A guy wearing a motorcycle helmet in a WalMart is approached from behind by the manager and told to take off the helmet or leave. Since he was listening to music on earbuds, the man never heard the manger. The manager calls the cops.

Now the encounter could have gone two ways:

  1. They ask for his ID, see his receipt, see that he paid for his items, and heard both sides of the story. He didn’t have an attitude, even. So seeing all of this, chalk it up to misunderstanding, ask the manager if he wants the man to receive a trespass warning, if yes, do issue it and tell the man he is no longer welcome in the store. Everyone leaves, encounter deescalated.
  2. No, instead we get officer badass. By 7:45 into this video, he tells the motorcycle rider “You seem like an argumentative person. You need to take your hand, go like this, and pull your head out of your ass. Don’t mess with me, I am not the guy you want to mess with. You hear me??”

My answer at that point would be, “I know about the First Amendment. Spare me your roid rage bullshit. Go fuck yourself, and I am not saying another fucking thing until you get me a fucking lawyer, douchebag.” Then I would go to jail and be the state’s next winner of the “sue the cops” lottery.

Instead, he followed the cop’s instruction to stop talking, and they arrested him for not talking.

The manager lied. The cops violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights, and possibly others. I would be a money making individual. As he will hopefully be. He wound up suing them for malicious prosecution, illegal search, and illegal arrest. Mr. Pfaendler offered to settle with the city and department for $250,000 but the offer was rejected. The case, Pfaendler v. Sahuarita, Town of (4:20-cv-00188-JCH) has been running through the courts for more than two and a half years.

Cops like this are douchebags. When they are harassing compliant, law abiding citizens, firing beanbag rounds in random drive by shootings, tossing flashbangs into baby cribs, or using armored vehicles to clear people out of a bar during COVID, they are total bad asses. When it comes time to stop a mass shooter from killing a bunch of third graders, they stand around outside, texting people on cell phones that are emblazoned with Punisher logos, or take cover behind cars filled with children and soccer moms.

I swear that cops like this make all of you look bad. Either you cops need to clean up your ranks, or if there are so many of these meatheads that you can’t accomplish that, then walk away. I also don’t think that a WalMart in Arizona can trespass you from WalMarts in Maine. He may be mistaken there, but I would have to check.

Categories: Police State


Don W Curton · November 15, 2022 at 8:19 am

I’ve worn my helmet inside convenience stores before. Generally I avoid going inside larger stores while riding. Never had an issue, but then I have an open face helmet and don’t have earbuds going.

That said, they also ignore that many of the nicer helmets are also very expensive. My plain jane open face helmet cost over $400. No way I’m leaving that outside on the bike while I’m meandering around a store.

And there were many opportunities in that little encounter for any of the 4 cops to go, well, he didn’t steal anything, didn’t break any laws, manager wants him to leave, if he agrees to leave peacefully then we’re done here. The fact that none of the 4 came to that decision means they’re all bad cops, not just the one asshat who chewed him out.

And I’m with you on the Walmart ban, I don’t think a single trespass complaint can permanently ban you from a store open to the public.

    Will · November 15, 2022 at 10:46 am

    If a trespass warning is issued, he can be arrested for trespass if he returns to that store. There is usually an expiration date (example: 12 months) on a trespass warning and I doubt it applies to all Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs. I live in Florida. It could be different in other states.

Elrod · November 15, 2022 at 11:02 am

I don’t ride as much as I used to (I’ve had 50K+ mile years on a bike, but not for quite a long while) and I, too, have entered stores and shopped while wearing a full face helmet.

Inside the helmet I was also wearing foam earplugs, to preserve what hearing I have left, and I suffer from hearing loss (too much enduro kart and motorcycle racing in my teens and twenties without hearing protection). I have difficulty hearing normal conversation without earplugs and helmet, with it’s nearly impossible, which is why my head is up and constantly on a swivel – visual is my primary means I have of being situationally aware.

Also, since the very early ’90s I have also been armed wherever it is legal to conceal carry; since I carry a gun for self defense I have a strong obligation to not be surprised by “events” if I am to protect myself. I seriously doubt that were I in similar circumstances I would be unaware of anyone, such as the Walmart manager, or anyone else, near me or even within visual range around me.

I have never been hassled anywhere while wearing a helmet; in fact, in my twenties and thirties I routinely entered my bank and made in-person deposits and withdrawals while wearing a full face helmet. I did have the tinted visor up and bank personnel knew me. It was also routine to enter a convenience store to pay cash for gasoline without removing my helmet and to enter a fast food business to order and buy food without removing my helmet.

