Success

I am proud to announce that the baseless charges brought against me by the Brooklyn, Ohio Police Department were dropped this morning and the process of expunging my record has begun. Although I knew that this was a possible outcome for the last ten days, I didn’t acquire the certainty until late yesterday afternoon. I was not at liberty to make this announcement yesterday since the process had not formally been completed.

This brings to a formal conclusion my criminal defense which began when I was arrested on September 1st, 2007 at a Circuit City for refusing to provide a police officer with my driver’s license. The fact that my charges were dropped reaffirms the assertion which I’ve made since the beginning: US citizens are not and should not be required to provide paper identification when asked by law enforcement, in most circumstances. In Ohio this right is specifically protected by Ohio Revised Code 2921.29 which states that a person may not be arrested for refusing to provide a law enforcement officer with anything other than a verbal representation of their name, address and date of birth. In other words, if you are walking along a sidewalk and a police officer has reason to question you, you must verbally state your name, address and date of birth, but you can’t be arrested for refusing to show your driver’s license. (Or for that matter your fishing license, marriage license, liquor license, etc.)

Ten days ago I had a decision to make. I was presented with an offer to have my charges dropped in exchange for signing a document which asked the following of me:

  • I would not file a Section 1983 civil suit against the Brooklyn police department for infringing on my civil rights.
  • I would not make any disparaging remarks about the police department, with financial repercussions for doing so.
  • I would not discuss the details of this agreement.

These conditions were completely unacceptable to me. I wanted to fight the charges in court and I wanted to win based on the merits of my case. I felt that it was important to set a legal precedent that would help others in the future. Although I was never interested in suing the police department, signing such a document went against my principles and against the very reasons I decided to take a stand in the first place. I was mad to say the least.

In the days that followed a few things changed. First, I learned that the prosecutor was more interested in protecting the city against a civil law suit than she was in silencing my speech. Prosecutor Hillary Goldberg was willing to drop my charges and expunge my record if I promised not to sue. Although this was welcome news I still wanted to fight the charges in court in order to set a legal precedent for others.

Then, I learned that Ohio already had two legal precedents that dealt with the very issue of whether or not refusing to provide a driver’s license is grounds for obstructing official business. (Google “State v. McCrone” and “Middletown v. Hollon” for more details.) The legal precedent created by a court victory would not have filled a needed legal gap.

At this point I was stuck between two choices. Behind Door #1 was an eight to twelve month legal battle, three or more separate hearings including a jury trial, potential legal fees in the dozens of thousands of dollars and a lot of duress for my best witnesses: my family. Behind Door #2 was the immediate drop of the matter in exchange for giving up the right to seek civil damages against the police department.

At 2:00am one night I received a phone call from a family member which sealed the deal. For personal matters I can’t divulge who called or what was said, but I’ll simply state that a loved one told me something on the phone which left me with no choice. My family had become too entangled in my mess and I couldn’t put them through a lengthy and stressful legal process. My principles are important to me, but so is my family. Based on what I was told over the phone I immediately knew that I couldn’t put my family through a drawn out legal ordeal. On top of the emotional strain it was putting on my family, it would have forced my Sister to fly out from California on one or two occasions, and it would have forced my Father to cancel scheduled business trips to Europe. My family was caught in the crossfire.

I took a stand against Circuit City when I refused to show my receipt. I took a stand against Officer Arroyo when I refused to show my driver’s license. I wanted to take a stand against Prosecutor Goldberg in court, but it just wasn’t meant to be. In the end I forfeited my right to sue the police department in exchange for the matter being dropped. Considering that I never intended to sue the police department in the first place, this was a concession that I felt comfortable with.

Although he won’t publicly admit it, I’m sure that Officer Arroyo knows he made a mistake. For the record, I do not believe that Officer Arroyo is a bad person, and other than my arrest I have no reason to believe that he is a bad police officer. I think that Officer Arroyo was embarrassed and insulted when I refused to obey his unlawful command, and I think that he was not familiar enough with Ohio State law. Hopefully this incident will make him more knowledgeable about the law and more understanding of others in the future who choose to assert their rights. I think the same is true for Prosecutor Goldberg. She’s a smart woman who knows the law, and she clearly realizes that she had no case against me. However, her back was put against the wall by all of the media attention which the case received and I suspect that she felt that she had no choice but to either push forward with the charges or seek protection against a civil suit.

I wanted a verbal apology from the police department but quickly learned that this would never happen. Fortunately actions speak louder than words. Dropping my charges and expunging my record is perhaps the best form of an apology that I could receive, and it’s the apology that I’ve chosen to accept.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on my agreement with the prosecutor in today’s issue. When I read their take on what happened I was outraged. Michael Sangiacomo of the Plain Dealer claimed that I “agreed that a police officer did nothing wrong in arresting [me] after [I] refused to show [my] driver’s license.” This is an outright lie. I never said such a thing and would never say such a thing. In fact, I’ve never even spoken with Michael Sangiacomo. He emailed me looking for a quote and I referred him to my attorney. As far as I know Michael Sangiacomo hasn’t even seen the release that I signed with the prosecutor. I consider the outcome of my legal battle to be a victory, yet today’s paper portrays it as defeat.

Understandably I received a lot of hate mail today from people who read the Cleveland Plain Dealer article and were horrified to see that I “caved” under pressure. If I was a third party to the situation I think I would have given Michael Righi a piece of my mind as well.

The article is wholly unfair, and a complete misrepresentation of the release that I signed with the prosecutor. I uploaded a PDF version of the release and I encourage you to read it and decide for yourself. Although the police department did not admit guilt in the release, nowhere in it did I claim that they were justified in their actions.

Finally, I would like to address the donations which I accepted over the past few weeks. I received a total of $5,197.23 USD after PayPal expenses. I’m still a little unsure of what my total legal fees will be, but I expect that they will be in the $7,500-$10,000 range. (I’ve already paid $7,500 to one attorney, and I’m waiting for a bill from a second attorney for related legal assistance.)

I am extremely grateful to the people that donated money. The donations represented more than just money to me. They represented emotional support in a time when it was much needed, and I’d like to thank everybody again who donated. The smallest single donation was 1 penny (a symbolic gesture), and the largest single donation was $200. Every contribution made was a pat on the back and it really helped me get through a tough couple of weeks.

That said, I have received a lot of flak over the money. Some people have accused me, an “upper middle class 26 year old”, of asking for money in the first place. Some people have gone as far as to accuse me outright of running a scam. I agreed to accept donations via PayPal because a number of people emailed me wanting to know how they could help, and I wanted to give them an easy way in which they could make themselves involved. I said from the beginning that I would donate any excess money to the ACLU. As it turned out my legal expenses were at least $2,000 more than the money donated.

In the end, I have decided to donate the entire $5,197.23 to the ACLU of Ohio.

I am doing this for a few reasons. First, I would like to end the question of my intentions once and for all. This has never been about money or attention. I stood up for my rights because they are important to me and for no other reason. Second, even if my legal fees rise to $10,000 I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford this. Although it’s unjust that anybody should have to pay a dime to exert their constitutional rights, $10,000 is still a small price to pay compared to what others have sacrificed in the past and are sacrificing today. Finally, I want to do something to help prevent injustices from happening against others in the future. Although I don’t support the ACLU in all of its endeavors, I do believe that they are the best organization fighting for civil rights in the United States today. Even though the ACLU wasn’t able to help me with my ordeal, I hope that the money I send them will allow them to help others in the future.

I’ve learned more in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years. This post has only just begun to scratch the surface of what unfolded since September 1st, 2007. I have funny stories, sad stories and outright infuriating stories from the last few weeks which I hope to eventually tell you more about. Until then, thanks for your support.

-Michael

142 Comments on "Success"

  1. Bloomington, IL says:

    Congratulations on the win for civil liberties, even if you didn’t get the public recognition you deserve. If nothing else, know that you educated many of us as to how we should handle these situation. And ignore anyone giving you flak; this issue was worthy of taking a stand, not making yourself a martyr.

    Best of luck in the future.

  2. Mark says:

    Congratulations on your exoneration. As others have said and will say, I wish you went all the way.

