For David Chen, the shoplifters keep on coming

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E.Tamaran
For David Chen, the shoplifters keep on coming

Mr Chen can't seem to catch a break at all. I honestly feel sad for this man.

Eric

Quote:

On the evening before learning if he will face consequences for tying up a shoplifter, a grocer in Toronto's Chinatown apprehended a woman who, he claims, stole roughly $100 worth of various products.

Sitting in a makeshift office in the basement of the Lucky Moose Food Mart, David Chen said a woman visited his store on Wednesday evening and made off with three bottles of hair conditioner, some cooking oil and a box of eggs.

He said the alleged theft went unnoticed until staff realized the items were missing and viewed the store's security video.

The shopkeeper was himself reviewing the tape shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday when he saw the woman return. He watched as she took two bottles of a skin-care product and stuffed them in a bag, he said.

His mother confronted the woman on the steps of the Dundas Street West grocery while Mr. Chen called 911. Then, he noticed a police cruiser passing by and flagged it down. The woman was charged with theft and released at the scene, Mr. Chen said. Police could not immediately confirm if anyone had been charged.

Shortly after, as he scrolled through cellphone photos of people taking fruit off sidewalk displays in front of his store, Mr. Chen shook his head.

"I hate doing this kind of business," he said. "If I could, I'd choose another kind of business."

The shopkeeper is due in court on Friday for a verdict on charges of assault and forcible confinement arising from a 2009 incident in which he and two employees tied up a shoplifter and threw him in the back of a van. The case has pitted Mr. Chen's supporters, who argue he was simply protecting his property, against those who say he should face consequences to deter vigilantes.

"All of these guys are fighting a daily battle with these shoplifters," said Peter Lindsay, Mr. Chen's lawyer. "He did the right thing and called police."

Asked how often he encountered thieves at his store, Mr. Chen said it varies day to day.

"Today, three times. Tomorrow, I go to court, so who knows," he joked.

Link to story here.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Wow. Released the shoplifter at the scene, eh?

Sorry to be cynical, but the lesson I would presume I was being taught here was to make sure to not get caught or identified next time.

That, or the option I would more likely take -  shut it down and take my business to a neighbourhood where there is proper support, and at least a chance of survival.

I will certainly be watching the outcome of his case. Thanks for posting this.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Wow. Released the shoplifter at the scene, eh?

What reason would you have to believe Chen's account? He's obviously a publicity hog, besides being a convicted criminal. This entire story is based on his calling the media - there is no independent confirmation of a single word that I can see. Why did he call the media? One-man anti-crime crusade? What a farce.

You know, my first thought was also that he tricked his victims into taking bait from his store and got himself arrested and charged because he was fishing for a reality show or a book deal or something.

Then I remembered somewhere in the back of my mind that I have seen exactly the same thing happen to other shopkeepers in other places. I know it's a longshot, but he might have a bit of a point.

(edit)

plus, it's not Chen's account. It's the Globe, and I would suspect they might have confirmed it with the cops. But perhaps not.

cruisin_turtle

I was surprised to see the media giving this particular story some coverage because I used to think shoplifting was not illegal in Toronto.  I remember standing by a shopowner one late night as he waited for the police to come after the shoplifter he was holding trashed his store until he let him go.  When the police finally showed up they blamed the store owner and asked him if this (the scene) was worth whatever the shoplifter stole. The cops at the end said they will cruise around the block to see if they spot him. Ha!

On second thoughts, it wasn't the media that gave the story attention, it was Olivia Chow.

I suspect if corner stores were mostly owned by non-immigrants the police will be getting different orders.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

plus, it's not Chen's account. It's the Globe, and I would suspect they might have confirmed it with the cops. But perhaps not.

Really. Did you read the article?

Quote:
The woman was charged with theft and released at the scene, Mr. Chen said. Police could not immediately confirm if anyone had been charged.

Ah, but Chen knew they charged the woman with theft. How did Chen know that? How could he possibly know that? The police cc'ed Chen when they laid the information?

The only two sources quoted in the story - on any issue - are Chen and his lawyer. Count me among the disbelievers.

ETA: Oh, [url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/10/28/chen-family-holds-another-allege...'s another version[/url]:

Quote:

Mr. Lindsay [Chen's lawyer] said the the woman at the centre of Thursday night’s incident will be charged with theft and has been released with an appearance notice compelling her to attend court at a later date.



