As reported recently in LPM Insider’s Breaking News, a widely circulated online video has fueled debate over whether a loss prevention associate used excessive force in an encounter with a 16-year-old girl accused of shoplifting.
According to police, the loss prevention representative approached two female teenagers as they attempted to leave the store with “miscellaneous items” they allegedly tried to take from the store without payment. When they were approached, one of the teenagers began kicking and punching the loss prevention representative, later biting him on the chest, before being taken to the ground as the loss prevention representative attempted to subdue the alleged shoplifter. The other teenager fled the scene.
Roughly 10 – 12 other customers gathered around the area and shouted at the loss prevention representative throughout the incident. Much of the altercation was captured on video, which can be viewed here.
Many have taken issue with the video’s depiction of how the loss prevention representative handled the situation, accusing him of being too rough with the juvenile. Others have criticized those seen watching the altercation, while still others are defending the loss prevention representative’s actions as warranted given the circumstances.
What do you think? Was the loss prevention representative justified in his actions, or was excessive force used as he tried to subdue the shoplifter?
The nature of the apprehension process always has the potential to lead to volatile situations, which is why it’s critically important to follow your training and abide by company policies.
Approximately 63% of those surveyed believe the LP representative’s actions were justified based on the situation. By the same respect, 15 percent believe that the LP representative should have allowed the shoplifter to leave when she resisted.
Contrarily, just 2 percent believe that while the LP representative has the right to defend himself, excessive force was used. Another 4 percent feel that the actions of the LP representative were inappropriate and excessive force was used.
Others feel that they still need more information, with 16 percent indicating that they are not sure based on what was seen in the video.
Here is a sampling of your comments:
“Since the entire video, from the approach to apprehension isn’t seen it’s hard to say with absolute certainty. What I do find disturbingly normal in today’s society is that not one of the bystanders yells at the shoplifting subject to stop fighting. they just seem to focus on the LP agent and yell at him to let her go. I have been in similar situations and it boggles my mind that society’s initial reaction is to blame the agent, or police and never the wrong-doer.”
“When a suspect begins punching, kicking and ultimately biting you it becomes a matter of self-defense. Without knowing medical issues or diseases the subject could have infected the officer with after biting him, they should be detained for examination and identification.”
“The best course of action probably would have been to let her go as someone, whether the shoplifter, the LP person, or a customer could have been hurt. However, this was absolutely not an excessive use of force.”
“If the LP Rep had tried to let her leave and she continued to try to fight him, then these actions were completely justified.”
“Store management needed to have helped more. The shoplifter could have been removed to a back area of the store to wait for police.”
“Looks to me more like the two of them stumbled to the ground rather than the LP guy “taking her to the ground”. While no one will agree that aggressive action is the best action. I would by no means call this excessive force, especially in light of the teenager’s aggression.”
“First off, the video is inconclusive. It only shows what happened in the middle of the whole ordeal. Should the LP just let her go? Yes, he should have, but we also have the right to defend ourselves. To have a shoplifter come out kicking and swinging after simply being approached is going to set a ton of emotions into play that many people might not be prepared to handle.”
“Where do we draw the line on self-defense vs. excessive force? Once again, this is the issue with our society today—if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Stop making excuses for punks that break the law!”
“The video is misleading. It does not show the initial contact between the LP representative and the shoplifter. There isn’t enough information from this video to make an informed observation. Anyone who says otherwise is incorrect.”
“The actions of some the “bystanders” in the video should also be questioned.”
“Defending oneself is one thing but the minute things became combative and with all the attention due to shoppers and employees—and especially with the scene being caused—he should have immediately disengaged and allowed her to leave.”
“This is why I left the industry. No matter what wisdom this LP agent used to address this threat, he will be patronized by the media and disciplined by his management—all for doing his job!”
Do you have any additional thoughts? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments below.