All that said, Mr. Pfaendler committed both strategic and tactical errors by not audibly and clearly stating his intent to exercise his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent much earlier in the encounter, and when the encounter progressed not requesting legal counsel. Once those rights are claimed the terms of the encounter are firmly established; Mr. Pfaendler could, as unwise as it may be, elect to waive those rights at a time of his chosing but they first must be claimed.

I assume Mr. Pfaendler has retained legal counsel who is conducting his side of the suit and that said counsel is sufficiently skilled as to subpoena complete personnel records for the police officers and Walmart personnel involved and whatever histories and records as may exist for trespass warnings and filings at the Walmart store where it happened as well as all other Walmart stores in the general area.

And, since his offer to settle for $250K was rejected, I would expect he is seeking a judgement in multiples of that figure which, unfortuantely, will not be paid by the officers involved. I would expect that his counsel has, or will, also file suit against Walmart, especially if it can be proved that Walmart, both the store in question and other stores, has permitted shoppers entry who are wearing face coverings of a type that conceals their facial features and prevents recognition (and, yes, a Covid mask with dark wrap-around sunglasses legally constitutes “face coverings” in many jurisdictions)

One question – the audio from the Walmart manager indicated he said ” I could not touch you (him?)” but I’m not sure that is legally true; technically, “physically touching” legally constitutes “battery” but I do not know what Arizona law says about “casual touch to gain an individual’s attention.” If such is permitted under Arizona law that should add to the settlement his counsel obtains from Walmart since either the corporation failed to properly train, or inform, its management employees or at least failed to properly supervise them. The Walmart manager also had the option to move in front of Mr. Pfaendler to get into his field of vision to gain his attention without physical contact but chose to not exercise that option.

Neither Mr. Pfaendler nor his attorney will get enough out of this to retire on, but both will have their rent payments covered for a while and any settlement goes into the history books for future reference.

I’ll make a note to check on the status of this case occasionally, but DM, if you can, please keep us informed on how this case goes. I’m curious about how it ends up, and especially, if the Geheime Staatspolizei agents involved suffer any consequences.

Aesop · November 15, 2022 at 4:28 pm

That cop shouldn’t do a day in jail. Per se.
He should simply be fired for cause, pension terminated, and serve 30 days in the public pillory, while anyone who chooses to is allowed to walk up and kick him in the balls until their foot gets tired, or he passes out.
(No steel-toed boots though. Cowboy boots would be okay. Let’s be civilized about this.)

Then he should be revived, and the next contestant marched up to start kicking.

30 days should be enough to drive the point well home, and it should be televised on public access cable 24/7.
If he dies in the process, he should be given credit for time served, and released to the coroner.

During the lulls when he’s passed out, and they’re reviving him with ammonia ampules, they should cut to clips of him berating the guy in the helmet, and cut back to live feed once the kicking resumes.

On every Sunday, he should be joined in the pillory by the guy who hired him, the officer(s) who trained and supervised him, and their department’s chief of police. Same rules.
Respondeat superior:Fair is fair. Your circus; your monkey; own your shared punishment.

If they charged $1 for unlimited streaming, the city could recoup the settlement costs.

It should also run live and non-stop in the police station(s) in that city, unedited.

Nothing more needs be done after that.
The problem would self-correct before the 30 days were up, probably for the rest of anyone’s living memory.
In all likelihood, statewide, if not nationally.

    J J · November 15, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Aesop just missed one additional thing…that the coproach’s fingers should be broken so he will think twice before sticking them in anyone’s face again.

Joe Blow · November 16, 2022 at 5:54 am

Ya know, I’m glad you said something!
Wirecutter had a bad-cop video on his site recently, made my blood boil, tore off on a rant in the comments section about bad cops need to be purged, etc. Quite a good little fireball if I may say so myself!
Kenny took me to task for going postal over it. True, I should prolly chill, but… yes, as you say here, the compliance of other officers, the fact they don’t police their own, is what makes me so mad (then expect me to worship them? Man, get bent!).
These cops that allow this on their force, anywhere in this country, are no better than the hoodrats and scumbags in the cities that “didn’t see nuffin” every time there is a shooting.
They know who the gangbangers are just the same as the cops know who the roided out asshats are. Neither side wants to step up and act like men, so neither side gets treated like one.
Go eat a bullet from your service revolver, worthless pieces of shit. Actually they are WORSE than worthless, as their blind eye is what allows the malfeasance to happen!! If the bad cops thought they might get caught or ratted out, they wouldn’t do it! But since they know the blue brotherhood will never tell, they act worse than the criminals they claim to try to catch.

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