So Chen says she was charged, and Lindsay says she "will be charged". Which one is lying?

Bacchus

Um Unionist, Chen is NOT a convicted criminal. At least not until possibly tomorrow

Unionist

Correct, Bacchus, my apologies - I've made the correction.

Bacchus

Oh need to apologize, its entirely possible you are just predicting the future and confused the days Laughing

Tho I suspect he will be acquitted, given the climate

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Wow. Released the shoplifter at the scene, eh?

What reason would you have to believe Chen's account? He's obviously a publicity hog, besides being a convicted criminal facing criminal charges. This entire story is based on his calling the media - there is no independent confirmation of a single word that I can see. Why did he call the media? One-man anti-crime crusade? What a farce.

[Corrected - thanks Bacchus.]

6079_Smith_W

Yes, if I were them I'd conveniently not be able to confirm it either, Evidently there was enough there that they ran with the piece.

What I really want to know is where he took the video editing course to fake that footage.

Unionist

What's up, 6079? You really feel sorry for this businessman who is being persecuted by poor people and people with drug dependency problems, and only has the support of his lawyer and the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties?

I've pinched, squeezed, and jabbed, but I still can't get my heart to bleed for him. He is a self-made poster child for the wrong solution to social problems.

KeyStone

You hit the nail on the head Unionist.
My guess is that this alleged shopkeeper(if he even owns a shop at all), just randomly grabbed one of the people in his alleged store, because he did not like their looks, and accused them of shoplifiting.

Besides which, even if the person did take some items from his store, why should that be illegal?
It should be perfectly legal to take things without paying for them, as long as you do not take too much.
This is all the fault of the greedy, capitalist scum that think people should have to pay for things that they want. Fascists!

Even for those rabid neanderthals which don't think that taking things without paying them should be allowed, the proper reaction should be to tell the alleged shoplifter not to take the item, and to ask them nicely to put it back. If they do not comply, there is nothing you can do, but hope that they don't take too much from you.

sanizadeh

The moral of the story: If you want to shoplift, make sure you target an immigrant shop. That way you have the support of police, justice systems, and even some progressives!

Moral of the story for immigrants: don't rely on Canadians -progresive or conservatives- to protect your rights. You are on your own.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist.... I'm an independent shopkeeper myself, as I have mentioned a few times already. But that's not the only reason I have sympathy for him. Even before I got into retail I knew of businessowners and residents in similar situations.

As I said already I don't condone taking the law into one's own hands, but I can see how he could be driven to breaking the law just as the people who steal from him are. Seeing your business stolen out from under you, getting no help and feeling powerless to do anything? Yes, I have sympathy for him.

 

RosaL

sanizadeh wrote:

The moral of the story: If you want to shoplift, make sure you target an immigrant shop. That way you have the support of police, justice systems, and even some progressives!

Moral of the story for immigrants: don't rely on Canadians -progresive or conservatives- to protect your rights. You are on your own.

Well, for all we know, the alleged shoplifter was also an immigrant. I don't know why you assume she wasn't. 

 

Unionist

Wow - the trials and tribulations of this poor businessman, using violent self-help to protect his capital, really brings out the humanitarian and enlightened spirit in some people.

I think if Mr. Chen can't control his own enterprise, it should be expropriated - with modest but fair compensation.

Bacchus

RosaL wrote:

sanizadeh wrote:

The moral of the story: If you want to shoplift, make sure you target an immigrant shop. That way you have the support of police, justice systems, and even some progressives!

Moral of the story for immigrants: don't rely on Canadians -progresive or conservatives- to protect your rights. You are on your own.

Well, for all we know, the alleged shoplifter was also an immigrant. I don't know why you assume she wasn't. 

 

 

He not she

sanizadeh

RosaL wrote:

Well, for all we know, the alleged shoplifter was also an immigrant. I don't know why you assume she wasn't. 

I meant the original case for which Chen was persecuted.

Bacchus

Could be from the united colours of benetton

RosaL

Bacchus wrote:

He not she

I meant the person involved in the latest incident. 

sanizadeh

Unionist wrote:

 You really feel sorry for this businessman who is being persecuted by poor people and people with drug dependency problems?

I had no idea that poverty and drug dependency were that common among crown prosecutors.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Excuse me if I don't want to take this fellow to the boards just because he owns a business.

