By on January 22, 2014

 

HOA Police Courtesy bliptv.com.jpg

Now that most of you have given your tacit approval for TTAC to continue to post stories about police and motorist interaction, please consider this strange case. It all began at 2:10 AM on April 20, 2012 when an officer observed Frederick Weaver weaving and driving an estimated 25 mph in a 15 mph zone in his Acura as he cruised through the Carleton Place town home community in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Weaver was pulled over not by a traditional LEO, but rather by security guard Brett Hunter of the private firm Metro Special Police and Security Services, the Homeowner’s Association police for the community. Officer Hunter’s training for his position consisted of four hours of classroom time and a full day on the gun range. He proceeded to go all Paul Blart on Weaver’s ass, issued him an HOA citation for speeding and radioed nearby agencies for backup as he smelled alcohol on Weaver’s breath but did not possess the power of arrest.

Ten minutes later, an officer arrived from the University of North Carolina Wilmington police force arrived. She realized she had no jurisdiction on the property and called for the Wilmington Police Department to intercede. When they showed up another twenty five minutes later, they found Weaver sitting quietly on a curb. They administer a field sobriety test and arrested him for DUI.

Weaver was subsequently found guilty of driving while impaired and carrying a concealed weapon. He appealed and claimed that the arrest was illegal because the HOA officer had no training in speed and DUI enforcement and was denied his Fourth Amendment “reasonable suspicion” rights. The court agreed, saying Officer Hunter was acting as an agent of the state of North Carolina and thus he was bound by the Fourth Amendment, which he clearly violated.

Last month an appeals panel overturned the court’s ruling. They said that Officer Hunter was not acting as an agent of the state and thus the normal rules of law enforcement did not apply and the bust was legal. “A traffic stop conducted entirely by a nonstate actor is not subject to reasonable suspicion because the Fourth Amendment does not apply,” wrote the appellate court.

In other words, HOA security guards can perform traffic stops that would be illegal for traditional LEOs to conduct. Which means we all can!

YouTube Preview Image

This case will likely end up in a higher court and we will continue to monitor. In the meantime, B&B, should the Del Boca Vista HOA police have such power? And what would you have done if you were the motorist?

 

 

 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

79 Comments on “Court Rules HOA Cops Can Use Illegal Means To Detain You For DUI...”


  • avatar

    Since when did Cops (or the government) believe in the constitution or follow their own laws?

  • avatar
    Jimal

    What powers do the HOA agreement grant to the security firm? It seems that writing purely internal citations for speeding within the development is one of them. If the security company’s job is to provide security for the development, detaining someone on suspicion of DWI until law enforcement gets there seems no different than detaining someone security suspects is about to commit burglary.

    I also get the sense that the driver (or more to the point, his lawyer) is earning his retainer while trying to get his client off on a technicality.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I’m with Jimal. The HOA officer has the right to detain until a LEO can arrive.

      I also take issue with this statement:
      “an officer arrived from the University of North Carolina Wilmington police force arrived. She realized she had no jurisdiction on the property and called for the Wilmington Police ”
      In most states a LEO’s authority to enforce state law (such as DUI) is statewide. The UNCW officer could have made the arrest herself. She instead called in WPD as a courtesy.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    As Barney would say: “I’ve got to get my bud-nipper and nip this in the bud!”

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Well, I wouldn’t live in a HOA community, but whether I did or not, I wouldn’t have stopped for an HOA guard in the first place, or if I did thinking he was a real cop, I’d have driven off once I found out, either leaving his “community” jurisdiction, or getting to my driveway. Unless the “community” guard becomes physically coercive there’s not much he can do.

    • 0 avatar
      hf_auto

      He could still get an HOA ticket. HOAs can foreclose your property for unpaid HOA dues, so I imagine they could foreclose over an unpaid ticket.