    I\’m not a lawyer but I\’ve watched a bunch of actors pretending to be lawyers on TV. It seems to me that that agreement might not be enforceable since it was signed under duress. Secondly, the fact that they caved so quickly leads me to believe that they were afraid of a suit. I think you could have held out for an admission of wrongdoing and your legal expenses.

    What I\’d really love to see is a suit against Circuit City. Unless they have to pay out a lot of money each time they do this they will continue to do so.

  3. John says:

    Michael, I am not sure that you paying 10,000.00 and having to sign an agreement to not sue constitutes a victory for you or anyone except the state. Half measures avail us nothing. Of course, had others donated enough to go the distance (5k just won\’t cut it for a long term suit) perhaps taking the bullet for us would have been a bit easier. Sad to see your resolution but understand that standing up for people who aren\’t standing up for themselves or their fellow citizens can be exhausting. You still have a case against Circuit City…let you and your family get some rest…then make it a big one.

  4. S. McGeady says:

    I disagree with the posters here who think Mr. Righi should have pursued this further. The legal system is not black and white, and Mr. Righi’s resources, both personal and financial, are best spent elsewhere.

    I think he should be applauded for taking things as far as he was able, for fighting far harder than most people in defense of all of our rights, and for making a reasoned decision to end the fight.

    Congratulations, and thank you!

  5. Paul says:

    You are an idol and a genuine citizen. Thank you for sticking it to CC, to the Popo, and putting up a fight with the prosecutor. I\’ve been following this story since I first heard it. Our legal system lacks intelligence, common sense, and integrity.

    And apparently, so does the news. You might consider writing a short letter to the editor of the newspaper with a link to the PDF for that journalist misrepresenting the facts, asking for a correction to be run.

  6. Drambuie Girl says:

    Thank you Mister Righi, you won me a bottle of Drambuie and I will drink a toast to you. I knew the case wouldn\\\’t go the distance, it was obvious from the start. A person of conviction would find other stores to to patronize rather then continue to give their money to one they felt treated them like a thief and just defy their policies. Not to mention the fact that a person planning to go the distance would be milking the media for any attention they could get, I admit that was the big tip off, but the first issue was the hint that knotted my panties originally

    Mister Righi, I think perhaps you should read The Fountainhead one more time. Ayn Rand wrote a story of a Man who lived by his convictions, and did not turn away from them to take the easy road if or when it was offered. In the eyes of the Author of that book, you would be classified as a fashionable non-conformist, not a person who lives their lives by their convictions.

    A few words addressed to those who congratulate Mister Righi: John is right. This is the reason the Libertarian party and those who fight to minimize or take back the control the government holds over America are losing ground rather then gaining it. A Victory? Success? Lets tally up the costs of this \\\’battle\\\’

    Mister Righi spoiled his younger sibling\\\’s birthday.
    Mister Righi was jailed.
    Mister Righi had to take the time to clear his name.
    Mister Righi is out ten thousand in legal fees.
    Mister Righi made trouble for his family.

    Alright, there are the costs, lets weigh it against what was gained.

    For a few seconds, Mister Righi got to tell an authority figure no, and not prove the information he had already given that authority figure was accurate.

    As John said, this can only be seen as a victory for the state. Look at what it costs to tell a police officer no. Perhaps it is possible victory and change may have come from the events of the night of September first. Perhaps the police officer might have been reprimanded. Perhaps people might have been inspired to stand up and make changes. Who knows.

    Instead people pat each other on the back, and give congratulations for spending ten grand and ruining what should be a special night for a child to achieve what result? Both sides agreeing to say the other wasn\\\’t wrong in the eyes of the law? Fantastic. I am glad I have won a bottle of Drambuie to enjoy the celebration. Here is a drink to \\\’The Man\\\’ Only the government could inflict such a punishment on someone for a few seconds of defiance.

  7. Me says:

    God damn you\’re a self-righteous prick and a fucking moron to boot. Yes, you just spent $7,500+ because you didn\’t want to show your receipt on leaving circuit city.

    I\’ve timed it several times and it takes an average of less than 10 seconds. And you spent $7,500+, not including the time you\’ve wasted.

    You sir are a real man of genius.

  8. Me says:

    By the way… with righteous money-management skills such as yours, you’d probably be a wunderkind working for the government.

    … and fix the thing with the apostropes not showing up right.

  9. DaveW says:

    Congratulations !

    What are your plans wrt CC and their employees ?

  10. While I understand why you’ve made the decision you made, it is disappointing that you caved. This shows that some of what you said earlier was posturing: “…I plan to fight these charges no matter what it takes”.

    Clearly you weren’t. You shouldn’t say something like that unless you really do mean it.

  11. Merl Redding says:

    Congratulations. While many hoped for a different outcome, this is an understandable solution for you since you had young family members involved, and an obvious victory. And thank your for recommending The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

  12. Scott says:

    “Although it’s unjust that anybody should have to pay a dime to exert their constitutional rights…”

    That’s what I was thinking the whole time I was reading. It’s a damn shame.

  13. JeremyDuffy says:

    I\’ve been following this case and got a lot of discussion on my own site around it. I\’m happy to report your win, though sad that you felt pressured to spend your own money because of nay-sayers.

    If this had happened to me, I doubt I could have fought it no matter how much I\’d wanted to. It\’s a shame and a crime that the court system is such that only those with enough money get justice.

  14. JeremyDuffy says:

    A few more things, you should delete the comment posts from the user named “Me”. Never deal with comment trolls.

    Second, @David Cameron, he proved that he would do what it takes, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to involve other innocent people too. That would far from being a hero, that would make him quite the villain, no?

    Lastly, I think you should send a letter to the paper threatening suit and demanding a reprinted correction. It should go smoothly, no lawyers required. Even if it doesn’t, go to their competitor with the story of how they print false news. I bet they’d eat it up.

  15. TC says:

    Well done.

  16. GC says:

    Quite ironic that in this country where Righi feels his rights are under assault, he has the freedom to create a website where he can tell his version of the events, modified in any way he sees fit, to build himself as a hero in the eyes of the reader without fear of any contradictory statements being posted by workers at CC or the police.
    That\’s not representative of a free society. It is, however, a great example of what happens in a TRUE police state, you only get to know what they want you to know.

  17. Steve says:

    Good work, although I would have required the opposing party to pay your legal fees as part of the agreement.

  18. Trekkari says:

    Two things spring to mind.
    First, Mr Righi should be commended for standing up for the precious (but sometimes easily discounted) rights that have been defended during these past two hundred years by the ultimate sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of US soldiers. It is easy for those who enjoy these rights (or think they do!) to dismiss the assertion of such rights as posturing or something that should be subservient to common sense. Of course, common sense should prevail in human interactions but it seems it cannot be expected on behalf of the police, so why should citizens waive their rights? Remember, they were paid for with blood.
    Secondly, this throws a rather unfavorable light on the demented American justice system, if it can be called that. In civilized countries, legal fess for both defendant and prosecution are paid for by whoever loses the lawsuit. This is known as the \’English rule\’ and it is a matter of some astonishment to us Europeans that it is not in effect in the US. Essentially, the English rule would eliminate frivolous lawsuits (since lawyers would then have something to loose by bringing such suits in the first place, namely the need to pay legal fees for the other party) and also it would make it a lot easier for people to exercise their rights since a successful lawsuit would not automatically ruin a person financially. Indeed, in most civilized countries, lawsuits against public officials and the government are granted pro bono status automatically, with the state paying legal fees for John Q. Public should he have a reasonable case against the state.
    Perhaps you Americans should prevail upon your elected representatives to shake free from the bondage of the law industry and do some much needed reforms in this regard.

    But congratulations on your (nearly) full victory.

    V.

  19. peter says:

    They were threatening you with legal and financial burden unless you agreed to absolve them of any wrong doing and in exchange they will drop their charges against you? To me that sounds like extortion, not bargaining.

  20. GC says:

    In reply to Peter:

    “They were threatening you with legal and financial burden unless you agreed to absolve them of any wrong doing and in exchange they will drop their charges against you? To me that sounds like extortion, not bargaining.”

    Of course, Righi was also threatening them with a long drawn out legal battle and financial burden unless they dropped the charges. That also sounds like extortion.