Me neither. I have nothing against small business owners who mind their own business and don't unduly exploit their employees. It's Chen's vigilantism, his planned and organized violence against a fellow human being, and his media showmanship that has revolted me.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

Wow - the trials and tribulations of this poor businessman, using violent self-help to protect his capital, really brings out the humanitarian and enlightened spirit in some people.

I think if Mr. Chen can't control his own enterprise, it should be expropriated - with modest but fair compensation.

I have cut that much slack and more to people who have stolen, vandalized and committed assault and other criminal acts. Excuse me if I don't want to take this fellow to the boards just because he owns a business.

If I said that if people can't control their fingers they should be put in a place where they can't do anything with them I think I would be accused of being pretty judgmental - never mind the more important fact that that is a completely unrealistic reaction that does not address the problem.

sanizadeh

How is it planned and organized? The thief came back to his store for more shoplifting (by his own admission), they arrested him and held him until police arrived. They didn't go after him or lure him back. And according to Chen and eyewitnesses, it was the shoplifter who assaulted him first, and they tied his hands to stop him.

RosaL

OK, here's what seems to be a white guy - a wealthy white guy - in Alberta who's charged with assaulting someone involved in a break and enter at his house: [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2010/10/28/calgary-taber-hatchet-....

sanizadeh

RosaL wrote:

OK, here's what seems to be a white guy - a wealthy white guy - in Alberta who's charged with assaulting someone involved in a break and enter at his house: [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2010/10/28/calgary-taber-hatchet-....

And your point is that white on white assaults happen too? Thanks, very comforting.

But that case is entirely different. That homeowner assaulted a fleeing suspect with a hatchet, breaking his face and teeth, without any action by the suspect that warrants such violence. According to Canadian criminal code if he had arrested and tied up the suspect, he would not have been charged. Keep in mind that Chen's main charge is forcible confinement just because they say the thief had not started the act of shoplifting when he came back (after the first shoplifting) and so technically he was not in the middle of a criminal act. Olivia Chow's private bill aims to change that rule.

Unionist

Sanizadeh, why not read the [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/10/06/chen-shoplifting-trial... of the original incident[/url]. Chen and others chased Bennett, caught him, tied him up, beat him, and put him in a van. It was a witness to the beating (Erasmus Lopez) who called 911.

And his "admission" that he came to do more shoplifting took place in court. He was stealing nothing when he was chased, assaulted, and confined.

 

Fidel

"If they do not give you work, demand bread. If they deny you both, take bread." - Emma Goldman

She didn't suggest taking hair conditioner! The eggs and other stuff I would probably not turn her in for. Hair conditioner? I guess it could be in the new-er basket of consumer goods that everyone should be able to afford no matter, or something.

sanizadeh

Unionist wrote:

Sanizadeh, why not read the [url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2010/10/06/chen-shoplifting-trial... of the original incident[/url]. Chen and others chased Bennett, caught him, tied him up, beat him, and put him in a van. It was a witness to the beating (Erasmus Lopez) who called 911.

According to [url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/10/07/david-chen-strip-searched-at-52-... account[/url], he was the one who punched Chen first, and photos and eyewitness accounts (as I read in another story) were presented in the court to prove that:

 

Quote:

After stealing 12 money tree plants, also known as Malabar chestnuts, from the store at 12:30 p.m. — a theft the store caught on its security cameras — Mr. Bennett returned to the Lucky Moose an hour later, Mr. Chen told the court.

Mr. Chen said he confronted Mr. Bennett and told him to pay $60 for the plants and that he would not call police.

“He told me, ‘I’ve never been here before. Go f— yourself, Chinese. Stop bullsh-tting, and don’t stop me,’ ” Mr. Chen, who normally spoke through a Cantonese interpreter, told the court in English. Mr. Bennett then ran off.
...
That was why he chased the thief down the block and stopped him, at which point Mr. Bennett punched and elbowed him. The court saw photos of bruising on the shopkeeper’s body.

Mr. Chen said he told Qing Li, one of his co-accused, to go into a wholesale grocery store he owned around the corner from the Lucky Moose and get some rope to tie up the thief.
“We tied up his feet so he won’t be able to run away,” Mr. Chen said. “He was using his hand to hit us with his fist, so I tied up his hands to bring him back to the store.”