      • 0 avatar
        Reino

        So just drive off and pay the HOA fee later. I cannot understand why this driver waited around for over a half hour for a LEO to arrest him when he could have just buzzed off after the HOA cop gave him the ticket.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Reino is right. Aside from drunk driving this guys big mistake was paying any attention at all to a HOA security officer. I, personally, would be laughing to the point of tears if a security guard tried to keep me anywhere. Did the guard threaten him or grab him? I just don’t get it.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            All he had to do was tell Mr HOA rentacop the F off, go into his house, and have a few drinks, or pretend to. If the real cops can’t prove that the intoxication did not occur before or after the meaningless stop, there is no case.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    § 15A-404. Detention of offenders by private persons.
    (b) When Detention Permitted. – A private person may detain another person when he has probable cause to believe that the person detained has committed in his presence:
    (1) A felony,
    (2) A breach of the peace,
    (3) A crime involving physical injury to another person, or
    (4) A crime involving theft or destruction of property.
    _________

    A private security guard is not a cop.

    A minute spent with my friends at Google suggests that North Carolina has no statutory definition of “breach of the peace,” but that it is broadly defined by the courts.

    Privatization ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be, now is it?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      A few questions:

      Would this instance be more like a “citizens arrest” than a police arrest? Can a security guard detain a person without arresting them outside of a private building or grounds?

      If a couple of neighbors or random people had somehow detained Mr. Weaver until the real police showed up would the legality/outcome be any different?

      If the security guard had not detained Mr. Weaver, and Mr. Weaver subsequently hurt or killed somebody while driving drunk would the guard or his employer be liable? In short, was the guard obligated to detain Weaver?

      This issue is more complicated than it first appears and will make an interesting puzzle for courts to sort out.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The state appeals court already sorted it out. It ruled that a rent-a-cop isn’t a real cop.

        http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nc-court-of-appeals/1652785.html

        This is the problem with privatization generally — it is used as a workaround to nullify basic rights, since the Constitution is an agreement between the federal government and its stakeholders (the states and the people), not an agreement amongst individuals.

        We’re seeing this with criminal trials. If you can’t convict the guy in a criminal court, then you can skirt around double jeopardy by just suing him. (Of course, this was A-OK when it was being done to a black ex-football player who had been acquitted of murdering his blonde wife.)

        We see this with freedom of expression. We have to tolerate public protests due to the pesky First Amendment. But we can fix that by moving much of the public sphere onto private property such as shopping malls, where people gather yet have no right to protest.

        We’re reaping what we’ve sown. Maybe we need to rewrite the Constitution so that citizens have obligations to each other, instead of those obligations coming exclusively from the government.

        North Carolina doesn’t technically have a citizen’s arrest statute. But the real-world equivalent is covered by the detention statute that I’ve excerpted above.

        • 0 avatar
          Madroc

          Thanks for the link. Having skimmed it (but not read it closely), it looks like the defendant’s mistake was doing what the rent-a-cop told him to. If he had smiled and said “No thanks, I’m leaving now” when the rent-a-cop told him to sit on the sidewalk and wait to get arrested, none of this might have happened. At a minimum he could have hunkered down in his apartment and waited for a real LEO to come back with a warrant. And knowing nothing at all about these things, I’ve always wondered how implied-consent statutes work if you aren’t driving at the time they try to administer the test.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Privatization is just like regulation. Get it right and you get benefits, screw it up, and you are just making things worse. Privatizing law enforcement and military functions is likely a bad idea every time. Privatizing things which are government monopolies removes the competition essential to private sector advantages. OTOH, privatizing functions that are common private sector services is something worth considering. Thinking you can create a market with managed competition gets you phony competition like the California energy “deregulation”.

      Where I live, the security guards cannot use their flashing lights and sirens while in motion. Pulling someone over is likely to get them arrested for impersonating law enforcement.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        Private security has been around since the beginning of time; this isn’t really a privatization debate. The residents of the subdivision (with the likely exception of Mr. Wagner) obviously think privatization is a good thing; they believed they were not getting enough police protection so they hired a company to provide additional security. Many communities have a thriving private security industry because police patrols do not deter crime & the criminals that are caught bail out of jail within hours; private security fills an need.

