What to do if my son worked at an ice cream shop and put a can of whip cream in his car that he was going to pay for before he left work but failed to do so?

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What to do if my son worked at an ice cream shop and put a can of whip cream in his car that he was going to pay for before he left work but failed to do so?

The owner called the police and they both questioned him about stealing the whip cream. He stated that he was going to pay for it and offered to do so. They proceeded to cuff him and while he was in cuffs he called home. He told me what was going on and the police man proceeded to strike him in the ribs because he was on the phone saying “Knock that **** off”. They took him to the police station and I sent my husband down there to see what was going on. The policeman said that my husband needed to go outside, that he needed to talk to him and he would send my son out when he was done with him. Is this legal?

Asked on February 27, 2013 under Criminal Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

For safety reasons, a cop can ask a person to wait until they get to jail in order to make their phone call.  They can prohibit the use of the cell phone during transport.  However, the degree of force utilized to enforce the rule should be reasonable.  If he physically struck him, that would seem extreme for this situation. 

As far as when your husband went to the station, they are not required to let anyone else into the interview room except the defendant's attorney.  When a defendant specifically requests an attorney, the interview must cease until the attorney was present.  So the officer could legitimately prohibit your husband from being in the interview room. 

Even though many of the items that you describe are technically legal (except the excessive use of force), the reaction of the officer and the owner seems a gross overkill for the offense described.  I would normally suggest that you talk to the chief or police or sheriff (whoever is over this officer)-- but considering the extreme nature of the conduct,  you may want to talk to a local defense attorney first and get a feel for this officer and his boss.  Bad officers will have a reputation that many defense attorneys in the area will know about.  Some will offer free or inexpensive consultations.  My concern, at this point, for your son is that if he is be railroaded by a bad cop, they it could continue to the courthouse.  You really need to know more about how this type of charge is handled in your area. From there, you can make a decision on whether or not you will need an attorney to help control the madness of this officer and employer.


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