  21. Dan says:

    From the start I thought this was an example of being technically correct while stubbornly making a mountain out of a mole hill. I can think of a number of ways to handle this and protest the evils of bag checkers without all his. There are problems with our country that do require our attention and someone standing up for their rights but this IMO is not an example on how to direct our time and energy. To each his own. None of us, not Circuit City employees, not police officers trying to do their job, self righteous civil rights advocates, or passing posters, are perfect. Perhaps a little open communication with the CC employees, store manager, district manager, etc. instead of playing dumb to make a point. Police Officers have a hard often thankless job so I try not to make it harder by calling them unnecessarily. The officer made a minor mistake and this too could have been handled better, although I certainly agree that officers need to know the law and not mistakenly think that their badge gives them the right to demand whatever they want. Was it all worth it? A judgment call I suppose. I keep thinking there must have been a better way make these points and spend not only Mr. Righis time and money, but the cities as well.

  22. Ja says:

    This is an interesting email I just got back from the reporter who wrote the article at the Plain Dealer. I wrote him stating that his article seemed incorrect. See his response below:

    MICHAEL SANGIACOMO hide details 9:43 am (1 minute ago)
    to
    date Sep 21, 2007 9:43 AM
    subject Re: Circuit City case
    mailed-by plaind.com
    Tell him to speak with his attorney. The story reflected exactly what his attorney said, and he said it at least four times. In fact, he said that it was very important that I say that the police did no wrong.
    I attempted to reach Mr. Righi several times and he told me to speak with his attorney. THat’s what I did.
    Please note, Mr. Righi has NOT contacted me and said there was a problem. His attorney has not contacted me either. Perhaps he’s trying to save face on his blog.
    Mike Sangiacomo

  23. Ben says:

    I deeply admire you and how you handled this. While you come off a bit self-righteous and sanctimonious, fights like this need to be fought and you’ve managed this correctly.

    I’ll never understand how the knuckle-heads who say you “set this up” think you got the manager and employee to block your Dad’s car as part of the set up.

    The people that say you should have “fought on” are wrong. The charges were dropped — you won. Say you hadn’t signed the release — I think the prosecutor might have still dropped the charges. How should you have “fought on” then?

    Good job — you’re a great American!

  24. Ja says:

    So why is Righi’s attorney stating that it is very important for the reporter to write that the police did nothing wrong in arresting him? Also, the reporter attempted to reach Righi several times to get the accurate story but always referred to the attorney who states there was no wrong doing. Mr. Righi should just speak to the reporter and give him the REAL information.

    Why aren’t you?

  25. Rich says:

    Are you going to sue Circuit City to recover your legal cost?

  26. Cyn says:

    I think you should write to the newspaper with the correct information, possibly either a letter to the Editor, or hope to have a featured editorial.

  27. Disappointed in DC says:

    Mr. Righi, The outcome is very disappointing. It sounds like you caved to pressure and let the city officials off without so much as a slap on the wrist. Your family member had a problem with the case…so what? I shudder to think what would have happened if our founding fathers behaved in a such a fashion. Very disappointing. You had a chance to make meaningful, significant changes to the retail landscape and you blew it. You blew it. Words like spineless and coward come to mind.

    In the future, please don\’t start a fight if you can\’t finish it.

  28. Samson says:

    These things always seem to end this way. You stand up for your rights until the opposition finds the right pressure points and you cave. As long as we have family, possessions, responsibilities and other comfort zones we will always be susceptible. I applaud your willingness to make a statement, but you must realize that the statement is meaningless now – your statement was \”don’t compromise when it comes to your rights\” but that is exactly what you did in the end. You had understandable reasons that few of us reading could begrudge you over. But don’t worry, all this proves is that money trumps everything, and that’s something we all already know.

  29. MPS says:

    Now that you were unable to get a verbal apology from the police department, I got a new idea…

    You need to make a public apology to your sister for ruining her birthday. What you did, you could have done on your own time, and not when you should have been with your family. This was a very selfish action you did, and in the end, you still got nothing. Big deal you stood up for yourself. I just hope your sister stood up for herself and told you how much of a prick with his head up his ass you are.

    Maybe it is a good thing that your \’family member\’ told you to stop. Like I said, you should have done this on your own time… then you wouldnt have needed that phone call at 2am.

    Get a life and stop screwing with your families lives like you did. What? did they threat that you would not be welcome in thier home if this continued? Maybe they should have just done that in the first place.

    Anyways, that is my rant. Now how about it? Where is that public apology to your sister, you selfish prick?

  30. "Me" Is A Liar says:

    “Yes, you just spent $7,500+ because you didn\’t want to show your receipt on leaving circuit city.”

    He spent it because he didn’t want to be ILLEGALLY FUCKING DETAINED for not showing his receipt, and ILLEGALLY FUCKING ARRESTED for not showing his license. And you know it. Quit lying, or at least learn to do it competently.

    “I\’ve timed it several times and it takes an average of less than 10 seconds. And you spent $7,500+, not including the time you\’ve wasted.”

    It takes ZERO seconds to refrain from blocking the exit of someone who has done nothing wrong. So take your vapid, dishonest “it-takes-seconds-therefore-you’re-morally-and-legally-obligated-to-do-it” argument and ram it up your lying ass.

    That is, if there’s room up there with all the shame and humiliation you’re obviously feeling from having all the sad attempts you made at predicting Righi’s legal losses blown to smithereens.

  31. Chris says:

    So — he says he is going to donate the $ he received to the ACLU — it\’ll be interesting to see if he posts any proof of that.

  32. Stephen says:

    Michael, you should contact the newspaper. Here’s what Mr. Sangiacomo had to say when I emailed him about it:
    “Tell him to speak with his attorney. The story reflected exactly what his attorney said, and he said it at least four times. In fact, he said that it was very important that I say that the police did no wrong. I attempted to reach Mr. Righi several times and he told me to speak with his attorney. That’s what I did. Please note, Mr. Righi has NOT contacted me and said there was a problem. His attorney has not contacted me either. Perhaps he’s trying to save face on his blog.”

    Maybe your attorney was at fault for putting words in your mouth.

  33. cbtrn3 says:

    I sent an email to the paper asking how they got that info and this was the reply.

    You may want to chat with your attorney and make sure they are accurately conveying how you feel about this.

    Tell him to speak with his attorney. The story reflected exactly what his attorney said, and he said it at least four times. In fact, he said that it was very important that I say that the police did no wrong.
    I attempted to reach Mr. Righi several times and he told me to speak with his attorney. THat\’s what I did.
    Please note, Mr. Righi has NOT contacted me and said there was a problem. His attorney has not contacted me either. Perhaps he\’s trying to save face on his blog.
    Mike Sangiacomo

    In your article titled Circuit City shopper, city of Brooklyn resolve
    dispute over arrest, on 9/20/07, I noticed something that was a bit
    strange. It was written: \

  34. Jimbo says:

    You should hire a lawyer on a contingency basis and sue Circuit City. I think you will get a settlement that would take care of all legal fees and then some.

  35. Jimbo says:

    Oh, and one other thing, don’t be such a hard-ass the next time security asks to see your receipt.

  36. kimwim says:

    Good Job all around!
    I love your donation to the ACLU, they are where my payroll deduction charitable monies go to.
    You’ve made my day.

  37. DC says:

    I have no problem with how the illegal arrest issue was resolved. At the very least Officer Arroyo and probably many others are more informed about the very law they have sworn to protect.

  38. Robert says:

    Thanks for taking it this far.

    The sad part is that Circuit City, Sam\’s and Fry\’s are still asking to see receipts.

  39. Ryan says:

    It really is hilarious to see the incompetent losers post about how selfish, unjust, “prick” etc. They talk so strong and livid like they mean something to the world, or even to the people who do this on a daily basis to “weak” people. What I sense is an overwhelming essence of jealousy it is not funny. You did what only they could dream of, when they are asked for their receipt they simply cower and hand it over. You stood up for what was right and it cost you, your sisters birthday and a handful of cash. It takes courage to do something like that. A real question is, “why did Circuit City, instead of harassing a customer not just simply “roll back the tape?” A few reasons are easily placed here, 1) Security decided they wanted to either racially profile someone, sexually profile someone, harass someone, or just simply wanted to be a complete and utter asshole. You take your pick but one of the previous is a good start. When you are leaving a Circuit City (generally all are built a like) the cash registers are close to the exit and there for not hard to view from the exit, so if the security guard so happened to miss him paying for his items he should be fired for incompetence. Now, now, don’t sit and whine and say there is “oh so many registers” there isn’t generally a Circuit City has 3-4 registers near the exit in plain site of the Security Officers.

