A video of a man attempting to place two shoplifters under citizen’s arrest in a mall parking lot has created quite the buzz on the internet lately.
The scene begins with former Marine sergeant, James Newman, attempting a citizen’s arrest after he noticed two individuals, a man and a woman, moving quickly through the parking lot with loads of clothes thrown haphazardly in the back of their vehicle.
“I felt like someone needed to step in and stop it,” he said. “There is enough crime going on in this world that there is not enough people making a stand against it.”
Newman approached the vehicle and commanded the two individuals to stop. “You are all under arrest,” he said. “This is a citizen’s arrest, and you need to stay here until the police get here.”
According to KTVQ, under Montana Code, a private person may arrest another when there is probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed an offense and the existing circumstances require the person’s immediate arrest. The private person may use reasonable force to detain the arrested person.
That last sentence is what’s in question here. Did James Newman take this incident too far?
“I didn’t break any laws, so why am I worried about talking to the cops about it?”
When the police arrived at the scene, Newman remained on the phone with dispatch, put his firearm on the ground and held his hands in the air. He wasn’t placed in handcuffs and, at this time, no citations have been filed against him.
When the story aired, of course, social media erupted with opinions from thousands of people. Some bad, some good, but Newman has stood behind his actions.
“To the people that are criticizing me, you have your opinion. That’s the beautiful thing about America, you can say what you want,” Newman said. But he has accepted some of the backlash saying, “There are some people that made some valid points,” and he offered this statement for those to consider:
“The biggest thing I want to tell people is, especially last night when the story first aired, there was very little information. There were people running at the mouth, being internet warriors that have no idea what they’re talking about. They don’t have a tenth of the facts that are actually associated with the issue.”
Newman didn’t ignore the positive feedback he received on social media either:
“To those who are supporting me, thank you. It’s nice to know people do appreciate when somebody does step up and goes to bat for the average person.”
He went on pointing out that due to his training, he never felt he put anyone in harm’s way.
“At no point was there anybody in danger, and I’ve said this to several people. Yeah, I put myself behind a vehicle, maybe that’s not how you conduct your business, but that’s what I did. I chose to do that, and yeah it resulted in shots fired. But at no point was any other person in danger. And the ricochet factor, you’re stretching for it, they’re stretching for something to throw out there. ‘Oh well this guy is an idiot, he’s just a gun-toting vigilante.’ No, I’m just your average person walking around.”
Here is the story reported by KTVQ: