Don’t know about you but there’s no telling what I’d do if I found a thief in my house. Between the sheer wrongness of it and the adrenalin rush and the fear it wouldn’t surprise me if I experienced temporary insanity. Oh yes, I’d do some damage. And think: Banshee if they hurt my dogs or my piano. Granted some sob addict desperate for some cash for their next rock doesn’t deserve to be beaten to their death by me in retaliation, but I do find the story of David Chen pretty mind blowing.
David Chen owns a shop in Toronto’s Chinatown. In May 2009, he observed Anthony Bennett stealing plants from his store on video. An hour later, the thief turned up again. This time, Chen chased Anthony down, grabbed him, tied him up and locked him inside a van until the police arrived. This is known as a citizens arrest.
The police came. In addition to arresting the thief, Chen was arrested on the grounds of forcible confinement and assault. Apparently if he’d arrested the thief right after the act of thievery it would have been ok, but that 60 minute delay makes all the difference under current law. The thief, by the way, pled guilty and served 30 days in jail. Chen’s case starts on Wednesday.
As you can imagine, folks are in an uproar. It seems asinine doesn’t it? Olivia Chow thinks so, and is introducing a private members bill to allow a broader time frame for making citizens arrests. I hope she succeeds. But I also hope we never get to the point in Canada where it’s ok to engage in this practice, apparently common in NYC’s Chinatown.