        Mr. Wagner getting pulled over and arrested for DUI actually makes a good case for private security: there was a drunk driver (speeding) in the neighborhood and the security guard got him off the road. The police would not have caught him since they were at least 10 minutes away. It sounds like the Carleton Place neighbors got their moneys worth.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          They may not think it was worth it when a poorly trained and led rent-a-cop misuses his firearm resulting in one of their deaths. Or, maybe when one of them pulls over their teenager and accepts services in lieu of payment for the ticket.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Of course, there is an issue of privatization, when it becomes apparent that the Fourth Amendment can simply be privatized away at will.

          One of the flaws of the Constitution is that it does not protect us from each other. And that limitation makes for a lot of loopholes that weaken what is supposed to be a democratic society.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Pch101 – – –

            I consider myself essentially a Constitutionalist, and yet I fully agree with your observation, “One of the flaws of the Constitution is that it does not protect us from each other.”

            If you look at the history of this wonderful (and admittedly inadequate) document, several things are apparent:
            1) The States had just suffered under the heavy hand of real or perceived tyranny from the British Empire;
            2) A very loose confederation of States had not been working;
            3) Any document authorizing a more federalized central government would have to protect citizens from that very government;
            4) All of this, including neighbor-to-neighbor relationships, a “protecting from ourselves”, was dependent on the maintenance of ethics and mores from our Judeo-Christian heritage, with the religious values and behaviors that implies. The Constitution was never meant to be a socially prescriptive document.

            So, this whole thing may not be just an issue of “private” versus “public” police agencies. Either one can be tyranny, with the wrong values. A meager look at the SS of Nazi Germany or the KGB of Soviet Russia can let you know how easily “official” police agencies can be nightmares. And a look at the violent, vigil-ante discrimination against Blacks in pre-1960’s America can show how “private” unofficial law-enforcement can go badly astray.

            The big problem, as I see it, is many people now do not know what reasonable, sensitive behavior is, with regard to neighbors; and don’t know what citizen obligations are with regard to helping their local government (which is us!) and police agencies. If we develop an “us-versus-them” mentality, it makes things worse for enforcement and proper social conduct, not better.

            Given the fact that Mr Weaver had gotten out of the car, what would the result have been if Mr Hunter had simply offered to drive Mr Weaver home, or called a friend of Mr Weaver’s to do so?

            ———————–

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Constitution merely provided a framework for the organization of the federal government, with some clarifications on the limitations on federal authority.

            It did not attempt to manage the relationships among individual citizens, or for that matter, the relationship between the individual states and the individual. That wasn’t their original objective; they were creating one level of government, not the entire social order.

  • avatar
    cirats

    I haven’t looked at the underlying court decisions (or anything else besides this article), but once again, it looks to me as if we have a misleading headline designed to grab attention and make a bigger deal out of something than it really is. Based on the text of this TTAC article, it seems to me that the court just said that an HOA cop isn’t necessarily subject to the same rules as a real cop when it comes to trying to pull someone over. Things the articles DOESN’T say the court ruled include:
    – Whether the driver would have been obligated to pull over for the HOA cop.
    – Whether the driver was obligated to stick around when the HOA cop (or the UNCW officer) tried to detain him.

    A more accurate headline would probably have been “Court Rules HOA Cops Don’t Have to Have Reasonable Suspicion to Try to Pull You Over,” but that probably wouldn’t garner enough attention.

    Honestly, I don’t get the vibe that people mind these sorts of articles, but that what people really get a little irked by the slant that usually gets put on them and the way the story is often twisted in the headline, if not also in the text.

