Tennessee Suspends And Opens Investigation Of Police Officer Who Shoved Walmart Receipt Checker

Earlier this month, we wrote about a Tennessee police officer who shoved a 71-year-old Walmart greeter to the ground after he tried to check his receipt. He originally wasn’t going to face charges; now he’s been suspended and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into it.

Detective Kenneth Freeman was leaving the Walmart with another officer when the greeter asked to see his receipt and reached for it. Freeman shoved the greeter into a vending machine. When another customer tried to intervene, Freeman allegedly pushed him through a glass door.

The best part?

Officer Freeman was on-duty at the time of the incident, the report states. He said he stopped at the Wal-Mart with another officer to buy last-minute Christmas gifts.

TBI Investigating Chattanooga Cop’s Wal-Mart Conduct [Chattanooga Free Press] Thanks, John!
(Photo: dooleymtv)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. taney71 says:

    The illegal things I have seen police officers do is sometimes shocking if I sit down and think about it. I personally love seeing them run red lights. Just venting. Nothing real to add here.

    • dddoistutter says:

      @taney71: I think almost everyone can second this…the number of times I’ve seen a CHP officer make a last-minute exit over the median: many. The number of times I’ve seen a cop outside my house (live close to a station) pull up to a stop sign at 2:00am, then so a burn out: more than you would imagine.

      • dddoistutter says:

        @dddoistutter: so = do, obviously >.<

      • Chongo says:

        @dddoistutter: I have many stories as well, but I dont think going through a stop sign or red light is a big deal. I’ve talked to some cops before and they always say that the rule of thumb is that they need to keep moving as much as possible while on duty. dont know if thats right or wrong but I think its what they are told to do.

        However, yeah… people always say “You know, theres still good cops out there” but its getting harder and harder to tell with how they treat us little people.

        • supercereal says:

          @Chongo: You or I would get pulled over in a second if we go through a red light/stop sign [because it’s dangerous], but a cop should be able to do it without anyone giving it a second though [i.e it’s not dangerous when a cop does it]?

          Whether or not they have to “keep moving as much as possible,” they are not above the law. If I can’t do it, then cops can’t do it either. Small things like that create a slippery slope to corrupt and dangerous cops like this.

          • Ben_Q2 says:

            @supercereal: And who would give them the ticket? And who would pay for the ticket?

            • audemars says:

              @Ben_Q2: therein lies the problem.

            • midniteslayr says:

              @Ben_Q2: Quite literally, there is nothing short of Citizen’s Arrest that can be done. I honestly think that any town that has a police department should have an independent Citizen’s Review Board that each law enforcement officer be required to attend every month, and this would effect any bonuses or raises the officer is trying to obtain. We need to have some way to evaluate them so we as citizens can weed out the bad ones. Sadly, the police stick with their own.

              • XTC46 says:

                @midniteslayr: The problem with this, is what people see as right and wrong is usually way out of context. People don’t like being punished when they are wrong, so very few cops will get good reviews becasue the people who show up will be those who are mad, not the happy ones.

                • smythe says:

                  @xtc46: Hmm, you are a police officer huh.

                  Trust me I’ve got some stories about bad cops that NO ONE could could take out of context.

                • ChibaCityCowboy says:

                  @xtc46: It sounds like you are a police officer who as you say won’t “like being punished when they are wrong”

            • AliyaBabasaur says:

              @Ben_Q2: If you see a cop doing something illegal, there is no reason why you shouldn’t write down his or her car # (usually written on the side or bumper) or at least his or her license plate number, and report it at the very least to the department to which he or she belongs. Beyond that, I would share that information with your city, town or borough’s elected officials. For a particularly egregious or repeated offense, I would consider contacting some media outlets. But at the very least, the offending officer should be reported to his or her own department. It is fully within your rights to take video or any other recording of a police officer in public.

              • Beerad says:

                @AliyaBabasaur: “If you see a cop doing something illegal, there is no reason why you shouldn’t write down his or her car # (usually written on the side or bumper) or at least his or her license plate number, and report it at the very least to the department to which he or she belongs. Beyond that, I would share that information with your city, town or borough’s elected officials.”

                Hah hah hah! Hahahahaha! HahhahahahHAHAHAHA!

                Oh, sorry. I live in New York City. If I bothered to try and report all (or even just one of) the cops I witness breaking traffic laws, the NYPD would: 1) simply not understand what I was calling about; 2) burst out laughing when they realized what I was calling about; and 3) stop accepting any calls from my number. And that’s probably best case scenario — god forbid I should get some cop in trouble and end up on his shit list.

                • TheWillow says:

                  @Beerad: to be fair, if you bothered to report all of the *civilians* you see breaking traffic laws without getting a ticket, you’d have one heck of a phone bill… No one in NYC gets traffic tickets unless they’re really obvious about it… I saw a guy make a left turn on red *cutting off* a cop on a motorcycle. He freaking earned it.