 

sanizadeh

Regarding citizen arrests, Olivia Chow has presented [url=http://openparliament.ca/bills/2309/] private bill C-565 [/url]to remedy this problem:

Quote:
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without warrant by owner)

1. The portion of subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code after paragraph (b) is replaced by the following:

may, within a reasonable period, arrest without warrant a person whom he finds committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property or a person who, on reasonable grounds, he believes has committed such an offence.

milo204

this idea that chen should just let people steal from him and forget about it bugs me.  We can all feel empathy for someone who is living in poverty, but to say it's okay to just steal from whoever you want, whenever you want and the people who you are stealing from should just smile and shrug it off just doesn't make sense, i can't believe ideas like that are being tossed around here.

have you ever had anything stolen from you?  It feels like crap.  Would you be indifferent if someone stole your bike that you worked hard to build, then broke into your home and stole your wallet, then broke in again the next day and took something else?  or would you try and stop them from doing it when they walked in your unlocked front door and started taking the computer you're typing this on? 

yes there is a point where it's taking it too far, and that's what vigilanteism is.  the shopkeeper in winnipeg who beat a woman so bad she later died of her injuries (over a can of beans) should face charges, since it was way over the top.  but what chen did seems like a natural reaction, and there's no evidence he used unnecessary violence.  Why does this person's "right to steal" outweigh chen's right to protect his job?  It's like saying it's okay then for some corporation, other business down the street, anyone on the street, the government, etc to just start stealing whatever they want from whoever they want as well.

 

Aristotleded24

Excellent post milo. Consider also that not only do the big retailers actually pay people to arrest shoplifters, they are also massively insured against shrinkage. Small shopkeepers don't have this luxury, and shoplifting actually hurts their livelihoods. I agree that this can be taken too far, but if we don't hear out the concerns of frustrated shopkeepers, they are eventually going to say, "forget it" and take matters into their own hands and things will get much worse.

Unionist

milo204 wrote:

this idea that chen should just let people steal from him and forget about it bugs me.

Excellent straw man. Who said that?

He should call 911. The same thing you and I do if someone breaks into our home. Or (in this case) if we spot someone on the street that broke into our home earlier.

Doesn't work? Then we go talk to politicians, lobby in the community, etc., to solve the problem. Unless, of course, we live in Deadwood or Dodge City.

Now imagine this: I call my elected representatives and tell them, "It's out of control, my home/business isn't safe, the police are doing nothing." Reply: "Wow, that's terrible! I'll present legislation to allow you to go apprehend the crooks whenever you spot them!! Oh, don't thank me, I'm just doing my job!!"

That's not the solution. Next step will be to relax the rules about letting them keep and use firearms under the counter. After all, some thieves are armed, aren't they?

Unionist

sanizadeh wrote:

According to [url=http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/10/07/david-chen-strip-searched-at-52-... account[/url], he was the one who punched Chen first, and photos and eyewitness accounts (as I read in another story) were presented in the court to prove that:

I quoted an uninvolved eye-witness, Erasmus Lopez, who says he saw Chen and three others "kicking" Bennett (in self-defence no doubt), and called 911. If you found an account by another uninvolved eye-witness, I'll certainly look at it and factor it into my understanding of what happened. Your news item says Bennett punched him after Chen chased and caught him. I guess that's how you interpret aggression?

Quote:
Mr. Chen said he told Qing Li, one of his co-accused, to go into a wholesale grocery store he owned around the corner from the Lucky Moose and get some rope to tie up the thief.

Huh? "A wholesale grocery store he owned"? Who - Chen or Qing Li? While it's ambiguous in this story, we know Qing Li was Chen's employee. That means the wholesale store also belongs to Chen. How many stores and employees does this small businessman have?

 

sanizadeh

Unionist wrote:

He should call 911. The same thing you and I do if someone breaks into our home. Or (in this case) if we spot someone on the street that broke into our home earlier.

Doesn't work? Then we go talk to politicians, lobby in the community, etc., to solve the problem. Unless, of course, we live in Deadwood or Dodge City.

Sure. That would certainly work as long as your name is not Chen, Abdul, Ogbonnaya or something like that. On the other hand if your name is "Michael", feel free to drag a cyclist with your luxury car around to hit every obstacle you find nearby until he is dead, to keep your girlfriend pleased and your luxury car unscratched. I bet in that case not only the crown will never press charge, but also no one will call you a capitalist pig.   

