Nashua Police: Use of Taser Warranted in Arrest of Newton Woman at Shopping Mall
The Newton, Mass. woman had $16,000 in cash on her when she was arrested outside the Apple store.
Nashua, N.H. police are saying today that their use of a Taser in arresting a Newton woman was warranted under the "force continuum," which allows for incremental use of force during an arrest – from police officer presence up to and including deadly force.
Newton, Mass., resident Xiaojie Li, 44, was arrested Tuesday at the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, after she allegedly trespassed at the mall's Apple Store, Nashua Police Capt. Bruce Hansen confirmed to Nashua Patch Wednesday.
During the arrest, Nashua police used a Taser to try to subdue Xiaojie, who is charged with two misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges.
Hansen said the Xiaojie had been asked to leave the store two days earlier by management, after she had been "videotaping" other customers, Hansen said.
"They told her to leave and not come back, and she did. Then on Tuesday, she was back in the store around 11 a.m.," Hansen said.
It was also a day that the store happened to have a police officer working a detail in the store due to a crowd control problem, Hansen said.
"They have an issue with groups of people coming in and one person providing the money so they can all get in line separately and each buy multiple items in the store, goods that they then ship overseas and sell for four-times more money," Hansen said. "In effect, if a group of 10 people do that, they can leave with 20 items."
Hansen did not say that was the reason Xiaojie was asked to leave. However, he did say it was the reason Apple frequently hires a police detail.
A request for comment from Apple's corporate office by Nashua Patch about the incident, and their security practices, was not immediately returned.
Hansen explained that the store has a policy in place limiting sales to two items per person. The police detail is designed to discourage the group purchasing practices.
"Yesterday happened to be a detail day, and the store manager noticed this woman in the store as the same woman asked to leave two days earlier. They told her she was not welcome, and they went back and forth about it for a period of time. The woman refused to leave. Police finally intervened," Hansen said.
"Our officer told her if she didn't leave she'd be placed under arrest, and her response was, 'Why?' and then 'No!'," Hansen said.
At that point the officer attempted to place Xiaojie in handcuffs outside the store, but she resisted and the two ended up on the ground. Hansen said police were able to place one of Xiaojie's hands in cuffs but she was twisting on the ground, holding her other arm underneath her.
A second officer arrived to assist and after failing to get Xiaojie's other arm into the cuffs, she was Tasered, Hansen said.
"We felt she understood what was going on, and was not cooperative," Hansen said.
Xiaojie claims she cannot not speak English and didn't understand why the Apple Store called the police. In an interview with WMUR, Xiaojie said she was attempting to buy several iPhones for family in China. Apple employees informed her she was limited to just two, but she claims she spotted other customers buying more than two phones.
A nearby shopper caught video of the Taser incident, which shows police arresting Xiaojie. Viewers can hear the apparent screams from Xiaojie as well as the buzzing of the Taser.
Hansen said using a Taser during the arrest was warranted under the "force continuum," which allows for incremental use of force during an arrest – from police officer presence up to and including deadly force. In this instance, a Taser was used rather than pepper spray, due to the number of other people in an enclosed area.
"Once you shoot off your pepper spray, it contaminates an area, so the decision was made to use the Taser in 'drive stun' mode," Hansen said. He said he viewed the YouTube video of the arrest which was posted by WMUR.
"It's not a pleasant experience but it's not designed to be," Hansen said.
He also noted that Xiaojie had a large amount of money on her – $16,000 in cash – at the time of her arrest.
"That also tells you something. Any merchant, in this day and age, that would have a paying customer leave their store – that tells you they didn't want her business, and they have a right to turn her away," Hansen said.
You can see the entry on the Nashua Police Log uploaded here. Xiaojie is due in court in January to face the two misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges.