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Experience:  20 years trial experience in defense of criminal cases
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On March 1st 2013 around 11am. I went to target with my kids

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On March 1st 2013 around 11am. I went to target with my kids Emmanuel and alizia. We went to look at toys. After we looked at all the toys. We went to the baby section to buy some child safety locks, while I was looking at the child safety locks a target security guard stopped me and asked me if I had a wallet in the shopping cart, I said no I don’t. The security guard asked me where the man I was with is at. I said I didn’t come with any man just my kids. The security guard said mam we have you on tape stealing a wallet in the shopping cart, the security guard said that he has tape showing that I was with a African male stealing a wallet. I said my husband is a Hispanic. I told the security guard I didn’t steal anything. The security guard said to me that they have a lot of evidence showing it is me and if I coperiate and wait while he watches the video to straighten everything up. A woman security guard came and waited with me and the kids. The woman security guard asked me if I parked my car in target parking lot. I asked is it illegal to park in target parking lot? She said no. the woman security guard also asked how old the kids are. I asked why do you want to know? She said out of curiosity. I said my son is 3 and my daughter is 1. The woman security guard also asked if I lived in eureka my whole life. I said no I live in eureka for 15 years. The male security guard came back and said I saw you with a male. I said I was never with a male, my husband is at work. The security guard said the victims are willing to not press any charges against you as long as you return the money and the wallet. I asked how much money? He said $2500. I said I don’t have it. The security guard said it is a felony and jail time to steal and your kids will go to child protective services, do you really want to put your kids threw all of that? I said no, but I don’t have the wallet or the money or know the guy your talking about. The security guard said I had enough of you. I am getting fed up with you. Just give up the name of the male that took the wallet and return the wallet and the money. I said my husbands name is XXXXX XXXXX he is at work. the security guard said you are under arrest and hand cuffed me in front of my kids. My kids start crying. I told my kids that I love them. The security guard took me to the couple who’s wallet is stolen and the man said that it was me. And I said I didn’t do anything, I don’t even know you guys. The security guard and target manager said that’s right you don’t even know them. I kept saying I didn’t steal anything, the security guard said I am going to show you that you did take that wallet, I cant believe you would do this to your kids, you are a bad mother. We gave you plenty of chances to confess and make it right. I am going to prove to you that you did do it and show you the video. The security guard took me to the surveillance room, and started playing the video as I watch it I told them look the lady in the video is wearing white sneakers and I am wearing sandals. The security guard who arrested me said I think she is right. And he pointed out look that lady is wearing a brown sweater and she has a black sweater and the sweaters aren’t even shaped the same. The security guard took the hand cuffs off of me and said I am so sorry it was a mistaken identity. I just said can I have my kids back? He said yes. The security guard said that he is so glad that I was admit about being innocent and took me back to my kids. I could hear my daughter crying from four aisle back. I hugged my kids, both of them where so scared. Both security guards kept apologizing, and saying that they where fallowing protocol. I asked if I could go home. They said yes. The security guard said that target owes you a big apology. what can i do? my kids are all scare and i really have a bad experience separating me from my kids
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
My goal is to provide you with excellent service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m going to assist you with your question.

I'm so sorry for what happened.

You have a cause of action against the store for false imprisonment.

False imprisonment is the detention of a person without any justification, consent, or authorization by law. It is any illegal imprisonment, without due process and without any regard as to whether any crime has been committed. Like assault, false imprisonment doesn’t require that any actual harm or damage be done to the plaintiff before a lawsuit can be brought.

The elements of false imprisonment are:

  • words or acts by the defendant intended to confine plaintiff;
  • actual confinement; and
  • awareness by the individual that he/she is being confined.
- See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/false-imprisonment-lawyers.html#sthash.ve84dspf.dpuf
False imprisonment is the detention of a person without any justification, consent, or authorization by law. It is any illegal imprisonment, without due process and without any regard as to whether any crime has been committed. Like assault, false imprisonment doesn’t require that any actual harm or damage be done to the plaintiff before a lawsuit can be brought.

The elements of false imprisonment are:

words or acts by the defendant intended to confine plaintiff;
actual confinement; and
awareness by the individual that he/she is being confined.
To help determine if false imprisonment has occurred, consider the circumstances of the situation:

Did you commit a crime?
Were you injured or threatened if you attempted to leave?
Were you restrained against your will?
Was there a reasonable means of escape which did not involved physical harm?

False imprisonment can occur when a store manager believes you have stolen some items from the store and detains you. When detained, you are denied the chance to use the restroom, get water and/or exit the room. This is considered imprisonment. You may be considered "falsely imprisoned", depending on the period of time you are held, and whether or not you sustain any injuries.

It is a complete defense to a claim of false imprisonment if the plaintiff was restrained or arrested under legal authority or justification. If the defendant was exercising his/her legal rights and duties, then the restraint or imprisonment was justified. This usually extends to police officers and merchants exercising the shopkeeper’s privilege. [legalmatch.com]

However, given the additional facts you stated - the security guard did not make a reasonable or even remotely minimal evaluation of the tape or who he was allegedly watching when he stopped and falsely imprisoned you.

So the "shopkeeper's privelege" would not be a defense for the security guard - they have no defense for their wrongful actions.

Action for damages in false imprisonment flows from the unlawful detention. A plaintiff who has suffered injuries can be compensated for:

  • physical injuries;
  • mental suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • injury to the reputation;
  • reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, like attorneys’ fees; and
  • deprivation of any right caused by the loss of liberty.

The scope of damages recoverable is much more than what is already suffered. The general rule is that, in an action for personal torts, future damages to an injured person are an element of recovery.

- See more at: http://falseimprisonment.uslegal.com/civil-actions-for-false-imprisonment/damages/#sthash.KRQ4cfxx.dpuf

Action for damages in false imprisonment flows from the unlawful detention. A plaintiff who has suffered injuries can be compensated for:

physical injuries;
mental suffering;
loss of earnings;
injury to the reputation;
reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, like attorneys’ fees; and
deprivation of any right caused by the loss of liberty.

The scope of damages recoverable is much more than what is already suffered. The general rule is that, in an action for personal torts, future damages to an injured person are an element of recovery.


So what I would suggest under the circumstances is that you retain local legal representation and pursue the matter. Your damages are quite extensive given the facts and circumstances you stated.

I would contact a local personal injury attorney because this would be a type of case they would pursue and would not charge you until you recovered your damages.



If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know…

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To help determine if false imprisonment has occurred, consider the circumstances of the situation:

  • Did you commit a crime?
  • Were you injured or threatened if you attempted to leave?
  • Were you restrained against your will?
  • Was there a reasonable means of escape which did not involved physical harm?
- See more at: http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/false-imprisonment-lawyers.html#sthash.ve84dspf.dpuf
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Experience: 20 years trial experience in defense of criminal cases
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