Casual Mistaken Arrest

April 5, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More

A friend has recently blogged about her experience being informally arrested and handcuffed around the corner from her apartment in the afternoon. She was going for a walk, and police pulled up, told her they had a warrant, handcuffed her, and then began checking her identity. She certainly wasn’t who they were looking for, nor did the incident last a long time.

I think that her peaceful Zen attitude, presumably nun-induced, kept it from being an experience worth suing about.

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Category: American Culture, Civil Rights, Law, law and order

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (4)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    "Sorry, ma'am."

    I guess those two words fully compensate for the stress, embarrassment and ineptitude. How convenient.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    If you're the police, what's the first thing you do when you raid a store? Disable the video cameras, of course. You don't want evidence of what the police are doing in the store, do you?

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    something similar happened to me when I was a teen.

    I was sitting at a small park, reading a copy of MAD magazine while to catch a ride with a friend back to college after spring break when the police nabbed me.

    Apparently a nearby convenience store had been robbed, and one of the two robbers was wearing a blue shirt. It happened that I was also wearing a blue shirt.

    I was taken to the convenience store for an id and the clerk remembered me buying the comic book and said I wasn't with the robbers.

    I realized that had seen the robbers goin into the store as I was leaving earlier, and gave a better description of the robberss and the car they were in.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    The above post is not nearly as disturbing as the story about a police SWAT team that stormed the wrong house…and where the person living in the house — an immigrant who did not understand much English — believed that criminals had broken into his home and so began shooting at them to protect his family. See:
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007…. The police said they had acted on faulty information, but what if it had been an error by the police themselves? And what if the police had fatally shot someone with their return fire? And what if the house had been your home?

    Niklaus' anecdote is also disturbing in that the police procedure was inherently likely to produce false positives. A proper 'line up' includes a series of photographs, where the witness must correctly pick the suspect from among a set of similar-looking persons who are known to be innocent.

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