    • 0 avatar
      old5.0

      When was the last time you saw an article on politics or policy in any publication, anywhere, that wasn’t slanted one way or another. Such a creature may exist, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. The slant may be subtle or blatant, but it is always there and complaining about it is akin to complaining about the sun rising.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It will surely improve if nobody says anything, though.

        /sarc

        • 0 avatar
          old5.0

          As long as there has been media, there’s been media bias. Human beings are not objective, no matter how much we like to tell ourselves otherwise. But you think complaining about it is going to change what is essentially a built-in component of human nature? Why don’t you complain about having to breathe for awhile, too. That should be productive and a good use of your time.

      • 0 avatar
        cirats

        It’s not the slant so much as the twisting (and arguably hiding) of the underlying facts in the title and, to a lesser extent, the text in the article. That it what, in my humble opinion, makes this bad journalism and detracts from the site. You want to write a piece about what HOA cops should and shouldn’t be able to do that includes your opinion along with an honest discussion of law cases and other salient background information? I’ve got no issue with that.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    More evidence that it’s time to leave.

    The only viable solution is to dump every last bit of physics and engineering into an interstellar spacecraft or two and find another habitable planet to restart Western Civilization on.

    Exceedingly difficult though it may be to actually pull off, in the long run it’s really the best course of action. If the great horde of mankind wants to be serfs ruled by one megalomaniac or another, fine.

    Let’s put some distance between them and us and try this “representative republic” thing again afresh.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Brett Hunter is not an HOA cop. There is no such thing. He is a private security guard hired by the HOA. He has no more authority to stop a motorist within the HOA’s territory than any private citizen.

    Unless the motorist is a resident, neither they nor their security guard have the authority to levy a fine violating for HOA rules. The most the HOA might be able to do is ban him from the area and charge him with trespassing if he returns. I doubt they can even do that since the streets through the HOA’s territory are public, not private, property.

    The university cop correctly understood the limits of her authority and called in a city cop. The drunk brought on everything that happened to him, first, by driving drunk and, second, by stopping voluntarily for someone who had no authority over him. My suspicion is the guy was too drunk to recognize that Hunter was just a security guard instead of a real cop.

    • 0 avatar
      Madroc

      Exactly. The “arrest” occurred when a real police officer arrived in response to the complaint and found a compliant defendant sitting on the sidewalk. No more “unlawful” than if I call the cops on my neighbor without probable cause, and my neighbor voluntarily lets them inside. The defendant could have simply driven away.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        Yup, I think the focus of the story aught to be once again how to act during a stop, to know your rights and the other guys authority. While this guy needed to be off the road he could have saved him self some grief by knowing what to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      “Unless the motorist is a resident” should read “Unless the motorist is a homeowner”. The HOA’s only legal enforcement method is a property lien and if the motorist is a renter he doesn’t care about that (though his landlord might).

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Im not getting the skin color thing. Was O.J. black? Was his wife blonde? Did the courts change their methods because of this? Musta missed that.

    • 0 avatar
      Drewlssix

      I think the point was that some people who generally disapprove of our civil court system and the number of lawsuits many of those same people approved of that system when it was used effectively to punish a man they felt got away with murder.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        That hyporcrisy is certainly another aspect of this.

        My complaint above is about the use of the civil courts to do an end run around double jeopardy protections. Our system gives the prosecution one shot at the ring, and it makes no sense on its face to allow someone who was acquitted of a criminal act to be made financially liable for the very same act.

        If people object to such basic concepts of criminal justice such as double jeopardy, then they should at least have the cajones to admit that they have no respect for the kind of due process that we expect in a democracy.

        • 0 avatar
          Drewlssix

          I get your saying, there may be grounds for legally separating criminal and civil courts some to prevent the sort of collusion between miffed criminal prosecutors/DAs and civil courts just to exact a punishment. But I also feel the civil courts are very important. And that they work fairly well (probably better than the criminal courts) despite the way the media and many people portray it. You always hear about the latest outrageous suit being filed and you naturally think the system must be fucked, but you rarely hear about most of those being thrown out BECAUSE they were crazy or accurate reporting of the ones that do go to trial and get settled. Hot coffee is one that always gets me worked up! A tip for those with opinions, basing yours on David lettermans monologue is not a great idea!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m all for civil courts. At the very least, it’s preferable to have people settle their disputes in a courtroom than to use duels, brawls and gangland justice.

