One Cop’s Unexpected Response to a Shoplifter

My understanding is that this incident is from La Crosse, Wisconsin in 2020.

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Author: rafael.nieves


35 thoughts on “One Cop’s Unexpected Response to a Shoplifter

  1. The law isn't written to be a one size fits all deal, i's designed for context to matter, that's how they make the distinction between murder and self-defense for example, justice is not so simple as just punishment to those that break the law, it's about giving an appropriate and proportional punishment for the acts committed, otherwise you'd have someone locked up for a little baggie of weed just as long as someone with a whole backpack full of the stuff, as many people now acknowledge locking someone up for personal use quantities just kills their career prospects and sends them down a destructive spiral where crime is the only option (just look at the ant-man movie to see that illustrated perfectly), making it impossible to get back on the straight and narrow, this woman might now stand a chance at getting out of her situation thanks to that officer while if she was arrested or been shown nothing but hostility from the officer and given him cause to arrest her in response she'd probably be even further into that hole.

  2. I've only purchased food for a shop lifter when they were hungry. So if they took food to eat, I would usually get them a sandwich and forward charges. If it was clothing or alcohol, I booked them. Obviously, this situation is a need not a want. Problem is, most shoplifts are wants.

  3. When I was in college, I did unarmed security for beaches in Florida. I opted not to do armed thinking I would avoid job sites where you would need to be armed. Unfortunately, I dealt with a variety of unbalanced people from drunks to homeless to thieves to even having knives and guns pulled on me. In every situation, I had to talk to the person and calm things down. In some cases, because my own life was in danger. Most of the situations I encountered were not life threatening and I found the best way to handle them was talking to the person. It's a case by case and you have to evaluate, on the spot, what kind of person you're dealing with. Some people are just good at that and others learn by experience.

    In my opinion (and experience) that woman is going to shop lift another store at some point. It's not because she's bad. She's homeless and a pair of gloves and a hat isn't going to change that. The cop did her a good turn. Throwing her in jail wouldn't have solved her homeless problem either. Homelessness is very complicated and I've known a fair number of people who were homeless by choice. I'm not saying that woman is. She probably isn't. But it says a lot about the homeless population as a whole. Not everyone is there for the same reasons.

  4. she was down on her luck , she was stealing warm clothing not electronics, in this situation the officer made a judgement call to help , I respect that.

  5. I grew up a juvenile delinquent but realised as an adult that I had to change my ways. Now 47 and a productive member of society with a wife and kids in job and all the good stuff that America has. I used to be against police but I Now realise that it's because I was scared of them arresting me every time one of them saw me or I saw them. They've got 1 of the toughest jobs in America And do not get the pay nor recognition that they should. What this cop did for that lady was so freaking cool. People need to wake up open their eyes and find God again then they will realise the beauty that still lies in America like this young man that helped this lady out in need. Thank you sir for being a great American hero!

  6. In Boston, Massachusetts (Suffolk County) there are new guidelines for prosecuting shoplifters. The right of arrest still exist, but this woman would be given either a civil fine, case outright dismissed, restitution or ordered to perform community service.

  7. case by case – attitude, humility, remorse – I always weighed many factors – and sometimes just that gut feeling that made me want to help them out – win win

  8. My wife was homeless when she was 16, cops where horrible to her. Wish this one was around. Now my wife doesn’t trust cops.

  9. It comes down to how the person responds to the officer, treat the with respect and hopefully you treated with respect back, otherwise jack the jail up and throw them under it.

  10. I think I am unimportant. Observed crime, ID subject write report, issue summons and let the court determine guilt and punishment

  11. Man, that poor doe-eyed creature… My heart goes out to her that her life is so bad emotionally that she feels the "need" to shoplift.
    What's further stupid is she can easily go to a shelter and whatever, and they have winter clothing. People are generous.

  12. If a criminal displays responsibility and remorse, they are wayyy more likely to be fed, clothed, and pointed in the right direction than a mfr who portrays themselves as a victim. I have an infinite amount of empathy. However, I have a finite amount of compassion, so I don’t waste it.

  13. Definitely an individual based thing. She didnt fight, back talk, …
    Granted this cant become the norm. Steal and get something bought.

  14. I personally believe it’s about what their situation is, what they’re stealing, and how they act about it. There are many factors that go into decisions like this and it’s definitely a case by case kind of thing.

  15. So the criminal in this scenario cooperates, and the officer was able to relax and have empathy… almost as if he was human, further testing will be required.

  16. Wisconsin is very cold they gave her a break and showed he's a good guy. Stealing food would be a break but anything other then that boom arrest them

  17. There’s no clear line, it’s something you have to feel in the moment, it was probably a lot of factors that made up his mind, she didn’t look strung out, she came clean when confronted and cooperated, she was in a bad spot and was stealing things to keep warm as opposed to electronics or non essentials, he did what felt right, getting caught was punishment enough

  18. So Mike the Cop, do you support lockdowns, masks, social distancing, trial vaccines & the RIGHTS OF CANADIANS to not be trampled on by the Gestapo arm of the Trudy, Ford, Pallister, Legault, Higgs, Rankin, Horgan, Kenney, Moe & all the other Marxist Tyrants in Canadian Premiership offices in Canada?

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