BTW if I recall correctly in that case you were not particularly interested in how many convertible luxury cars or businesses the accused had. But all of sudden it is very important if a hardworking Chinese small shop owner may run two businesse at the same time?

pookie

Chen has been found not guilty.

 

http://www.thestar.com/article/883000--grocer-not-guilty-in-citizen-s-arrest-case?bn=1

 

The judge used the continuous transaction theory to find that the theft was ongoing when the thief returned to the store. Therefore the existing law applied, and he found reasonable doubt that the force used was excessive. (I got these details from a media scrum - detailed transcript not yet available.)

Sean in Ottawa

I don't understand the logic here.

It seems that sympathy for the shop-keeper's situation is being equated with support for vigilantism in general or his actions in particular. I can't see why this would be so.

Without supporting the shop keeper's actions I can sure feel the sympathy for someone in his situation, especially as I know others in similar situations.

We can also stop making assumptions about his financial well-being. We don't know. I do know that you can get enough bank loans to buy a store (even one with a second wholesale location that might serve restaurants etc.) in which you have precious little equity using good credit and the business itself as collateral.

The difference in the situation of small-business compared to big business in both police attention, the ability to hire private security etc. has been discussed.

That many of these shop keepers are immigrants is an issue that has also been raised. Unionist seems blinded by antagonism here having already made several assumptions about the man's choices in this thread and previous. The unemployment among immigrants is horrible. I happen to know Chinese people who have arrived in Canada with skills but find that they cannot get employment. The ones I know have good credit and find the only way they can earn a living is to pledge their future and buy some kind of store or restaurant even if that is not at all what they are interested in. In the end in the business they make roughly minimum wage after all costs but at least they are employed full time-- if they work a 60 hour week they can make substantially more even if it is little per hour.

The only alternative is to not own a business and do whatever 3-4 hour shifts can be found at minimum wage but because the number of hours is so low they cannot live. They are forced in to this type of business so let's stop pretending they have many other choices. Many immigrants find employment difficult, their skills completely unrecognized, and even reliable no-skill minimum wage employment elusive.

Unionist I suspect would be willing to be understanding of many other criminals who in bad circumstances do the wrong thing, I fail to understand the extreme hard line on this one. Perhaps that is due to the fact people are defending what he did as ok. In the end we lose reason to both extremes: on the one hand we lose the sympathy we should give to someone who has done something wrong in terrible circumstance and likely driven by anger at the daily unfairness of having to do this job only to have people seal on an almost daily basis without any reasonable police interest. On the other extreme we have people excusing and praising his action as reasonable and correct.

Chen deserves sympathy for his situation; a fair trial for what he has done wrong with appropriate consequences if found guilty; a commitment by society to have fairer police protection to all people who are victims of crime not just the wealthy ones-- and that counts the an individual who loses a bicycle as well as a small business owner as well as the big businesses for who the police seem to be almost exclusively employed.

Bennett deserves sympathy for his situation-- that we have heard little about; fair consequences for his actions.

Chow deserves some credit for having tried to support a constituent and for her compassion for that person but she also deserves feedback that her proposal is not the right way to make law or to answer the problems behind the action. And she also needs to recognize that the other person who was held and confined is also a constituent.

Those who made the deal to take the testimony of the thief against the person who assailed him do not need to be vilified in order to provide support (in the form of change to help his position rather than support for his actions) and sympathy for Chen. They made the right choice -- choosing to prefer prosecution for an assault on a person rather than a crime related to property. We do not have to get rid of all understanding for Chen to recognize why they did this and why it is the more important public interest just as we do not have to agree with what he did or believe he should not face consequences for it to have sympathy for him.

The public deserves to not have policing done by anyone who wants to and be protected from vigilantes or over-zealous crime victims who feel they can take the law in to their own hands while also knowing that the law will in fact prevail.

All of society deserves circumstances that do not create the circumstances felt by Chen or Bennett. The root causes of crime must be our first priority rather than punishment and this applies universally to both Bennett and to Chen.

And people need to have better choices not be mocked for making do with what they have-- labour must receive a living wage not rented for 3-4 hours part-time and expected to make a living when even full-time work at minimum wage is less than a living wage. People should not in our rich society be forced in to these roles.