    Also another note, Security cannot lawfully hold a citizen when they are out of the building, not even in the parking lot. If they do, this is called “KIDNAPPING” you can even call it assault/harassment because the manager would not allow him to close the door to the vehicle. If you want to state Michael caused a seen, if the Manager/Security officer actually believes he stole something instead of harassing him, then the right thing to do would have been to write down the license plate number and take a still shot from the security camera and phoned the police. So in actuality it is the Circuit City employees that caused this ordeal.

    As for the police officer, he was sore his ego was struck and had to make an example. However he got off light when Michael stopped his legal proceedings, should have made the state pay for his lawyer fees in the deal at least. They should of also made a public apology to Michael and his family for what was said and done, because again he did absolutely nothing wrong with the exception that he bruised a police officers ego. Hopefully it brought that officer down a notch, and put him in his place. IN the future he might be hard pressed to harass someone, and better knowledgeable with what he can charge citizens with.

  40. Kirsten says:

    I called The Plain Dealer and spoke directly with the writer of the article who claims as follows:
    “Tell him to speak with his attorney. The story reflected exactly what his attorney said, and he said it at least four times. In fact, he said that it was very important that I say that the police did no wrong.
    I attempted to reach Mr. Righi several times and he told me to speak with his attorney. THat’s what I did.
    Please note, Mr. Righi has NOT contacted me and said there was a problem. His attorney has not contacted me either. Perhaps he’s trying to save face on his blog.
    Mike Sangiacomo”

    I totally respect your battle and your reasons for ending it, but if this writer is correct then your attorney is the source of the misinformation and not the writer himself. I hope that you will clear up on your blog the matter of what your attorney did or did not say to this reporter.

  41. Sean McGee says:

    Dude…awesome. Glad to hear they dropped it.

    You did the right thing. Family is more important than proving yourself right.

    And, as to your donations, do whatever you want with them. But I’d keep them to defray the expenses.

    I don’t care HOW rich you are, 10 grand is still a lot of money.

  42. I agree with Kirsten.

    You need to clear that issue up with the Plain Dealer.

  43. Dave says:

    You caved, and the city/cops won. Stop patting yourself on the back.

  44. jason says:

    What a waste of everyones time . . . show you damn receipt next time.
    Use what today is known as common sense. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time…get a life or roll over. Idiot!

  45. Chris H. says:

    Don’t you have a job or some friends to go out it with?
    You stupid just got an attorney richer and lost hours of the tax payer money. Just because of your arrogance.

  46. Doc says:

    I agree, what about action against circuit city?
    That\’s where the problem all began, and that\’s where the fight should be.
    Albeit, CC does have deeper pockets than you.

  47. DAVE ID says:

    Awesome. Taking it to the man. As someone who is sick and tired of being treated like a damn criminal by the establishments in which I just spent my hard earned cash, I applaud you.

  48. daniel says:

    You acted like a man, and you did the right thing. I’m proud of you, and I’m pleased for the results. Thank you for taking a stand for my civil liberties.

    In the end, placing your family above your ‘right’ to vindication was the right choice.

    I’m really impressed.

  49. Big Dirty says:

    This is possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read.

    # Mark Says:
    September 21st, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Congratulations on your exoneration. As others have said and will say, I wish you went all the way.

    I\\’m not a lawyer but I\\’ve watched a bunch of actors pretending to be lawyers on TV. It seems to me that that agreement might not be enforceable since it was signed under duress. Secondly, the fact that they caved so quickly leads me to believe that they were afraid of a suit. I think you could have held out for an admission of wrongdoing and your legal expenses.

    What I\\’d really love to see is a suit against Circuit City. Unless they have to pay out a lot of money each time they do this they will continue to do so.

  50. Mike says:

    If your going to donate to the ACLU bastards, please return my $20.

  51. JOHN says:

    GIVE ME A BREAK DID YOU EVER THINK THAT THE REASON THEY HAVE PEOPLE CHECKING TO SEE IF YOU INDEED PURCHASED THE ITEM AND HAVE PROPER PAPERWORK TO SHOW THAT IS BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH THEFT IN THIS COUNTRY …WICH IN RETAIL IS PASSED ON TO THE CONSUMER ….HOW ARE THEY INFRINGING ON YOUR RIGHTS BECAUSE THEY ASKED TO SEE PROOF OF PURCHASE …YOU NEED TO FIND SOMETHING LEGITAMATE TO GRIPE ABOUT

  52. Josh says:

    Err, something smells foul here. A couple of things actually:

    1. If this was so black and white, open and shut, Righi\’s legal bill would be nowhere near $7,500. $1,000-$2,000 maybe. In my younger days, I had a similar circumstance that wasn\’t even cut and dry, and I paid a total of $500 plus court costs (total ~$650) and my record was expunged. Nowadays many attorneys even advise that a normal misdemeanor can be defended for around $2k.

    2. The agreement is one-sided, and from the reporter\’s response it seems like Righi\’s attorney is going overboard in saying that he caved when he didn\’t. An agreement not to sue the city is one thing. But any agreement that restricts speech (disparaging the police department) and requires confidentiality is not a good one. While I don\’t know the particulars of this case, I\’d hope that any attorney being paid 2-5x the going rate for such a defense would work diligently in his client\’s favor to paint his client in a good light while walking the fine line of the agreement.

    If it were me, I would have modified it to not include a confidentiality agreement, and to include a promise to adhere to libel/slander laws when discussing the police department. If I remember correctly, Police, who are public figures, can\’t sue for slander/libel; I\’d simply give them the option that, if my speech about them could be considered slander/libel under such laws, they could take action. But barring \

  53. gee dub says:

    Clearly some of us think you should have shown the receipt, and many of us are glad you stood up for yourself. I\’m disappointed you intend to donate the money you received, but you made your bed, etc…

    Now – PLEASE go after Circuit City for the ordeal their business rules and idiot employees CAUSED. Like the earlier poster said, you could probably find a lawyer willing to do this on contingency (cuz he or she will make easy money on this)

    I, for one, will not set foot in a Circuit City again until I read somewhere that they\’ve apologized to you for the ordeal…

  54. JOHN says:

    AS FAR AS POLICE ASKING FOR ID YOUR THE REASON PEOPLE GET BEAT DOWN BY POLICE …FOR NOT RESPONDING …IF YOU DIDNT DO ANYTHING WRONG THEN WHY PROTEST ….IT SEEMS YOUR JUST LOOKING FOR ANY EXCUSE

  55. RC says:

    I just hope the next time you decide to stand up for your rights- you do it for another- more serious cause than a stupid store policy at Circuit City! Jesus its not like they asked you do submit to a frickin strip search! I read a report about Toys R Us only asking African-American patrons to show their receipts- theres an issue- racial discrimination! But do you know that those patrons did not cause a scene at the store- rather they complied, documented the incident and then went home and contacted an Attorney and filed a class action lawsuit. They handled their situation better than you did. You must just be one of those people who likes to dick around with and cause an issue with people who are just doing their job- something you probably dont have. Youre probably just a spoiled brat who thinks hes sticking it to the man but youre just being an arrogant dick! Get a life.

  56. No One says:

    I\’m glad to see that the city (at least internally) had to acknowledge that this was a bad situation. I\’m sorry to see that your family was threatened by the (unnecessary and probably unlawful and unconstitutional) repercussions of your (correct) actions.

    I hope that next time you act in the exact same way. I hope that everyone reacts the same way whenever they are being abused by the compliance culture we\’ve worked ourselves into.

  57. Joe Blow says:

    Why wouldn’t the ACLU help you? That’s very curious.

  58. Sean says:

    Congrats on your victory! More people should be willing to make a sacrifice and stand up for what they believe in. You are a true Patriot.

  59. Sean says:

    Thanks for standing up for whats right – I think it’s important t do that no matter how trivial the cause may seem. And congratulations on your success.

