Employer not liable for police officer/security guard's arrest of customer.

Alert Category: Indiana

Alert Type: Business

In a case successfully presented to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana by Bullaro & Carton, P.C. on behalf of Citizens Financial Bank, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Citizens, holding that it could not be liable for the actions of an off-duty police officer employed as a security guard in arresting a bank customer. Crenshaw v. City of East Chicago, Indiana et al., 2008 WL 2557442 (N.D.Ind.). Citizens employed an off-duty police officer to work as its security guard. After a bank customer became disorderly inside the bank, the security guard arrested the customer and placed her in handcuffs. The plaintiff’s husband was also subsequently arrested. The security guard was dressed in full police uniform including his gun holster and vest emblazoned with the word “POLICE”. The plaintiff alleged that following the arrest, while still in the bank lobby, the security guard forced her into a chair by kicking her knee thereby causing injury. Citizens moved for summary judgment arguing that the security guard was acting in his official capacity as a police officer, and not as an employee of Citizens, when he arrested the plaintiff and her husband. Granting summary judgment, the District Court held that the arrest and all efforts made thereafter to effectuate the arrest, including the alleged battery, were performed by the security guard pursuant to his public police powers. The court ruled that Citizens could not be held liable for such police actions over which they had no control.