            What I oppose is using the civil courts whenever the prosecutor fails to obtain a guilty verdict. It’s one thing to sue for damages if the defendant is convicted — as far as we’re concerned, he did it. It’s quite another when a jury has decided that the evidence was lacking.

          • 0 avatar
            Japanese Buick

            @Pch it’s not that simple. Should the family of a murdered breadwinner be foreclosed from recovering from the killer because the prosecutor blew it, or made a sweetheart plea deal? Generally in a civil suit the plaintiff is the actual victim, not the state. And the burden of proof and rules of evidence are different since it’s “only” money at stake, not someone’s life or freedom.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Should the family of a murdered breadwinner be foreclosed from recovering from the killer…”

            Yes. You needed to prove that the defendant was guilty, and you failed.

            Basically, you want the right to ignore verdicts that don’t please you. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with the system — we need to be able to live with the outcomes, otherwise we end up with kangaroo courts and lip service instead of justice.

        • 0 avatar
          Nedmundo

          I have no problem with criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits arising out of the same incident for a variety of reasons, but few people realize that the double jeopardy clause does not preclude separate state and federal criminal prosecutions based on exactly the same acts. So, the state might lose, but if the Feds are so motivated, they can prosecute separately. The state and federal governments are viewed as separate sovereigns, prosecuting under different laws, such that dual prosecutions do not violate the double jeopardy clause.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The only reason he could take that 15mph bend at 25mph was because of the superior SH-AWD. I blame Acura.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    The Appeals Court got this right. Please read the facts carefully. Weaver was stopped within the HOA community at 2:00 AM for careless and reckless driving. Upon realizing that he may be impaired, the security guard requested he get out of his vehicle and sit on the curb. Weaver complied and did not protest. There is nothing in the record to suggest that he was obligated to comply with the guard’s commands. He could have left. Yes, that is a hypothetical, and the guard was armed, but he could have driven off or told the guard to pound sand. But, at 2:00 AM, Weaver in all likelihood was to bleep-faced to realize where he was and who he was dealing with.

    The 4th Amendment applies solely to state actors; i.e. law enforcement and bona fide agents of the state. This is an important distinction. The decision does not give NC security guards special police powers that will allow them to avoid 4th Amendment requirements.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Something like this actually happened to me. A man in an official looking sedan pulls up next to me at a light. Flashes what appears to be a badge and motions me to pull over. I had been speeding so it appeared to be legit. I pull over he gets out and pulls out a standard issue cell phone, then CALLS the police and tries to get someone to come to where we were to issue a ticket.

    I just took off shaking my head in disbelief.

  • avatar
    mikey

    ” Its time to leave”

    Okay come to Ontario. You can get caught in a spot check {no probable cause If the cop is having a bad day, or just doesn’t like you. He, or she, can hand you a three day suspension, impound your car, and inform your insurance company.

    What if you blow zero? ” Oh you must of been smoking pot your eyes are red”…
    Yeah you might get your day in court. Your still walking for three days. It’s going to still cost you a Hundred to get your car back. We have made our police officers, into judges, jurys, and jailers.

    To my American friends… While you may have had some of your rights eroded by the.. “We know whats best for you”…crowd. In Canada when it comes to DUI, we are slowly moving towards a police state.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    I grew up in an HOA community (and will never BUY in an HOA community…) with security guards patrolling the area. When I look at the facts presented in this article, I don’t see anything to get so riled up about. This stinks of contrived activism from TTAC.