The social determinants of health are also the greatest crime preventions and these also apply to both Chen and his victim because, while Chen may have committed a criminal act, he also is a victim.

And damn-it people need to stop trying to sort every situation in to demons and angels and black and white. That goes against what most of us here believe in but a little bit of propaganda set-up and there we are taking extreme positions that cannot hold up across our belief systems. And sympathy does not have to be a limited quantity that we run out of, that we cannot feel for someone who has done something wrong even as we admit he has.

Once we stop trying to find a villain, and to over-simplify the issues, our principles and the truth become a lot easier to find. And the consequences for what has happened become easier to address. Compassion can come with a finding of guilt-- it needs to. Always.

Sorry a lot again but some of this needed to be said before the hate spins out of control.

Unionist

sanizadeh wrote:
I bet in that case not only the crown will never press charge, but also no one will call you a capitalist pig.  

Whom are you calling a capitalist pig?

Quote:
BTW if I recall correctly in that case you were not particularly interested in how many convertible luxury cars or businesses the accused had.

Exactly. I was interested in finding out the facts of what happened.

Quote:
But all of sudden it is very important if a hardworking Chinese small shop owner may run two businesse at the same time?

It was of no importance to me until the MSM and some babblers wouldn't stop repeating how "hardworking" this "small" businessman was - which somehow meant he was our ally and was entitled to use violence against shoplifters. I also note that many seem not to give a damn about Arnold Bennett, who has been dehumanized in the MSM as a "career criminal" and "drug addict" (see item cited by pookie above). What's the worst crime this man has ever committed in his 34 years of crime?

Oh, and how expensive a lawyer was Arnold Bennett able to afford to defend him and grandstand in front of the media?

Sean in Ottawa

I cross posted with the person who said he was found not guilty.

I don't know the details well enough but I hope that compassion and the correct sentence have not been confused as both should have been rendered.

I find it disturbing that what sounds to me like two crimes are being linked to allow this verdict.

I also fear that this verdict does nothing to relieve the root causes of this-- the feeling of abandonment and lack of protection and the social causes behind the theft. Simply allowing a shopkeeper more latitude does nothing for that person while allowing an intellectual cover-up so the rest of society can assume there is nothing to be done here.

I would need to see the details but I fear this is a bad verdict.

Even guilt with penalties waived would be preferable than this latitude. Where do you draw the line? If a person stole from a store a month earlier but was planning to return would that allow the same event and verdict? This is a downloading of police responsibility. And we need a real debate about what police do, who they serve and where teh law and order money should go (not jails).

A finding of guilt, with compassion, with perhaps a low sentence and recomendations as to how to prevent this would have been better perhaps-- I cannot speak with certainty without all the facts.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

He was acquitted? The continuous crime is problematic but so is condoning detainment by force and beating for freaking SHOPLIFTING.

Strikes me that if the police did this, people would be in an uproar. And if not, then there is something seriously wrong with our society.

Condoning this shopkeeper's actions is akin to condoning the horrific case in Winnipeg where a young woman died from injuries sustained from a beating. You cannot predict whether the force you use will result in serious injury or death so allowing any violent response by citizens or police is just wrong.

6079_Smith_W

Again, without condoning the action, I am pleased with the result.

 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

In the end in the business they make roughly minimum wage after all costs but at least they are employed full time

From personal experience, my guess is less than minimum. Certainly less than union wages. Not complaining, of course. We all make choices, and independence has its advantages.

I know that the situation that we have on the west side here in Saskatoon - a large part of the city left with no full-service grocery stores at all - has more to do with the policy of large corporations to move to suburban big box stores, than being driven out by crime. Still, I am a big angered by the notion that retailers are just in it to suck blood out of the people and should be expected to bear the brunt of what is a complex social problem.

If there is a person here who doesn't depend on stores for at least some of their food, clothing and other needs, I'd like to hear it. I don't think losing that service, or turning it into a crown corporation is going to solve the problem.

(edit)

Sean, I understand the unease you might have over a not guilty verdict. On the other hand, maybe this will send a message that the larger social problem is expanding, in that it is driving people even further up the class ladder to deaparate acts. After all, they can get by with catch and release with homeless people without many people seeing it as a problem or caring. But what to do when it means shutting down businesses by putting their owners behind bars?  I'm not happy that this is what it takes to get peoples' attention, but so be it. I just hope, like you, that they don't see greater freedom for vigilanteeism as the only solution.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 The continuous crime is problematic but so is condoning detainment by force and beating for freaking SHOPLIFTING.