                • P_Smith says:

                  @Beerad: Oh, sorry. I live in New York City. If I bothered to try and report all (or even just one of) the cops I witness breaking traffic laws, the NYPD would: 1) simply not understand what I was calling about; 2) burst out laughing when they realized what I was calling about; and 3) stop accepting any calls from my number. And that’s probably best case scenario — god forbid I should get some cop in trouble and end up on his shit list.

                  Have you never thought of calling from a payphone?

              • floraposte says:

                @AliyaBabasaur: I had a coworker who did this. This resulted in two odd things: a phone call to her from the police officer whose driving she complained about, and the discovery that he was her nephew. I’m hoping he wouldn’t have called otherwise, but I thought it was a little freaky that they passed on the complainant’s info to the officer in question.

              • trujunglist says:

                @AliyaBabasaur:

                You’ve never been to California? This state is all about the crazy cop drivers, but hey, it’s not like they’re out of place or something.

              • AliyaBabasaur says:

                @trujunglist: @AliyaBabasaur: “If you see a cop doing something illegal, there is no reason why you shouldn’t write down his or her car #”

                I mean’t to say “no reason why you can’t”

          • ceilingFANBOY says:

            @supercereal: Sure, they can use the “keep moving” argument because the more they are moving, the more places they can check… but who’s to say that the 15 seconds farther down the road they are because they ran through stop signs isn’t going to cause them to pass a crime about to happen before it happens? Catching things while on patrol is just a matter of being at the right place at the right time, so whether they stop at the stop sign or not, they are equally likely to spot something happen. If anything, I would think they would be more likely to spot something happening if they drove the speed limit, stopped at stop signs and red lights, and drove like any normal, safe, observant driver.

          • XTC46 says:

            @supercereal: actually, it is significantly less dangerous for a police office with a blue light on the top of his car, proper driver training, etc to run a red light or stop sign at 2am then it would be for average joe to run it.

            • shepd says:

              @xtc46:

              So, snow plow operators should be able to run red lights too? :-)

              [www.swscanada.com]

              And apart from the few times the cops are actually in pursuit proper, this is what I see:

              - 50/50 chance the cop flicks the lights only on for 2 seconds to cause the sensor in the traffic light to trip to emergency all-red mode (they usually only bother doing this at night)

              - ALWAYS the police car (including the unmarked ones, which is an ever increasing amount that do illegal [here] pull-overs of speeders) drives through the traffic lights with his lights off

              How is that safe in the middle of the night? The only thing the cop has is his training, but they do this not only at the intersection that is consistently ranked as the most dangerous at our city*…

              …but on a very popular 70 km/h+ road (marked, actual traffic speed ~95 km/h) at the top of hills with blind corners. No amount of training will stop you avoiding a collision with a tractor trailer running over your car. Which in the past 5 years I’ve seen happen to a cruiser not just once, but TWICE (okay, second time I believe was a bus, same awsomely bad intersection). The first time the entire police car (except the engine) was covered by the cab of the tractor trailer–I believe the officer died.

              * – This intersection is particularly awesome. It doesn’t have blind corners in this case, but it has the following deadly features:

              - Hill on two sides
              – Three differing speed zones (A 50 km/h, 70km/h, and 60 km/h zone)
              – Red light camera on one side and one direction only (the majority of crashes I saw EACH DAY on my way to/from work were rear fender benders on the side with the camera)
              – Immediate exit to/from highway only a few dozen feet away
              – 5 lanes each direction
              – Perpetual gridlock
              – Idiotic light timing (it’s so bad, there’s a fire station 4 blocks away and they press a button while gearing up to clear the entire street up to this intersection so they can actually get somewhere once they take their truck out)

              Bah… offtopic again.

            • smythe says:

              @xtc46: You are making a huge assumption that this only takes place at 2am, when there aren’t others on the road, and when they have their lights on.

              The problems is that this happens at 2PM, in traffic, without their lights. And then its just as dangerous as me running a red light!

            • Cyberxion101 says:

              @xtc46: Were that the case you’d probably not get any resistence from us. However, it’s so very far from the reality of the situation. I’ve seen cops run red lights, drive up on the curb, make illegal turns, ride dangerously close to the car in front of them, and nary a light was lit. And all these things would get your average person into some trouble.

          • Chongo says:

            @supercereal: To answer your question, no, I don’t think they should do it… but if you follow the thread of who I was responding to, you will see that I’m talking about when they do it at 2:00 A.M.

        • chrisjames says:

          @Chongo: Where were these cops that you talked to? I’ll put it on my list of places not to live.

          In Texas, I knew a few cops: one was a friend, another was a friend of the family, etc. I was a real nutcase then, so I joked about this very topic, saying they could do just about anything as there was no one to write them a ticket. All of them were very serious about it, and told me that pulling any crap like that means facing termination.

          I think most of us believe that they can just get away with it because, true enough, no one is around to catch them do it… except for us of course. Cop cars should have identifying numbers on them. Call it in like a “how’s my driving” sticker and report them. They are public servants, so stop being timid, and start treating them like that.

        • RStui says:

          @Chongo: Whatever.

          This is an over-glorification of the supposed “dangerous” job they have as a cop. What, they think someone might jump out of their car and attack them? That some random motorist is going to handily have a loaded pistol ready and a death-wish?

          What utter bullshit. What percent of police are actually legitimately injured in the line of duty? And I mean a real injury, not high blood pressure due to “stress”. Very few.

          • Chongo says:

            @RStui: Who said any of the stuff you are talking about?

            I personally don’t think its right, and yes I think they should drive like everyone else… but I don’t care if they come up to a red light at 2:30 in the A.M and slow down and then run it… could it be abused? I’m sure it is.

      • fantomesq says:

        @dddoistutter: In many states, state and county employees including police who are on the clock and in performance of their duties are not subject to traffic/parking restrictions. They are subject to their superiors, internal discipline and public complaints, especially on safety. Many of the traffic or parking violations listed in this thread are not in fact violations.

        That said, the officer in this case was way out of line and illegal actions taken under color of authority come with harsher penalties.

  2. Munchie says:

    Well the next report we hear is going to be that the walmart receipt checker was not actually reaching for the receipt. He was actually attempting to assault the officer and he was defending himself.

    Case closed next case plz.

    • zark169 says:

      @Munchie: The old man of age 71 was actually an ancient kung fu master… Actually that might have been pretty awesome to see if it were true.

      • CFinWV says:

        @TaterTom: Reaching for a receipt is detaining? Wow… you are hard core.

        • ManiacDan says:

          @CFinWV: “not actually reaching for the receipt” is reaching for the receipt? You’re the hardest core!

          Go back and read the original article, I’m too tired of arguing with people who don’t bother to read.

          • Cyberxion101 says:

            @ManiacDan: No you’re not. You obviously have a hard-on for it and anything else that you believe gives you an excuse to assert your misguided sense of superiority over someone.

            See, you totally missed the part where he was responding to the silliness evident in the first post of this particular chain, and instead chose to interpret it as if he had misread the original story, or didn’t read it at all.

            So yeah, you crave this shit. Admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

  3. bones11 says:

    Some of my best highschool memories are from cops doing illegal shit. Some even better memories are getting in trouble with the cops then calling the crooked cops to bail me out of whatever trouble I had gotten in to….good times.

  4. cobaltthorium says:

    Is it sad that I’m still shocked by things like this?

  5. ZekeSulastin says:

    “… Walmart Receipt Checker”

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been a post yet congratulating the officer for standing up against the hateful tyranny of having one’s receipt checked, no matter the avatar of such tyranny.

    I hope the cop gets slammed for this.

    • TaterTom says:

      @ZekeSulastin: Although you may oppose it, that’s actually my stance on the Walmart receipt-checking process. If one grabs me, I WILL forcefully remove that grasp, as it is an attempt at illegal detainment, and I have a right to defend myself.

      That doesn’t mean that I’m for the reported extent of reaction by the officer. I doubt the officer really did use as much force as is implied by the media, though.

      There’s two things in play here that are obvious bait for news:

      Police brutality and Old people getting hurt.

      Until I see a video, or hear the officer’s personal account, I’ll keep the position I’ve noted on my site:

      “he could/should have actually detained the detaining greeter, and put a stop to this. It’s not stated anywhere that he did this, but I assume that Chattanooga’s finest simply detained the unknowing perp long enough to explain such illegal behavior, and did Walmart a favor by letting him go with a verbal warning.”

    • Crazytree says:

      @ZekeSulastin: if having your receipt checked is your idea of “illegal detainment” and “tyranny”… then you have led a very sheltered life.

    • Jason Harris says:

      @ZekeSulastin: Yeah, most of the posts about receipt checking are like GOOD JOB FOR STANDING UP AGAINST THIS HORRIBLE PRACTICE, GUYS!

      Kind of funny :)

      • floraposte says:

        @Jason Harris: Or kind of logical. I think receipt checking is a sucky practice and I support people’s rejection of it, but I’m not going to support anybody whose response isn’t civil and lawful, as that’s a greater breach.

  6. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I’m sure they weren’t going to do a damn thing about the rogue cop, and the assaulted persons created a ruckus. Wal Mart provided security camera evidence to which the state of Tennessee had no choice but to “investigate” the matter.

    I’m sure they’ll claim he was on a lunch break, and clear him of all charges. Friggin idiots.

  7. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Once you’ve made your purchase and have passed the Point of Sale, the purchased item is yours and the store no longer has a right to detain you or check your sales receipt. Any attempt to stop you and detain you to check your sales receipt, against your will, is an illegal detention–IMO. What do you think?

    • chuckv says:

      @danno50: Nope. Having your receipt checked is part of the agreement of the sale. If you’re too bothered, vote with your wallet and shop someplace else. Obviously, you changing your behavior won’t impact anything, but if enough people are annoyed, they’ll figure out other ways to deter theft.

      • TaterTom says:

        @chuckv: Where exactly is detainment without proof or reasonable suspicion posted, written, or otherwise conveyed to the customer?

        As posted on another comment, I don’t agree with flinging an elderly dude against ANY dispensing mechanism, but I wanna see a tape before I conclude he actually acted particularly out of line. Old people don’t tend to have good balance.

        • smythe says:

          @TaterTom: Do you not read the story in its entirety? You seem to be missing the point that the store alarm went off as the officer was leaving the store, if anything that would be an appropriate time to check a receipt.
          Oh and what about the other customer who was pushed through the glass door? He must not have had good balance either, Right?

          If you want to make assumptions… here’s one. Maybe the cop was shoplifting, when the alarm went off and he was caught he got defensive and knocked an old man down, when a customer tried to intervene he pushed him through the glass door.

          Unfortunately, we are not likely to see the video from the store, but I would take eye witness testimony of independent sources over a police officers word every day.

          • twritersf says:

            @smythe: I have had store alarms go off occasionally as I leave. Apparently, someone failed to deactivate some theft-detection device of something I legitimately bought. I keep walking, just as I do when I’m asked to show a receipt. A failure of their system or their personnel is not my problem. They can ask all they want, but I am under no obligation, as a law-abiding citizen who just made a voluntary choice to spend hard-earned money at their establishment, to oblige. I understand stores need to find ways to reduce shrinkage, but treating paying customers by default as criminals until they prove otherwise is not the way, neither reasonable nor respectful.

            • YoFonzie says:

              @twritersf: I do this too! I shoplift stuff and when the alarm goes off I just keep on walking. Since they can’t search me I really don’t have any worries once I get to where the alarm goes off. I know my rights. If I have to submit to an illegal search I’ll just go shoplift at another store. See what they think about me taking my business to a competitor.

      • PølάrβǽЯ says:

        @chuckv: Agreement of sale? Where? I’ve never seen this. When I shop at Wal-Mart (yes, it does happen occasionally) I don’t sign anything, and I don’t verbally agree to anything. All I do is exchange money for merchandise. And once I do, it is my right to leave the store with said merchandise. And it is NOT anyone’s right to detain me or prevent me from leaving. In fact, it’s called unlawful imprisonment.

        • supercereal says:

          @Don’t take anything aaron8301 says seriously: In many cases, merely shopping in a store/installing a piece of software/using a website is agreement to the terms and conditions that they want to set forth — no signing, no verbal agreement necessary. At my local Wal-Mart in particular, those policies are clearly stated over by the return counter/service desk.

          More to the point, I’ll never understand why people continue to willing give their money to a place that they KNOW has such policies, and then complain incessantly about them on teh internets.

          • Jage says:

            @supercereal: I believe this has been disproven many times on The Consumerist, they can’t make you show your receipt unless it’s at a store where you sign a contract, like Sam’s Club or Costco.

          • jamar0303 says:

            @supercereal: I believe the Megan Meier case just disproved that.

          • Mike the Dog says:

            @supercereal: It’s kind of like the TOS that you agree to by using a lot of software/websites. You don’t read it because A) you couldn’t understand it if you did read it and B) it’s probably not really legally binding anyway. Unless you are dealing with a membership warehouse (Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.), stores are generally considered accessible by the general public and as such agreeing to conditions by entering is not considered to be a valid concept. Imagine if you went to Wally-Mart, and after paying for your purchases, you happened to turn over the receipt and discovered the following; “By exchanging remuneration for the goods and services indicated on the reverse of this document, I hereby assign custody and responsibility for all of my current and future offspring to the responsibility of Wally-Mart Incorporated, and expressly allow them to (by force if necessary) take custody of said offspring and ship them to the third world country of their choice to manufacture goods for sale at Wally-World, with no compensatory damages, either expressed or implied.” I’ve got a hunch if they showed up to steal your kids, you wouldn’t let them be taken, right?

      • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

        @chuckv: What agreement, no contract was signed or implied? The agreement was completed once I handed my cash over for my purchase and my receipt was received by me–I’m a free man– transaction complete.

        The receipt is a proof of purchase for possible future return or warranty issues. If you follow your logic, why not have a third receipt check in the parking lot before you drive off. If I choose to show my receipt after passing the POS, I do so at my own discretion, no because of some contractual agreement.

    • supercereal says:

      @danno50: Overreaction at it’s best. Nobody is “detaining” you. Either take the split second it takes to flash your receipt, or just keep walking. Don’t make this more of an issue than it is.