    First- the guy wasn’t “detained”, he was sitting on the curb (and probably could’ve just walked away). The article sounds like we’ll all be hogtied in the trunk of a rent-a-cop’s trunk.

    Second, and most important- HOAs are often family-dense areas. Would the author prefer to let drunks drive through neighborhoods? I saw my friend’s mother struck and killed by my drunk neighbor. The situation presented in this article is more than reasonable given what I saw those families go through. I’m all for anyone taking those clowns off the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Second, and most important … Would the author prefer to let drunks drive through neighborhoods?”

      Accepting the notion that some crimes can be too important for standard civil rights to apply is accepting that those rights aren’t rights at all.

      Granting stop and detain powers to private rentacops scares me a hell of a lot more than 25 in a 15 does.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        The judgement grants nothing to the Blart that you and I don’t already have. All it dose is confirm that like us they are not beholden to the rules that apply to agents of the state.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Not for one moment, do I think we should allow DUI without accountability . However as citizens of a free country. We are entitled to fair justice, administered by real police officers , and judges. Not some power happy amateur,with a uniform and a badge.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    I own two homes in neighborhoods that have HOAs and I am getting ready to sell them both this spring. I will never ever ever live in a neighborhood with an HOA again. Next time I am getting 3-5 acres and building on it. It is like paying to have yourself tortured, and I don’t even live in an area with Draconian HOAs like Florida.

    I don’t know what kind of clown court this is, but there is no way that this should have been ruled legal.

    • 0 avatar
      jd418197

      “It is like paying to have yourself tortured, and I don’t even live in an area with Draconian HOAs like Florida.”

      It’s more like “agreeing to pay to have yourself tortured,” since presumably you agreed to the HOA provisions to which you’re bound. I don’t disagree with your conclusion; I just thought I’d point out something people often forget – the HOA has authority because the owners grant them that authority. Meaning – and this part isn’t directed at VenomV12 – if you agree not to point your door pink at the closing, then paint it pink the next day, you really can’t complain about the HOA enforcing its right to remedy.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I’ve seen and heard enough to know that I’ll never be under an HOA either. Their primary function is to keep property values high at all costs, by making everyone look the same and live the same, and project the illusion of the “model American community.” Not the way I would want to live.

  • avatar
    donutguy

    What would I have done?

    Hopefully, I would have had a 6 pack in the car- I would have immediately thrown the car keys out the window and slammed every beer I had.

    Sure, I might get arrested for public intoxication and having an open container of alcohol but there would be no way to prove I was driving under the influence.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    Unless I missed something when I skimmed the opinion, there wasn’t an HOA here, it was a rental community (townhouse/apartment complex) near a college campus.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The place in question is a condo complex with a HOA, although the appeals case makes it sound as if there are a lot of students who live (and presumably rent) there.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    Lol@ stopping for HOA security. I would never live or step foot in a HOA. Secondly, the guy should have left.

    Also I think there is a typo, it should read George Zimmerman.

    Lastly, speaking of illegal detention, let me introduce you to NYC Shomrim. Below videos were filmed in Brooklyn, NY, not Israel.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Jx8U-czwIGE&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DJx8U-czwIGE

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=h_IlojBiigM

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LYK-zu8MwnI

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YXzB8-8ZTk8

    Regualr joe blows, that detain, arrest and harass people on public streets. I want to send BTSR there to do burn outs and be arrested by them.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Lol@ stopping for HOA security.”