  60. Ja says:

    I have received numerous emails from the reporter at the Plain Dealer now. He keeps restating that Righi’s attorney said it was important to state that Righi believes that the police department did nothing wrong. And that Righi will not speak to the reporter to state anything otherwise. Clearly, something is wrong in Righi’s story and he refuses to publish the true story. Nice job backing down on ‘protecting your rights’. What a joke.

  61. Jonathan says:

    To all of the people calling Michael a “prick” or telling him to just show his receipt next time. Be grateful that not everyone choosesto play the sheep role such as yourself. Not everyone is content “merely doing what they are told”. Its seemingly small insignificant things such as this that breed bigger violations of your rights. When you finally realize the police state in which you live, because you have “obeyed at every opportunity”…maybe you will thank guys like this who sacrificed to “sweat the small stuff”. I’ve often considered not even stopping when leaving a Walmart or a Costco to show my receipt. Why should I have to pull my wallet out and be inconvienced to prove that my belongings are mine. Perhaps some day I will refuse….then I will be illegally detained, then I will take a long vacation and enjoy the fruits of my lawsuit. Businesses should first respect thier customers and not assume they are thieves….if they can’t seem to do that, they should spend their money on surveilence and not bothering every customer to verify their honesty.

  62. Erika says:

    I think you\’ve done a good thing. Thinking of your family is always important, and while it may to some seem like you\’re giving up on your word to fight no matter what, being willing to sacrifice that for your family\’s well-being is always commendable.

    I\’ve also sent an email to Mr Sangiacomo about his article, telling him that I\’m a bit disappointed in him. (Actually, I wanted to say that he\’s a disgrace and a bloody liar and what the fark was he thinking, but I decided to go with well-reasoned rather than shooting my mouth off.) I seriously doubt I\’ll get a response, but like you, at least I\’m -saying- something.

  63. Not JOHN says:

    Hey, JOHN.

    CAPS LOCK, DUDE. LOVE IT. LIVE IT. PRESS IT once in a while.

  64. FP says:

    I support your decision. I agree with the other comment that effort and money is better spent elsewhere than fighting this to the end. The cop and the city are embarassed and know that they do not have a leg to stand on.

    It is frustrating that they do not want to accept responsibility for their actions and bullied you into dropping all charges.

    And the real tragedy here is that you can not assert your basic rights without involving highly paid lawyers.

  65. Mike Right wannabe says:

    I hope you learned something.

    Oh, and forcing me to leave my name here is a violation of my rights!

    You putz.

  66. Ichabod says:

    I think I would have insisted that the city pick up your attorney fees. Congratulations on having the cojones to fight Circuit City and city hall — but a lesson your case illustrates is that it is better to pick only one fight at a time. In other words, don\’t hassle the cop you called to help you.

  67. The Chinat says:

    You did the wrong thing.

    Your so-called principles are worth nothing.

    America is slowly succumbing to Fascism. Your rights get trampled on and you cave in rather than fight. A truly principled man would have continued to fight against civil rights abuses. And that\’s what this case was all about from the start…your rights and everyone else\’s rights. it wasn\’t about Circuit City wanting to see a receipt, it was about how the Police responded.

    Your capitulation in this matter is a complete abrogation of any principles you claim to hold. Your acceptance of agreements not to sue in exchange to have the whole thing expunged from your record were an act of cowardice. In the grand scheme of things, your family\’s comfort means little compared to what good may have resulted from following through on civil litigation which, should you have won, would have strengthened and reaffirmed legal rights which are being diminished on a daily basis.

    You sir, are not the man of principle you claim to be. You are nothing but a
    guy who won five minutes of fame and a few blog hits. Perhaps that\’s all you really care about.

    You have no one to blame but yourself when a day comes when the Jackboot is upon your throat and the throats of your family.

  68. JayR says:

    I totally agree with Disappointed in DC\’s comments. You let alot of us down. Thats unfortuate.

  69. Noel says:

    what’s with all the different people posting that “they contacted the plain dealer and…” giving the exact same description of the journalist’s response?

    are they all independently getting a cut and paste answer or is this a bunch of people claiming some find as their own?

    (or, the slashdot tin foil hat version: is this some sort of lie machine campaign to get us to believe that he caved?)

  70. Blader says:

    What a remarkably pointless great act of defiance!!

    I can’t wait to see it in YouTube technicolor!!

  71. Slinger WI says:

    I\’ve read this since I heard about.

    In the first place, I think you were overly harsh to stand up to CC for wanting to operate a secure business (it\’s not they who are being or encouraging a repressive government).

    I don\’t agree with the police in their handling of this – it would really piss me off too! But in a way you sort of postured yourself for it — that said, this does not make me side with the police or CC.

    I\’d have a hard time morally asking for aid too but I can see where one would feel behooved and or encouraged to do so.

    In the end, I really do think it is minimally honorable of you to ultimately decide to donate the contributions – that must have been a really tough decision.

    But what really does upset me off is that you would act to contribute the donations to such an anti-American crap destructive mis-guided group such as the ACLU. While we know what the initials for ACLU stand for, they do not actually conduct themselves in the best interest of America (as I know it). OTOH, they ought to be thankful that they are in a country such as America so that they can even operate!

  72. Me says:

    You are a freaking idiot. IF YOU WERE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG, there was no reason not to show your ID. DUH! What if some Al Quaeda members came over or some Americans who agreed w/ their views and refused to give their correct names and caused all sorts of havoc???? You would be yelling and screaming. Civil rights, whatever! Go back into your hole.

  73. Righi D-Bag says:

    You are a d-bag. I hope it was worth all the wasted time, stress and money. You are selfish. You wasted your families time when it was very clear they wanted none of this. You wasted the recourses of tax payer funded police, courts and DA\’s. And you wasted your own time.

    You\’re a bored rich kid who needs to get a hobby. Stop being so anti-social and learn to work with society.

  74. Jim says:

    Congratulations on wasting government time and money when all you had to do was show your reciept. You need a hobby. I suppose you feel important now.

  75. TheAlchemist says:

    You rock, dude! I wish more people would do what you had the courage to do.

  76. Chris says:

    WTF??

    You “agreed” not to sue them for something they clearly did wrong and they “agreed to expunge your record”?

    How can “expunging your record” be an apology when you did nothing wrong in the first place?

    Wow…

  77. bryan says:

    I wonder – if you had a better lawyer (?) would you have been able to at least walked away with no huge debt owed?

    that really bothers me, to be honest. you should have invested time, yes; but NOT money!

    (and I still think you should accept donations. I would perfer to donate to YOU and not the aclu, fwiw..)

  78. Sparr says:

    Just FYI, in Tennessee if you refuse to show identification you can be taken to the police station for fingerprinting. Not arrested, but still detained.

  79. bryan says:

    “jim”:

    he was not the one wasting gov’s time. gov is THERE to have its time, as you say, ‘wasted’. THEY were the ones who committed a crime (yes, its a crime to falsely arrest someone. yes, cops can break laws and should be punished, too).

    so this guy gets falsely arrested, the city ADMITS such, and you still have the gall to say HE wasted THEIR time?

    the gov is there to serve the people. when it stops serving us and starts controlling us, we have lost what america was founded on.

  80. Albert says:

    You can please some of the people some of the time. But you can\’t please all of the people all of the time.

    That being said what you did was probably the best course of action.
    Though persoanlly I would of given the cop my license and would of avoided the hassle entirely.
    My time is worth more to me than the time having to deal with something like this unless I was going to get paid big time.
    But that\’s just my opinion.

    In any case it\’s good that you stood up for yourself and came away winning… somewhat.

  81. Comrade says:

    It is amazing how some people have the temerity to judge you negatively over this. I will care what they have to say when they stand up and try something like this themselves. When they have had a taste of the legal (notice I did not say justice) system and the heartless machinations it subjects people to they may feel differently.

    Kudos to you Michael for doing what you could and having the courage to stand up against something you knew to be wrong. If more people resisted these wrongs we would have fewer of them and hopefully fewer bully cops like Arroyo.

  82. Rebel says:

    Couldn’t you have gotten the city, or Circuit City, to pay your legal fees?

  83. Rebel says:

    I also meant to tell you Great Job! though. I appreciate you standing up for citizen’s rights.