      Whether the receipt checker is an elderly person or a 14 year old kid, or whether they politely ask you to stop or if they stand in front of the door, attacking them is not an okay thing to do.

      • TaterTom says:
        • supercereal says:

          @TaterTom: Congratulations, you can use the internet.

          The fact remains that merely asking for a receipt is not detainment or false imprisonment. Don’t want to do it? Then *keep walking*. Unless they grab you or go defensive lineman on you (which never happens in reality, aside from one or two incidents you read here), then this is a non-issue.

          Fine, you’re inconvenienced for that split second of your time. Get of the high horses and put things into perspective.

      • Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

        @supercereal: Attacking the receipt checker is definitely not cool! However, once you’ve completed the sale, one is free to leave and not forced to show a receipt again, even for a split second!

    • Saboth says:

      @danno50:

      Perhaps, but you don’t get to beat up anyone in your way.

    • Mike the Dog says:

      @danno50: Very true, but I think slamming him into a vending machine was a bit much, don’t you?

  8. aguacarbonica says:

    Yeah, I’m sure that just walking away from the 71-year-old wouldn’t have been sufficient. What an asshole.

    I understand that some normal people are annoyed by receipt checks, but it just does not rise to this level at all. He deserves worse than what will even get thrown at him.

  9. andrewe says:

    Perhaps Walmart should keep the receipt checkers in the back room where most of the shrinkage (theft) occurs. They’ll be far less prone to being pushed to the ground, honest, paying customers would not be harassed and perhaps they’ll actually catch a thief or two.

  10. frodolives35 says:

    Check out the original post of this all the bs about the right to shove a 71 year old has allready been debated and it was a crap excuse then and now. All of you who are slamming the cops they did find him guilty of conduct un becoming and suspended him 28 days with out pay and require him to have some retraining. The department did there job. Not all cops are jerks but this one must really be. This was reported in the Chattanooga free press.

    • PølάrβǽЯ says:

      @frodolives35: The department did their job? By letting someone get away with assault? If me or you did that, we’d be charged with assault and probably end up losing our jobs as a result. But this guy keeps a clean criminal record and his job, and just has to live a little frugally for a few weeks.

      Oh yeah, they did a fine job. They taught me that to become a true criminal and get away with shit, I need to become a cop.

    • lannister80 says:

      @frodolives35: How about charging him with battery? That’s what anyone else would have gotten. And yes, 90% of cops I’ve known are jerks. Surprise!…not

  11. Rachacha says:

    I say, let the police officer serve his sentence by making him serve as a receipt checker in a Wal-Mart for 40 hours making him wear a t-shirt that says “I am a cop that shoved a Wal-Mart Receipt checker and I was forced to do his job for 40 hours…Laugh at me if you feel like it”

  12. uberbucket says:

    Maybe the cop had real important cop stuff to do and the senior citizen was preventing him from capturing terrorist or some shit. Inconvenience me not, for I am on a mission from god!

    Funny aside, total dick move by the cop.

  13. post_break says:

    Hopefully someday when he is 71 someone will remember this event and shove him into a vending machine. That would be the ultimate payback.

  14. planetdaddy says:

    I hate role crazy cops. I skateboard and get hassled quite a bit. It is funny though when the cops realize they are dealing with a 34 year old man and not a teenager. The tune changes quickly.

  15. donovanr says:

    Personally I think he should have thrown the intervening other through the 71 year old.
    People think the receipt checker should be excused for his age. 71 year olds should be excused for walking slowly, not for systematically violating other people’s rights. This cop sounds like one of the good ones who wouldn’t arrest a person for not showing their reciept. He is a hero not a criminal.
    I doubt he went out of his way to toss the old fart to the ground. The old fart probably got all in his face and paid the price. The second guy then probably reacted to seeing an old guy getting tossed without knowing the background and paid the price for acting without thinking.
    In legal terms what is the difference between the old guy stopping people at the door and me standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk demanding to see people’s wallets so that I can look for some money stolen from me previously? Somebody out there must have it.

    Our rights are our rights; we either draw a line or other people will draw it for us. I for one will not let a chain store dictate where that line lay even if their representative is some 71 year old loser.

    • Katxyz says:

      @danno50:

      He was stopped because the security alarm was set off. The checker had reasonable belief that he may have shop lifted something due to the alarm going off. Even if the alarm was malfunctioning, I don’t think this could be considered a “detainment” if you refer to the definition of detainment above.

      I highly doubt that if this cop’s speed detector was malfunctioning and he pulled someone over for speeding who was going the speed limit that that person would be able to roll down their window, punch the officer in the face and spout some bullshit about illegal “detention” with any sort of support from anyone, yet I’ve seen people bring up the “illegal detention argument” a couple of times on both posts.