      That’s what I was thinking. This guy surrendered himself to someone with no authority. I don’t see this as a constitutional issue at all. The appeals court seems to have got it right. The HOA guard did nothing more than a citizen’s arrest and waited for cops to arrive to administer the law.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    If he lived in the community I would argue that correct response for the security guard would have been to assist him getting home safely. No doubt people will disagree with me but thats part of life. I am not part of the “lock em up and throw em away” crowd. I believe the purpose of society is to assist people when they make mistakes not so called punish them by making them wards of the state and or ruining their respective chances at being a productive member of society.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    This sounds like click bait to me too, misleading headline and content as well. A security guard has the right to request someone to stop, and an obligation to call police when they suspect someone is committing an illegal act. So does any private citizen for that matter. Nothing illegal or even immoral about this, I would hope that my neighbors would attempt to alert the police to someone trying to break into my home or cars or driving drunk through my neighborhood and I don’t even have an HOA. The guy could have left, he wasn’t being “detained” or even “arrested”, the security guard was performing his job. This ruling has nothing to do with real police officers or supporting anyone overstepping any boundaries. Nor does it have anything to do with supporting security guards (or private citizens) committing illegal acts like shooting someone who is innocent. The guy acted appropriately for the situation and the “suspect” was taken off the road. What’s the problem here??

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The issue here is that you have security guards who do everything that they can to impersonate cops without crossing the line that makes their actions illegal. They wear uniforms that look similar to police uniforms, carry guns and other accoutrements typical of cops in a fashion that they resemble police-issue equipment, and may even drive cars that resemble squad cars. And then they behave like cops when they approach you.

      These people are licensed by the state, with a state-approved training regimen, with the understanding that they will act like junior cops. It’s fair to question the theory that people who are given permits to behave like frontline police aren’t acting under state authority. The appeals court ruled that there was no gray area, and that black-and-white logic has some obvious flaws to it, given the circumstances and the implications.

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        I would agree there would be grey area at the least IF the permit issued by the government gave them any authority beyond that of a regular citizen. But it dose not, all it dose as allow these people to conduct a business just like getting a CDL FFL or dealership license. These people do often do as much as possible to imitate an officer but as long as they remain within the law it is simply up to you and I to know what our rights are and what authority if any they have.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The obvious rebuttal is that the license and training create a difference.

          The state law obviously sees a difference between someone who is licensed and someone who isn’t. If there’s no supposedly difference at all between a regular civilian and a licensed security guard, then what exactly is the point of requiring a license for it?

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @PCH – I dont see that as an issue at all, and certainly not a new issue. As long as I can remember we have had security guards at malls, gated communities, patrolled communities, amusement parks, etc etc. They have always dressed like cops, acted like cops, and had some authority to at least attempt to detain citizens suspected of criminal activity. This is no different. No one granted them any special powers or rights. The guy just tried to get a pass on drunk driving over some technicality and lost. I say good. I cannot understand these people who think this guy should have gotten a ride home. He didn’t lose his car keys or get lost in a strange area. He drove drunk and he deserves to be pay the price.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “No one granted them any special powers or rights.”

          Apparently, North Carolina doesn’t agree, otherwise there wouldn’t be a license requirement.

          The license makes it pretty clear that it isn’t merely a right. Licenses need to be earned, they can be denied, and they can be revoked.

          That being said, I don’t necessarily fault the court for the decision. This is something that the state legislature could fix through new law…and you can rest assured that the elected representatives won’t be lifting a finger in order to increase our protections against their licensees.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    I just skimmed the story and comments…Are the streets in this HOA public or private?

  • avatar
    smartascii

    I don’t think the court is commenting here on whether the private security firm’s employee does or does not have a right to detain people. Mr. Weaver appears to be asserting that because the person who originally detained him was not properly trained in determining whether his driving created a reasonable suspicion that he was drunk, his arrest, subsequently performed by an LEO with jurisdiction and training, should be thrown out. The first court agreed, and the appeals panel disagreed. He could have driven away. He could have tossed the rent-a-cop his keys and chugged a fifth of whiskey. But he didn’t.

    I don’t think it’s fair to extrapolate from this that anybody can now arrest anybody, and that any power-hungry high school dropout with a gun, a Cobalt and a bubble light can lock you up for anything he wants.