  84. Brian says:

    I followed your story with much enthusiasm. I’m quite disappointed with the outcome. Nothing has been resolved. The police admitted no mistake. You’re not suing the police or the city. This injustice has not been run through the bureaucracy, thus is invisible. No one has benefited but your lawyers.

    This is an all or nothing deal, so stopping short has solved nothing. What a downer.

  85. sh@sh.com says:

    Yes, the terrorists have won.

  86. NSCAdmin says:

    Congratulations on the win. Unfortunately you had to go through those lengths to achieve it…

  87. Sympathetic says:

    I applaud you in your battle and am a bit dissapointed that it ended as it did. It feels more like a stalemate than a victory; to which you were entitled.

    I wonder though, could you claim that you signed the papers under duress? That would invalidate the agreement and surely they would not go after you criminally after that. Perhaps an attorney who works on contingency would be interested in the case.

    I understand that you did not want to sue but money is the only thing that the city will listen to. You should sue if at all possible and if you feel guilty about it donate that money to the ACLU also.

  88. bryan says:

    “IF YOU WERE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG, there was no reason not to show your ID.”

    but that is just NOT the law! the law, as this judgement (so-called judgement) proves is that you do NOT have to ‘show papers’ to cops just cause they say so.

    there is the assumption of innocence in this country.

    but it appears that this country is not the same country I grew up in, some 40+ years ago. very sad that the current generation (most of them) are so nintendo’d out to be able to remember the civics classes they had in high school; and what our country was founded on. personal liberties against illegal state force WAS one of the founding principles of this country.

    I feel sad that so many people ARE willing to trade complacency and ‘yes sir, anything you say, sir!’ for rights that people DIED for, in war after war, over the past 200+ yrs.

    yes, showing a receipt is not a big hardship, but its the point that matters, not the specific instance. when you are asked to give up more and more of your rights, privacy or freedom and you find no reason NOT to give up ‘little ones’ here and there, where does it stop?

    freedom and privacy is so important. even the ‘small cases’ are important.

  89. who cares says:

    it cost you a ton of cash to flex your civil liberties you weren’t using anyways?
    congrats, i guess.

    next time, provide your damn license and get over it.

  90. Sean says:

    I\’m a police officer. I have no problem with citizens standing up for their rights, they should. We have to keep the government in check and ensure the US Constitution is being followed.

    The reason why we ask for ID is because people who are wanted for crimes lie to us about who they are. If I respond to a radio call for whatever type of situation, say a bar fight for example, I will ask both parties for ID. If someone refuses or says they don\’t have ID, I have the right to take them to the station, if I can\’t figure it out in the field, to find out who they are. They are detained at that point, not necessarily arrested.

    How would you feel if a citizen I came into contact with refused to show ID, and I was unable to press the matter due to it being a \

  91. J says:

    As a fellow Ohio citizen who has had to spend thousands defending his own rights, I commend you! Thanks for standing up for yourself, and by extension, the rest of us!!

  92. Mike says:

    You\’re such a dumbfuck. It\’s because of stupid americans like yourself that keep me in business :)

  93. Shocked and saddened says:

    I donated $100 towards Michael’s cause, as he seemed to be a brave and courageous man, fighting for the civil rights of all Americans. Now, I’m left agreeing more with these comments from Slashdot:

    so what was the victory?
    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=304833&cid=20697151
    Since he didn’t actually force the city to admit any wrongdoing… all they did was drop the case. Seems to me like he wasted a lot of time and money for nothing.

    How is it a partial victory?
    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=304833&cid=20697229
    The guy spent $7500 on the case and forfeited the right to pursue further legal action against the city for being wrongfully arrested, but hey at least his criminal record is clean now? His record should have been clean the whole time, so there’s no victory there either…

    As my old mate said…
    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=304833&cid=20697071
    “One more such victory and we will be undone.”
    This headline needs rewriting as “Man wins Pyrrhic Victory”. $7500 worse off and he didn’t even get an apology. Hell, if he’d actually been shoplifting he’d have got a smaller fine than that.

  94. I am happy and congratulate you that it\’s been settled more-or-less satisfactorily and without too much cost (although none would be better). I\’m also happy at your decision to donate the money to the ACLU, of which I am a supporter (ever since 40 years ago a colleague told me “you’re legally required to pay taxes; therefore you’re morally required to support the ACLU to help mitigate the problems your taxes cause”).

  95. Truth says:

    And the winner is………..

    THE LAWYER!!!!!

    cha-ching: $10,000 paycheck for nothing.

  96. ben says:

    I\’m not exactly sure what the law is (especially in Ohio) but what they asked you to sign is invalid. It lacks consideration. In exchange for making your promise not to sue, they needed to make a promise or performance in exchange. It seems doubtful that what they \

  97. Hal says:

    The one part of this story that I find ominous is the mysterious phone call from the unnamed family member. Maybe I am reading too much between the lines but it sounds to me like there had been some harrassment of the family by the local police. If so that is far more worrisome than any of the other events that happened.

    The fact that a police apology was ruled out from the beginning suggests to me that the PD was taking a hard line approach. Under those circumstances some departments would strike back at the most vulnerable point, Michael\’s father and young siblings. This would explain Michael\’s secrecy as well as his giving up the fight.

    I can understand why Michael would do that but if something like this is what happened, we are living in a far more sinister police state than most of us imagine. If the police can cover up their mistake by threatening innocent children then we have a truly massive evil here. Perhaps in time the full story will come out.

  98. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a hero. You’re standing up for the “little” things–the “small” freedoms that people give up just because it’s too much hassle to claim them.

  99. ben says:

    I’m not exactly sure what the law is (especially in Ohio) but what they asked you to sign is invalid. It lacks consideration. In exchange for making your promise not to sue, they needed to make a promise or performance in exchange. It seems doubtful that what they “exchanged” was expunging your police record. They already had a legal obligation to do this. It is smart to tread lightly in light of your families wishes, but if you wanted to rekindle your suit when things quiet down, it might be possible.

  100. I first and foremost say THANK YOU for standing up for your rights and clearing up the whole situation.

    Now if we could only get people to do this MORE OFTEN (not just blacks about racial spurs, but EVERYONE) then this country would be so better off.

    As far as the police are concerned if you made a mistake YOUR SERVICE THE PUBLIC it shows me that you DON\

  101. Brandon says:

    I\’ve been following this story ever since I saw the article on Slashdot, and after the outcome, I can\’t still can\’t decide whether or not you\’re an arrogant bastard or a upstanding citizen who has defended our civil rights. In the end, I think you\’re a little of both. I do applaud you for standing up against something that you were not legally (albeit morally) required to do. But as said by a few others, I agree that if you were not prepared to go the distance, you shouldn\’t have even started the arguments in the first place.

    I agree, it is sad that today in this society you are required to pay to play, and if you don\’t have the resources, time, and patience to manage the situation, then perhaps it isn\’t a very good idea in the first place.

    If you were trying to prove a point here, I think you have already done that. Although you didn\’t get the exact outcome you were looking for… and the city nor the police officer admitted they were wrong… I think most of us can agree here that they \’were\’. Obviously, the prosecutor wouldn\’t have agreed to drop the charges if they weren\’t.

    But, your lack of longevity in this situation proved to me that you weren\’t ready to fight for the rights that you were defending. And all in all, you are now paying for it.

    That my two cents. Godspeed.
    -Brandon

  102. Bob says:

    I totally disagree with the right not to have to show ID when asked in a law enforcement situation. Which this was. 911 was called, the officer was trying to enforce law. I feel he has the right to validate the identity of who he is dealing with.

    Just because you say your name is something doesn’t make it true.
    Say you get a DUI and your license is suspended and you continue to drive without a license. You get pulled over for speeding. You lie that you “forgot” your license and give a fake name. You get let go.

    Say you are just walking along in a park that the President may be giving a speech. Are you allowed to just walk up to him in a public place without ID or just because you say your name?

    Also just because it isn’t LAW that grants them the right to look in the bag it may be policy at the store. Once in that store it may be their policy and aren’t you bound by their policy while conducting business their?
    It isn’t LAW that product X is $Y it is store policy. You can’t just say I refuse to pay $Y because it isn’t the law. It is their policy to charge that much so you are bound by their policy when you FREELY came into the store and follow their policy of that price.

    Just because it isn’t corporate policy to look in bags does it mean that there can’t be local policy to that store?

