had no right to stop his client if she didn’t wish to speak with him nor did the police have probable cause to arrest his client for shoplifting when the officer tried to subdue his client. Attorney Topazio argued that the interaction with police that resulted in the Assault and Battery on a Police Officer charge was caused by police who acted without lawful authority. Although store security alleged to have made observations of his client that were consistent with shoplifting, Attorney Topazio pointed out that the store security failed to provide a statement of those observations to the police officer when they asked the police officer for assistance in stopping his client as required by statute and as such the arrest of his client was made without probable cause. According to the shoplifting statute, MGL c. 266 section 30A, “Law enforcement officers may arrest without warrant any person he has probable cause for believing has committed the offense of shoplifting and that the statement of a merchant or his employee or agent that a person has violated a provision of [the shoplifting statute] shall constitute probable cause for arrest by any law enforcement officer authorized to make an arrest in such jurisdiction.” The court agreed and dismissed all charges.