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @donovanr: Who is saying that the receipt checker should be excused for his age? The receipt checker was simply doing what he was told to do. If the cop did not want to show his receipt, he should have said that he was not going to show his receipt and if the man continued to press the cop for a receipt he could have explained that he knows what the law is because he is a cop. Shoving the man, regardless of his age, is not the proper reaction. If the cop shoved the person hard enough that someone else felt the need to intervene, chances are it was not a simple nudge to get the man out of the way. Someone at the door of a store is allowed to ask you for a receipt, they just can’t make it a requirement for leaving the store. However, even then, depending on circumstances, if they have reason to believe that you have stolen something then they can detain you for a reasonable amount of time so they can identify you and verify that you have not stolen anything. Regardless of the actual events, I find it amazing that you can pretty much praise this cop like a martyr without knowing fully the circumstances of what happened. Perhaps if the cop refused, told the greeter that he was a cop and in no way obligated to show his receipt and the greeter grabbed his arm and tried to pull him back into the store the cop would be justified in pushing the greeter. Maybe if the person who intervened jumped on his back and put a choke hold on the cop he would have been justified in shoving him through the door. Of course, if the cop was on duty, why was he doing last minute Christmas shopping on taxpayer’s time? Being someone who has worked in retail, I can easily see how a cop as a customer in a store can be a problem. Some cops are kind, get to know everyone’s names, understand that the associates have more customers than just them, and can be very pleasant; some cops as customers are pushy, feel as though they should get special treatment, and sometimes get surprised when someone treats them as though they are just another customer and not a cop. It also seems very odd to me that you would call this 71 year old a loser because he has a job and probably does a lot more than what another 71 year old would be doing.

    • UX4themasses says:

      @donovanr: In legal terms what is the difference between the old guy stopping people at the door and me standing in the middle of a busy sidewalk demanding to see people’s wallets so that I can look for some money stolen from me previously?

      The receipt checker’s action occurred on WALMART property which is PRIVATE. A sidewalk is PUBLIC property…BIG DIFFERENCE in how the law works and an ignorant conclusion by donovanr. Know your rights before you claim them.

    • Mirshaan says:

      @donovanr:

      From the more detailed connected story:

      “An internal affairs investigation found Officer Freeman used excessive force. That report states that, after Officer Freeman knocked the greeter to the ground, he stood over the man and yelled, “Never put your hand on me” and “Don’t touch me.””

      Yes… that cop certainly sounds like “one of the good ones” and “a hero not a criminal” as you so boldly stated. Hero my ass…. he was a cop who decided to shove an old guy who was only DOING HIS JOB!. This cop was way out of line and needs to lose his badge over it. Cops are public servants, not public bosses or bullies. They can’t go around shoving people for no reason. They need to be the LAST ones to lose their cool in any situation. Not the ones shoving down Grampa Roy, the Wal-mart reciept checker.

  16. sean98125 says:

    I’m glad the founding father’s actually had important things to fight against. If “He demands to view our Receipts for Purchafes made and itemf We Already Own as no Free Man bleffed with the Liberties granted by Our Creator at birth should be compelled to do” was one of the articles of the Declaration of Independence we would have been laughed out of existence.

  17. coren says:

    He had a reasonable belief that there might be theft going off – the alarm sounded and the man refused to show a receipt (which he doesn’t have to do, I know, but when you’re setting off the alarm, doesn’t that make you look a bit suspicious?)

  18. Xero says:

    I have NEVER received one bit of help from a police officer in my entire life (even when I needed them, the were completely incompetent). Needless to say, I don’t like the police…

  19. MountainCop says:

    Based on the fact that the media ALWAYS gives us all the information – and accurately, of course…(yeah, right!)

    That being said, it *appears* to be a total over-reaction by the detective. And the bystander needed to back off and be a good witness while dialing 911 on the cell phone.

    However, the WalMart greeter had absolutely NO business placing his hands on anyone. Period. In most states – that’s called ‘battery’, and it’s illegal.

    Now, whether or not you agree with it or like it, cops carry guns – on duty and off duty. When someone I don’t know starts grabbing my arm (and this includes your friendly neighborhood 71 year old WalMart greeter), I have no idea what their intentions are – are they the guy I arrested three weeks ago and want to rearrange my face because I arrested then because they didn’t know how to behave and then wants to shoot me with my own gun? (think about it…)

    So, grab my person and you WILL be face down on the ground with me kneeling on you saying ‘Police Officer – Don’t Move!’ while I’m getting the cuffs out. But I’m not going to deliberately shove you into a soda machine or a window – unless I have no other choice.

    And the legalities of stopping someone at the door for the alarm differ from state to state. In Colorado, yes, the store has the right to stop you if the alarm goes off or they have a reasonable suspicion that you have stolen something (meaning someone witnessed you stealing). But they cannot use any type of physical force to do so. Nor can they use force to stop you to check your receipt. But they don’t have to let you back on the property. It’s an extension of property rights laws. Outside of some very restricted reasons (race, gender, religion, etc.), a business does NOT have to let you patronize them.