  103. Scooty says:

    I do wish you’d find a charity other than the criminal-supporting ACLU. They’re even cooperating with CAIR.

  104. Paul says:

    What a cop out. The Police f**k you around, arrest you in front of your kids, bully you and then get away with it completely and youre out of pcoket. WHAT A COP OUT. You need to find some way to sue the city or at least file an offical complaint with the Police so that that a**hole w*nk stain cop gets an offical warning. That will get the power nazi off this throne, make him realise that he works for the people.

    Them – happy, they dont get sued
    Him – gets away with it.
    You – f*cked

  105. bzelbob says:

    Mr. Righi,

    I followed some of your story and, from what you said, I think you have acted correctly in standing up for yourself while not putting your family through the long, drawn-out hell that is our legal system.

    I for one wish to tell you, that I will no longer patronize circuit city in any way. I think we have to all stand up for ourselves and let these companies know that we refuse to be treated like criminals in order to have the privilege of shopping at their stores. Once Circuit City realizes what they have started, they will realize that they stand to lose far more money than you.

    Bravo sir and well done.

    bzelbob

  106. Mr. Wilson says:

    Sean Says:

    September 21st, 2007 at 12:51 pm
    I\\’m a police officer. I have no problem with citizens standing up for their rights, they should. We have to keep the government in check and ensure the US Constitution is being followed.

    The reason why we ask for ID is because people who are wanted for crimes lie to us about who they are. If I respond to a radio call for whatever type of situation, say a bar fight for example, I will ask both parties for ID. If someone refuses or says they don\\’t have ID, I have the right to take them to the station, if I can\\’t figure it out in the field, to find out who they are. They are detained at that point, not necessarily arrested.

    How would you feel if a citizen I came into contact with refused to show ID, and I was unable to press the matter due to it being a \\

    Well Said! The cop was just trying to do his job. The CC employees were in the wrong and should be taken out back and whacked with a wet noodle. You, my friend, are a numbskull. Just show your receipt next time. Many stores require it. The cop did not ask to see your ID becuase you were just strolling down the street. You were involved in a possible theft. What a doofus. Arrogant and obstinant !!

  107. bryan says:

    @ben: “I’m not exactly sure what the law is (especially in Ohio) but what they asked you to sign is invalid. It lacks consideration. In exchange for making your promise not to sue, they needed to make a promise or performance in exchange.”

    ianal (sometimes I wish I was) but my understanding of contract is that BOTH parties ‘get something’ out of the deal. if you agree to give stuff to the other party but receive nothing for it, it is NOT a contract! by definition of what the word ‘contract’ means.

    again, I wonder if you had a better lawyer (?) if things would have gone a bit better.

  108. Paul says:

    Bob burped this crap:
    Say you get a DUI and your license is suspended and you continue to drive without a license. You get pulled over for speeding….

    You HAVE to present a drivers license when youre in control of a automobile, NOT when youre walking down the street. You SHOULD read the articles before making this non-arguement

  109. Ben says:

    Well done. I’m glad to see that people of principle still exist.

  110. Kurt says:

    DUDE WTF – Screw your family and sue sue sue, don\’t you know what being an american is all about? sue them 6feet under..

    weak.

  111. bryan says:

    @wilson: “The cop did not ask to see your ID becuase you were just strolling down the street. You were involved in a possible theft.”

    you totally miss the point.

    first of all, this was NOT a ‘possible theft’. if it was, the store should have pressed charges FOR THEFT. there was no theft and that was not the issue.

    besides, the law is clear – walking down the street or not – you don’t have to ‘show papers’.

    for a change, the law actually makes sense. the cops did NOT know the law. that’s what this case was about. the receipt stuff was part of it, but illegal arrest due to not showing papers is more shocking to me as its the state flexing its muscles. stores and their muscles – THAT we can easily deal with. stores don’t carry GUNS and tasers… its the power grabs on the part of the state (slowly, over time, like cooking the lobster) that worry me the most.

  112. So, basicly, you are saying you should have showed your Fucking License.

    Dumb Fuck Moron.

    7,500.00 of other peoples money just so you can pay for your own fucking mistake.

    So much for your principles, and you, stupidly, wondered why other people submit.

  113. Bob says:

    “You HAVE to present a drivers license when youre in control of a automobile, NOT when youre walking down the street. You SHOULD read the articles before making this non-arguement”

    True – the point was that just because you give a name doesn’t it make that name true.

    Also he was NOT just walking down the street. HE called 911.
    The cop was trying to enforce the law and validate ID.
    Just because I say I am “Bob” doesn’t make it true.

  114. Carl says:

    Dude, congrats, but you really come off as truly righteous and pompous in your little sermon, there.

  115. A says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team, and putting in the time and emotional energy that must have taken a toll on you. It’s appreciated by more people than you probably know. The slow erosion of our legal rights isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and any effort to hold back the natural progression of the abuse of power (whether through corporations or legal authorities) is worthy of our time.

  116. Sakura says:

    Thanks for wasting our tax dollars on your ridiculous case.

    You were picked up because they suspect you of shoplifting, is it so hard to show your receipt to a shop employee or are you so arrogant enough to ignore them because they are working under minimum wage?

    Have fun doing it again. Karma comes around.

  117. Aixelsyd says:

    Be careful as your advice about fishing license is wrong. Well if you are fishing that is. Ohio regulations state that you must show the license to anyone upon request. Not likely of course on the way out of a shop. :)

  118. NOYB says:

    It is bullshit that you have to pay $10,000 when none of this was your fault. I would have donated the PayPal money to charity and sued the police department for court costs. Its not your fault that the poo-poo department don\’t train their officers correctly.
    YOU may be fortunate enough to have $10K to blow on legal expenses when you are wrongfully accused, but the vast majority of us don\’t.
    This just goes to prove how wrong the U$ works.

  119. G says:

    After reading all these posts and considering each persons thoughts no matter how absurd or wrong I felt they were I came to one conclusion.

    It is easy to sit in your chair and call this man names and say he caved, it is easy to sit in your chair an cyber-pat him on his back.

    What is not easy is to face someone abusing your constitutional rights.

    I think many people have never faced this or just not truly aware of what their rights are and give them up unknowingly every day.

    I think he has gone 100X father in pursuit of our \\

  120. Jimmy Jimson says:

    MR wrote: “This post has only just begun to scratch the surface of what unfolded since September 1st, 2007. I have funny stories, sad stories and outright infuriating stories from the last few weeks which I hope to eventually tell you more about.”

    Write a book. When I buy it at Barnes & Noble I will refuse to show my receipt.

  121. G says:

    I think he has gone 100X father in pursuit of our “God Given Rights” than 99% of you ever would, including myself.

    To fault a man for putting family first and foremost I would never do.

  122. Jack says:

    Does signing a document saying you will not sue them actually have any weight in court? I was under the impression that right can\’t be waved by agreeing to contracts or other legal documents. Companies require many things similar to this in contracts (such as ISP contracts and privacy policies, etc). It seems like it would be prudent to inquire with a lawyer about seeking compensations even though your charges were dropped. How can a defendant ever be expected to to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome?

  123. Alen says:

    Incidentally, whether the law takes its course or not we end up paying for both defense and prosecution.

  124. Jason B says:

    Man that\’s is quite an ordeal you went through. I would sue the pants of Circuit City.

  125. anonymouse says:

    I really hope you plan on suing Circuit City. They cost you a lot of money and deserve to be bent over.

  126. Alex says:

    holy shit man! you lost so much money for being such a cry-baby?

    that hurts my pocket! So… asking for donations through the internet isn\\\’t hurting your pride, but refusing to show a damn paper and wanting to defeat the system is? Man…

  127. FemaCamper says:

    People like you are the only hope left for America. You’re my hero.

