Freddy Nelson Shot By Armed Security Guard at Lowe’s Parking Lot
Freddy Nelson, 49, was shot by an armed security guard at Lowe’s in North Portland. The private security guard was hired to patrol businesses in the Delta Park area, police said.
It is impossible to imagine a scenario in which a private “rent-a-cop” security guards would be justified in shooting and killing someone outside of a store. Security guard shootings should not, under normal circumstances, occur. This incident was likely an unlawful use of force by the security guard, who should have called police if he felt his life was in danger.
Training By Private Security Companies is Sparse
Armed security guards are everywhere, projecting an image of safety amid fears of mass shootings and terrorism. But often, it’s the guards themselves who pose the threat. More than 1 million security guards work in retail stores, hospitals, sports stadiums and other locations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They typically are responsible for protecting property, enforcing rules, conducting security checks and deterring criminal activity. They should not be engaged in vigilante law enforcement against the public.
Most work for a security company that contracts its services. Others are hired directly by a business or corporation.
While the vast majority don’t carry weapons, those that do have raised special concerns. A 2014 investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN found poor oversight and little accountability of the armed guard industry. Twenty-seven states did not check whether armed guard applicants were in a federal database banning them from carrying a gun and nine did not conduct federal criminal background checks, the investigation revealed.
There are no federal standards for training security officers—armed or unarmed—so it’s left to the states. Basic training usually involves learning how to administer CPR, the proper use of force, how to deal with the public and fill out reports, and how to report suspicious activities and interact with police.Fourteen states do not license or issue permits to armed security guard applicants. And nine states do not conduct a federal criminal background check, allowing anyone to work in the field regardless of his or her history, including potentially dangerous individuals, such as domestic abusers and felons.
Few states make any attempt to check whether guard applicants have abused drugs or alcohol or exhibit mental health problems and a predilection for violence. In Oregon, the “requirements” for being an armed security guard are minimal; you cannot be an armed security guard if you:
- Have been committed to the Mental Health and Development Disability Services Division under ORS 426.130, or similar order in another jurisdiction;
- Have been found to be mentally ill and subject to an order under ORS 426.130 prohibiting the person from purchasing or possessing a firearm as a result of that mental illness;
- Be prohibited under US Code Title 18, Section 922(g)(8) (relating to civil restraining orders including stalking or harassment) from possessing a firearm in interstate commerce; or
- Be prohibited under any law of this state or any federal law from purchasing, owning or possessing a firearm (usually, a felony record).
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Assaults by bouncers, shootings by private security guards, and any other violent attack upon the public by someone hired to protect the property is usually improper; in some instances, it can be criminal. Property owners can also be responsible for “customer on customer” violence and shootings. If you have been injured on a business premises click here to send a confidential e-mail.
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