 

Except that there was no finding that Chen administered any kind of beating, nor planned to.

 

Quote:
Strikes me that if the police did this, people would be in an uproar.

 

Detaining a criminal? I doubt it. Honestly, if the police had done their job in this, I would expect we should all be delighted by that, Chen included.

 

Quote:
You cannot predict whether the force you use will result in serious injury or death so allowing any violent response by citizens or police is just wrong.

 

In the interest of safety, would you agree that a detained thief should also refrain from violence? Sit tight and let the law take its course?

 

Throughout this case, I've really never got the sense that Chen is some kind of cowboy who WANTS to do the job of the police. So it really, really surprises me that having caught Bennett on video, he could not simply call the police and have them view the tape. Given that Bennett is a recidivist, known in the neighbourhood, I should think at least one or two officers could be able to say "Oh, that's Anthony Bennett... I arrested him twice last month. We'll go arrest him at his house - can you make us a copy of that video for his trial?"

 

I mean, it's not like the police would have needed to cordon off the neighbourhood and dust all of Chinatown for prints here.

 

 

pookie

Actually the continuous transaction theory is not at all a novel theory.  Usually, though, it is used to convict an accused.  Because the applicable law here concerned an excuse, its use worked to Chen's favour. 

Based on the facts as reported I think it is a perfectly mundane application of existing precedents.

Unionist

Must be nice to have your MP acting as your interpreter at a news conference:

I wonder if, now that justice has been done, she will withdraw her private member's bill as being unnecessary? Or is it just worth too many votes to drop?

ETA: Pookie, you seem more familiar with the law than I. Given this decision, is there any need for Chow's amendment?

 

pookie

Chow's amendment would apply to the situation where the criminal transaction is clearly complete.  So, if you think that the power to effect a citizen's arrast should apply for a certain period after that moment, then yes.

sanizadeh

Unionist wrote:

Must be nice to have your MP acting as your interpreter at a news conference:

Not complaining, but must be a lot nicer not to need any interpreter in the country you live in. There are two MPs who speak Chen's language, and three hundreds who speak yours.

Regarding Chow's bill, I think it would die now that the focus is gone. There are just too many ambiguities in the proposed law that must be clarified before it has a chance of becoming law.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

sanizadeh wrote:

My understanding is that citizen arrests, even using (reasonable) physical force, are legal in Canada as long as it is done during the proceeding of the crime. Chen's problem was that he had captured the thief after the crime had been completed.

That makes it even worse in my view. But the fact that shoplifting is being painted as such a serious crime is very problematic for me.

sanizadeh

laine lowe wrote:

He was acquitted? The continuous crime is problematic but so is condoning detainment by force and beating for freaking SHOPLIFTING.

Strikes me that if the police did this, people would be in an uproar. And if not, then there is something seriously wrong with our society.

My understanding is that citizen arrests, even using (reasonable) physical force, are legal in Canada as long as it is done while the crime is actually happening. Chen's problem was that he had captured the thief after the crime had been completed.

sanizadeh

laine lowe wrote:

That makes it even worse in my view. But the fact that shoplifting is being painted as such a serious crime is very problematic for me.

Of course it is not a serious crime, but neither was a detaining part. What made this a headline is the fact the crown decided to charge the shopkeeper; I don't think they would have done so if he was your regular white Canadian. The intention may have been to teach a lesson in law to us ignorant, non-English speaking immigrants, but it backfired on the crown. 

Regarding your question, I think it comes down to this: do you want to give citizens any ability to stop a crime or detain a criminal until police arrives, or not?

Snert Snert's picture

Where do you feel it's being painted as "serious"?  Is it the fact that shopkeepers are allowed to do something about it what gives it such gravitas?  Is someone saying it's worse than assault, or worse than arson, or what?

6079_Smith_W

I think how serious it is depends on whether or not you are the one being stolen from, and how much it amounts to.

I also think the tendency to dismiss crimes like shoplifting is also because many people have simply given up on the notion that people who commit those crimes can or should be impressed on to stop and to take responsibility for their actions.

 

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