  128. Phil says:

    I understand the choice to go forward was something you had to make personally. that said.. I find it HORRIBLE that in this country a prosecutor can agree to drop charges in exchange for you agreeing not sue… That is so wrong I don\’t know where to begin. If they are willing to make that agreement is MEANS they KNOW they are wrong. As a prosecutor he is REQUIRED to drop charges in the interest of justice if they are unlawful.. and the judge should do that if he doesn\’t. This type of agreement should be ILLEGAL and the so called ACLU should jump on something like this… The truth is they are too busy protecting the likes of the north american man boy love association (nambla) and other stupid causes. You should just give your money back to the people who gave it to you rather then support this evil orginization with a nice sounding name… do your self a favor.. if your going to donate.. give it to a real civil rights/privacy orginization. sorry you wasted many thousands on this and didn\’t go all the way. but I can understand your decision…

  129. Phil says:

    and for you others on here who say he should have just shown his reciept… why should he? If he bought the product its his… he owns it as soon as the cash was taken. if the store has a problem.. they should look at the security footage, checked the register tape and if a problem notified the police. by blocking his exit they detained him illegally and are liable. If I walk out of the store and the alarm goes off. screw them..I paid for the item and Im not going to let some minimum wage rent a cop wanna be try to tell me what Im going to do. they can kiss my ass. If everyone doesn\\\’t agree to show there reciept at the door the store will have to stop this stupid tactic of checking everyones recipts like they are a criminal.. circuit city has always sucked anyway… they won\\\’t see a dime of my money anymore. order online anyway.. no tax and you don\\\’t have to deal with idiots..or hear \\

  130. Bryan says:

    BOB said: “It is their policy to charge that much so you are bound by their policy when you FREELY came into the store and follow their policy of that price.”

    I just opened a store, and we have a policy that we get to fondle anyone that enters. We don’t post this policy anywhere you can read it prior to entry (just like CC doesn’t post their receipt checking policy).

    Do you still think people should be bound by store policy?

    The only thing a store policy can provide is a reason to force someone to leave your property.

  131. Jake Moses says:

    I’m really disappointed about this. I didn’t care about the police thing. You were obviously going to win that. There was never any question. I thought the police deserved a civil suit, simply to be slapped on the wrist the same way anyone is when they break the law, and at the very least they should be responsible for your legal bills, if not punitive damages for what they put you through. But there was nothing special about this. It’s just your run-of-the-mill police misconduct.

    But Circuit City. That one’s just huge. As far as I can tell, the extent to which Circuit City and many other retailers are pushing the shopkeeper’s privilege with these receipt/bag checks has NEVER been tested. And these are seriously questionable actions by these retailers. The shopkeeper’s privilege to detain and investigate theft REQUIRES reasonable suspicion. Even if there is a statute expanding the Common Law shopkeeper’s privilege to include mandatory receipt/bag checks (and I’m 99% sure Ohio does not have such a statute), it’s extremely likely that it would be held unconstitutional by the courts. There is a forest-worth of case law that says declining a search by police officers does not create reasonable suspicion of probable cause.

    It’s not every day that you stumble upon a test case — something that VERY LIKELY would go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Something that you could very likely win. How would it be to make that kind of history? To force mighty corporations, who are blatantly flouting the law, flouting the U.S. Constitution no less, to change their practices. Hell, even if you lost because we’ve had a Supreme Court for the last twenty years or so who seem to think that criminal rights is an oxymoron, to even have a real shot at having your case go all the way to the Supreme Court . . . How can you give that up?

    What you got from the cops is peanuts. You paid $5k+ for them to drop bogus charges? That’s not much of a bargain. The police aren’t charging me with any bogus charges right now, and it didn’t cost me a cent! Fight Circuit City. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t.

  132. Jake says:

    I have to say, this is one of the more petty things I have ever read.

    The law is not black and white. For example, I\’m sure that you didn\’t speed on your way to Circuit City. I\’m sure that you report all of the money you get in your birthday cards from grandma to the IRS.

    While the cop may not be able to legally make you show your ID, that doesn\’t stop you from helping make his job easier.

    While Circuit City may or may not have legal rights to have a policy to check your bag on the way out, that doesn\’t stop you from helping keep their shrink rate down and keep product costs down for all consumers.

    Of course, upper-class white guys don\’t think about making things easier for all of the lower-class poor people who are going to get the crap kicked out of them by cops who are frustrated by upper-class white male pricks who refuse to show their IDs.

    Hey, you can afford whatever you want at CC, right? Why help keep costs down for people in the lower income brackets?

    Nothing you did is noble. It\’s self serving. Find a real \

  133. Jake says:

    Find a real “battle” to fight.

    Jake

    P.S. How did you sister enjoy that video game by Disney, a company charged with all sorts of human rights violations?

    You’re a real hero.

  134. Vicki says:

    First, allow me to offer my congratulations.

    Second, allow me to ask your detractors exactly what it is they are so disappointed about?

    People! It is clear the majority of you are only disappointed because you feel *you* have been cheated out of the satisfaction of being a voyeur in a sensationalistic case, as well the pleasure of witnessing someone else do the dirty work for you.

    Those of you who feel Mr Righi is being a coward, are all welcome to go posthaste to your nearest Circuit City and perform the exact actions Mr. Righi did, and then spend many stressful weeks carrying out a legal battle to defend your rights – a legal battle which will cost thousands of dollars. Oh, and be sure to involve your family. And don\\\’t forget your suit of armor to protect yourself against the onslaught of insults and slander which will surely come your way.

    If you actually take it as far as our brave Mr. Righi did, be sure to step up your battle, forcing your family to continue to be involved – even after they bring to light something that will cause pain and suffering to them if you do continue. I mean, why not? It is your civic duty, after all, to carry something out to the bitter end, for the betterment of mankind.

    Mr. Righi did the right thing to cease this battle in light of his family\\\’s needs. He put THEIR needs before his own. He made his point and he made us all aware and he won something for us all. Then he stepped aside exactly when he should have. THAT is no coward, nor a quitter. That is a brave person.

    Thank you, Mr. Righi.

  135. NightKev says:

    In response to the “Man you caved, you lost!” etc comments:
    So family is unimportant? They don’t matter? We should just say “screw family” and press on anyway, even if it means hurting those we love in the process? That doesn’t sound right.

  136. rorshach says:

    Well I see a lot of negativity from citizens from a litigious society, and I also see someone who doesn’t like “The Law” pushing him into something that he does not have to do. Now I’m no lawyer, but it’s logical that if Ohio state law says that you don’t have to show a Driver’s license or any form of ID just because the Police ask you to, then you don’t have to. But, you are also agreeing to be detained by the officer, until a more legitimate proof of ID can be made. Just as showing your receipt to the store authority is something you don’t have to do, at the same time you are also agreeing to have them call the police in suspicion that you are stealing. I’m not saying that what you did was right or wrong, but in light of what it cost in time and money, it would follow that showing your receipt would’ve just been easier.

    Still, standing up for your rights is always good, but like anything else, it comes down to picking your battles. In this case, at first it was indignant, and from the replies it seems like you had the naysayers support, but then stepping out from what could’ve cost you more, I can’t say that I would not have done the same thing.

  137. Dallas, Tx says:

    Dude, i want to say congrats for winning the suit, i read the day i first saw it posted. First thing i want to say though, is that the whole not being able to say what happened with the phone call kind of makes me wonder as to what could have happened or been said change an already set mind. That being said, i feel that you handled the situation pretty well, but still could have forced the police station to pay your court fees. Hell you could have even made YOUR lawyer write the deal out. You had complete control of the situation and knew it right off of the bat. I have spent the past 5 years studying law and law enforcement, and i\’ve lately been seeing too many well run cases go down because of \

  138. Necros says:

    Time to shop on the internet?

  139. Rob says:

    Okay, so I understand that you were making a point, and that\’s great, but you have to pick your battles. The CC employee was doing his job, I work in a similar environment and theft is a big issue and in the end the employee ends up actually losing money because of it. Perhaps calling the police because of the dispute was a little extreme, but so were your actions. As for the officer not knowing about the laws, that is a mistake on his part, then again police officers take bullets for us, so I think I\’ll let that slide this one time. North America is faced with a lot of problems right now, ie; war, terrorism, growing crime. Why should we cause a few more just because we need to feel important. There are far too many people who feel the need to wage a war for their own beliefs just to give themselves a feeling of self importance and meaning. If you want to make a diffence in your community do it by helping out your fellow man, not by wasting the time of those people who are simply trying to do there jobs. If ever you are faced with a real attack on your civil rights and you want to take a stand, I\’m behind you, but refuse to give any positive feedback on such an act as this. Resolve disputes, don\’t make them.