    I am, however, troubled at the idea that anyone other than a state actor can do anything like detaining someone. I don’t think non-LEOs should have uniforms, badges, lights on their cars, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The appeals court essentially ruled that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect you from being detained by a private citizen. The real cop needs to have reasonable suspicion to justify the stop; rent-a-cop does not.

      “In sum, the trial court erred in granting defendant’s motion to suppress because Hunter was not a state actor. Therefore, his traffic stop of defendant did not require reasonable suspicion.”

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        So if I drive down the road and motion to the driver in front of me to pull over and he does, and I then presume to walk up to the car and speak to the driver as a police officer would, how am I not charged with impersonating a police officer?

        Rent-a-cop in this scenario is as a civilian attempting to use police powers. By ruling he was not representing the state, wouldn’t this open him up to such an impersonation charge?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I think this is one of those issues that open up a whole can of worms of interpretation. If you never actually say you’re a cop and just let the person you pulled over assume you are because of your demeanor, who’s fault is that?

  • avatar
    Power6

    The failure I see here is the private cop is not acting in the interest of the community really, he is acting in his own interest, perhaps to not be a fake cop and show his DUI “catch” to the real cops. If I was the HOA I would fire that force.

    Should have just given the guy a ride home. I know this is not likely with the small minds running HOAs and seeking employment as private security, but it is unfortunate.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Officer Hunter’s training for his position consisted of four hours of classroom time and a full day on the gun range.”

    So… rent-a-cops are armed in these sort of complexes (in other states)? I can’t recall seeing these sorts of folks armed here, although most townhouse/condo facilities do not have 24/hr security.

    Sounds like theoretically a person making near minimum wage, whose training lasted a day, and whose job is to drive around an enclosed condo facility, can take you out. That’s swell.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I was surprised to read this far down the comments before finding someone else horrified that this security force carries firearms with apparently little education or training.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I truly am, its just an OJ style case waiting to happen.

        Here’s another loophole, if I own a property can I then hire my brother and his friends as private security and they be able to circumvent the protections of the Fourth Amendment?

        • 0 avatar
          mnm4ever

          @28 — Yea I think you can do that. Or at least you brother and his friends might have to get licensed to be private security officers but then I do think you can do this completely legally. Of course they won’t have any REAL authority either, just the ability to hassle people who come on your property and I suppose they could do that anyways!

          As for the guns, I think it depends a lot on where you are. In Florida I believe they have to be licensed to carry firearms and most private security I see are not armed. In DCVAMD it was even more strict IIRC, as becoming licensed to be an armed security guard on government properties up there was a very lucrative job. But this incident happened in North Carolina which I think is a fairly gun friendly state. And really, since most people who carry firearms receive practically zero training why would the security guards be any better???

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          @ 28-Cars – You mean George Zimmerman, rather than OJ?

  • avatar

    Several years ago, I was driving through PA (I-81 TO i-78) headed to NJ to visit my parents. I look behind me and see two cop cars. I keep slowing down, they keep slowing down, eventually they pull me over and inform me that someone had called in my truck/plate number and said I had cut him off and it looked like I was driving drunk.

    Clearly, they could tell the only thing I had been drinking was coffee, because they ran my license and let me go. But if a private citizen calling in a tip can be enough to get someone pulled over, and presumably arrested had I actually been drinking, I don’t see why a tip from a private citizen who works for a security guard company wouldn’t be.

  • avatar
    Goldry Bluszco

    Once when I was in Jeff Co Country Court the guy in front of me had been for drunk driving by a security company. The drink driving guy had decided to go for a nice drive by the reservoir. If you turn left at the end of the road you go into a small suburb way south of Denver. Turn right and you go straight into the heart of Lockheed Martin, formerly Martin Marietta, Engineering. A lot of NASA projects are housed there. If the Security had not stopped him then the Airmen behind them would have.

    The judge ruled the case could go forward despite being done with a weird citizens arrest.

  • avatar
    April

    I’m more concerned this rent-a-cop had more time on the shooting range than in the classroom…

    o_O


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States