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Private Security and Law Essay

Pages:2 (722 words)



Topic:Private Security

Document Type:Essay


Private Security and the Law

Private security operatives are held liable for their actions based on existing federal and state laws. Potential liability for these operatives occur when attempting to stop or arrest criminals or when carrying out their daily operations. The most common potential liability issues for private security operatives are assault and battery. In addition, private security operatives can be found guilty under vicarious liability for the torts of another and for a violation of 42 U.S.C. 1983 (Reid, 2017). An example of a recent court case involving private security operatives accused or found liable for a 42 U.S.C. 1983 violation and under vicarious liability for the torts of another is State v. Santiago (2009).

In this case, the defendant Luis Santiago was involved in a verbal altercation at the Coronado Mall on July 20, 2005 in Albuquerque. Following the altercation, Santiago was stopped by security guards as he attempted to leave the mall. The guards pinned him down, handcuffed him, and searched his pockets where they found a pill bottle with approximately four grams of cocaine. At the suppression hearing, the District Court suppressed Santiago’s cocaine and his inculpatory statements, which was later upheld by the Court of Appeals on the premise that security guards were state actors subjected to the restrictions of the Fourth Amendment (FindLaw, 2010). With regards to vicarious liability for the torts of another,…

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…their employees. The company could be found vicarious liable on the premise that it did not adequately prepare the security guards on how to follow due process when dealing with a suspected criminal. Yee (2018) state that under the doctrine of vicarious liability, a security guard’s employer can be found liable for the actions of his/her security guards. In addition to vicarious liability, these security guards can be found liable for a 42 U.S.C. 1983 violation. When apprehending and carrying away the suspected shoplifter, the security guards deprived him of his rights and privileges by failure to follow due process. Therefore, the private security guards violated the due process rights granted to this individual by the Fourth Amendment…

Sample Source(s) Used


FindLaw. (2010). State of New Mexico, Plaintiff-Petitioner, v. Luis SANTIAGO, Defendant-Respondent. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Reid, B. (2017, April 14). A Legal Overview of Section 1983 Civil Rights Litigation. The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Wakefield, J. (2018, April 19). As Alberta’s Private Security Industry Surges, What Happens When Guards Behave Badly? Edmonton Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Yee, M. (2018, June 24). Security Guard Liability. Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

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