    Other states are different, so your mileage may vary.

    As for badge-heavy cops – for the record, I hate them too.

    And now back to our regularly scheduled cop-bashing, which is already in progress…

    • forgottenpassword says:

      @MountainCop:

      But you know what the kicker is…. is that the powers that be will back up a cop when he wants to bring some near-baseless charges against a citizen (battery) while they will laugh at the citizen for doing the same.

    • UX4themasses says:

      @MountainCop: Let me get this straight… because you are a cop this gives you assault priviledges?

      You are a threat to anyone who could come in contact with you and I hope you are NO WHERE near me EVER.

      Does anyone else think this sounds like every other jerk cop out there? Some sort of entitlement because you carry a gun.

      I can just see it now… I see a guy unknowingly drop his wallet. I grab it and tap him on the shoulder to return it just to find myself ‘FACE DOWN ON THE GROUND’. Thankfully you have a pension that can pay out the damages from the lawsuit you lose.

      The badge does not give you the right to behave above the law and act as jury and judge. If you are worried about someone hunting you down from a previous arrest, THEN QUIT AND PLEASE REMOVE YOUR GUN AS YOU ARE A THREAT TO ALL AROUND YOU.

      I am sure there are some nice safe cabins in Montana.

    • HogwartsAlum says:

      @MountainCop:

      It doesn’t say that the greeter put his hands on the cop, just that he reached for the receipt.

      The cop overreacted. Maybe he was keyed up because he knew he shouldn’t be shopping while he was on duty and just wanted to get out of there; maybe he was an asshole. Either way, he overreacted.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @MountainCop: Unless you’re exaggerating, you are clearly part of the reason some police departments have a bad image. A badge, gun, and that bs macho “nobody dares touch me or they get leveled” attitude is just an accident waiting to happen.

    • Mirshaan says:

      @MountainCop:

      LMAO @ “battery”….

      yes… and old guy reaching for a reciept, while wearing a Santa Hat and saying “Sir, may I check your reciept please” with hands shaking from old age and posessing the overall strength of a 13 year old girl is battery.

      If you think reaching for a reciept is battery, I’d hate to see what you do to a kid that came up and pulled your pants leg… “Hey officer…”

      “ON THE GROUND DIRTBAG!!!”

      You sir, seem to be another of the same. A cop looking for an excuse to kick someone’s ass… a “badge-heavy cop” as you call it.

  20. nevets68 says:

    I don’t like bashing cops, only the ones that think they’re above the law.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @nevets68: A percentage which, sadly, appears to be growing.
      How about some ‘good cop’ stories once in a while? Although every time I’ve encountered one, they just smile and tell me ‘just doing my job’ . . .

      • UX4themasses says:

        @doctor_cos: Doug Stanhope once said [in my words], ‘Cops don’t join to risk their lives for you, they join for the minor amount of celebrity that comes with wearing the uniform’.

  21. JohnDeere says:

    any creepy old man reaching at me is gonna be picking his ass off the ground too.

  22. Snarkysnake says:

    A round of applause for you Consumerist posters that have made your outrage known here in these forums (and some other places) over this cop’s actions. I live here in the area where this happened and am sorta ,kinda plugged in to what happens behind the scenes , and believe me , if there had been no outcry against this , it would have been swept under the rug , buried and forgotten. This truly represents a victory for ordinary citizens over “the good ‘ol boys” looking out for one another.The debate about receipt checking, we can have that another day (and we most surely will on these pages) but this was more a story about abuse of police authority.
    Read the above paragraph. I did not say all cops are bad. But you police officers that are reading this need to know-We hold you up as an example in our public life. When you do something abusive to a citizen, you are held to a much,much higher standard of accountability. When you run a red light ,when you are vulgar,abusive or corrupt,we see you as being no different than the people that we pay you to protect us from.

    Way to go Consumerist !

  23. Warbo says:

    Where’s the respect? The receipt checker was only doing his job and he has the right to check even the receipt of the President of the U.S. of A.
    For the police officers is to defend and protect, not to bash innocent people who are trying to do their job.

    Don’t trust anyone, not even police officers.
    This is a result of a corrupt officer.

  24. boxiom says:

    They shouldn’t have 71 year olds doing that job in the first place. On black friday, those are the people that get trampled to death.

    I can see an old person being kind of cynical and grabbing the officers arm to get his attention. Maybe he grabbed his arm before he said “let me check your receit”, and not knowing who the fuck it was, the cop threw his ass into a vending machine (which is kind of badass). And if someone else comes at you, your not going to sit there so they can hit you in the face.

    If the receipt checker was a 34 year old mexican, this story would not be in the news (and the mexican would be in jail).

