Claims for Security Misconduct

Private security forces often fill the role of law enforcement when it comes to protecting private property, such as a restaurant or store.  However, security officers (including everyone from "bouncers" to store loss prevention agents) are not entitled to make an arrest or use force that is unreasonable under the circumstances.  A wrongful arrest by a police officer may not give rise to liability and recoverable damages, but the actions of a security officer in the same situation may give rise to a claim for compensation.

There Must Be a Crime Committed

As a general rule, a security officer can only take someone into their custody when the person being apprehended has actually committed a crime.  There are certain limited exceptions to this rule.  For example, a store loss prevention agent need only have "probable cause" to believe someone is stealing or has stolen something before the subject can be lawfully detained.   However, what amounts to probable cause is subject to interpretation, and most stores have internal policies precluding their loss prevention agents from making probable cause stops.  In nearly all other security contexts, the person apprehended must have actually committed a crime or the detention/arrest is illegal.

Excessive Force Cannot Be Used

The amount of force a security officer can use to effect a lawful arrest must be reasonable.  Generally, when a private security officer takes someone into custody in order to turn them over to the police later they cannot use more force than that necessary to overcome any resistance offered.  If a security officer throws a punch or a kick to the body or face of someone they are arresting, there must be substantial justification or they will be held liable for any injuries and damages they caused.  

If you or a loved one has been the victim of security misconduct, an experienced personal injury attorney can present this to the other party's insurance company in order to get you the compensation you deserve. You don't have to be a silent victim. 


Recent Posts