  25. GMFish says:

    I’m glad they finally caught the one and only bad cop in the United States. Good for them.

  26. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    The way the title is worded it sounds like they suspended an already open investigation of the officer only to open it up again for the hell of it.

    I’m glad this disgusting pig is getting his dues in court. Shoving someone to the ground for doing their job and then going Steven Seagal and breaking glass with people is downright unprofessional.

  27. TCTH says:

    I don’t blast cops, having been one, but I do have to mention being on the freeway at the speed limit and the highway patrol officer that blows by you like you were sitting still… no lights, no siren.

    A mile up the road you pass a Denny’s with 2-3 patrol cars sitting in front of it.

    Happened more than once. ;)

    • P_Smith says:

      @TCTH: I’ve seen some drag racing each other on public streets, from standing starts at stoplights to the next intersection, so I believe you.

  28. Corporate_guy says:

    The receipt checker touched him first, he had the right to push him. It’s bullshit for walmart to put old people and woman at these posts just to gain public scorn when someone pushes someone away that is touching them for no legal reason.

    The fact is the checker grabbed the cop first. The cop may be fired, but he is going to win big when he sues Walmart. Walmart created this whole situation by having receipt checkers grabbing people. Just because the person they have doing it is old, does not mean you can’t push them away from you when they attempt to detain you illegally.

    And no one should ever be in trouble with their job over something that happened while they were not working. The only person that should be fired is the receipt checker for attacking a customer.

  29. crashfrog says:

    @taney71: Yeah, the red lights.

    Also all those times they pull their guns out and execute black men as they’re being held down by three of their coworkers. That’s nearly as bad as running red lights!

  30. Corporate-Shill says:

    With regards to receipt checking

    I copied the following from somebody’s previous Consumerist post

    Actually, there is indeed some precedent for this. While it’s a state court, it still gives some idea as to how a court might rule. Taken from the case…

    “The facts demonstrate that Messer had objective probable cause to stop Robinson.*347 The security alarm sounded when Robinson passed through it, indicating she was carrying property belonging to the store which she had not yet purchased. As it turns out, Messer’s subjective belief she was not shoplifting and the security device’s objective detection of the store’s property being wrongfully taken away were both correct. Messer’s subjective thoughts pertaining to Robinson’s intent are irrelevant. It was reasonable for him to stop Robinson and check her bag to see if she had any items she had not purchased.”
    Messer v. Robinson, 250 S.W.3d 344 (Ky. App. 2008)

    Re-read that all important sentence

    It was reasonable for him to stop Robinson and check her bag to see if she had any items she had not purchased

    Sounds like to me the clerk is within his/her rights and obligations to screen receipts as part of the theft deterent process at Walmart, especially as the theft alarm HAD sounded.

    • P_Smith says:

      @Corporate-Shill: An alarm sounding is a detail that (IIRC) was not in the original story. Adding it to this makes the pig’s actions even worse.

      I’ve had alarms sound at store exits and wouldn’t object to addressing it, just as long as I’m not abused or insulted by the store staff.

    • thezone says:

      @Corporate-Shill:

      I don’t believe Messer v. Robinson is a good case to compare this with. In Messer the customer voluntarily walked backed into the store and agreed to have her bag searched. In this case the greeter may have touched the customer when the alarm went off.

      Physical contact is the main issue with this story. If the greater simply asked for the receipt and reached for it then I believe the customer (office or not) did not have any right to initiate physical contact. However, if the greeter grabbed the person to detain the customer (not a simple touch) then I believe the customer would have a right to defend himself.

      However, taunting the person you defended against could easily be seen as bad conduct by the officer. Police officers are trained in the use of force. Therefore, they should be held to a higher standard when they use it.

  31. ElizabethD says:

    We almost got hit yesterday by a local cop car that ran a stop sign in a supermarket parking lot! He wasn’t even rushing to a job, just driving around the lot. Damn!

  32. P_Smith says:

    Q: Why is the state investigating?

    A: Because the pig was identified and the public are pissed. If the public couldn’t talk about it and shame them, he would have gotten away with it.

    [www.thevillager.com]

    Pigs only suffer consequences when there are irrefutable witnesses, and sometimes not even then (i.e. Rodney King). There is a culture of power taught to them, that they are above the law, and that needs to change.

    Starting with stiffer sentences for pigs who break the law. If a civilian gets two years, the pig should get three or four years in jail, not a slap on the wrist.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Justice for all !!! If a normal person had done what the cop had done they would have booked the guy. They would have arrested him, and put him in jail to await trial/hearing(since we are not guilty until proven otherwise the need to protect us all by putting people behind bars, stripping them of everything they have(clothes,personal privacy to get dressed/go to the bathing room,finger printing, and what every else they want to do. I don’t think the officer has had his (until proven guilty Chasity session). But I guess he creates the law and decides what he feels is necessary.