September 4, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — skeptisys @ 2:12 am

Michael Righi is an American citizen who knows our rights and fights for them, at his own inconvenience.

Read about his refusal to consent to a search by a Circuit City employee here, at his own website, or at Slashdot.


  1. Wow – his story should be on everybody’s summer reading list.

    I know I feel more aware & informed having read it. I’ve been asked to produce my receipt on over a dozen occasions at various places. I must admit, I didn’t know I had a choice.

    Thanks for posting this SkeptiSys!

    Comment by urbanshocker — September 4, 2007 @ 4:25 am

  2. There are two things going on here:

    First, a private company is asking to see your receipt . If a store doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, the solution is to not go to that store again. If you want to change things, you might want to inform the store’s management that the reason you’re not coming back is because of their receipt-checking policy.

    The second thing going on is that the cop asked for Mr. Righi’s drivers’ license. The cop had a suspicion that shoplifting occurred. He was legally wrong to ask for a drivers’ license and it was admirable for Mr. Righi to politely refuse even when threatened with arrest.

    This whole thing reminds me of a run-in my 7 year old and I had recently with a cop in a park. My son and I were jumping onto, off, and over, an incredibly sturdy bench – essentially a giant slab of wood attached to thick steel in concrete. The cop was concerned that my child would get hurt. True, it was more likely he would skin his knee on the concrete than on the padded play area but I asked the policeman what the crime was. She said technically it was “destruction of public property” Had she originally said, “hey, don’t jump there, you’re going to damage that” rather than “I don’t want anyone to get hurt” it would have been less ridiculous. The policeman pointed to the fact that grinding skateboarders scratched up the wood. So, because it is possible to destroy property that means that what I was doing was destructive?. I then asked about the squat brick wall surrounding the park. It was about two feet off the ground and nearly that wide. Could my son jump off of that? No, because that’s considered a fence and it’s illegal to walk on a fence.

    I gave two lessons to my son that day – that the police can be wrong about the law and that we should do what they say anyway because they can make your life miserable if you don’t. I’m proud of the first lesson, but not about the second.

    The irony about today’s environment is that the more police abuse their role, the more we should challenge them and risk abuse, not less.

    Comment by jutelincoln — September 4, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. Jute, I agree that boycotting a store for not treating the customer well is an important step, and one that also involves individual sacrifice. In this particular case, Michael has stated that he wants to provide Circuit City with ample time to respond to his complaint, before he would suggest a boycott is required. Some companies are more difficult to boycott than in this case, such as gas powered transportation, military companies, or those that control TV programming. I suggest local elections and public organizations at least are needed at that point. I have boycott Haliburton, but they get my money anyway.

    Comment by skeptisys — September 4, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  4. Point taken. I just wanted to point out that standing up for your rights to a cop is heroic indeed, but impersonating a shoplifter is a bit dicky. What do you call a half hero? He’s a 6-inch sub.

    Comment by jutelincoln — September 4, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  5. That’s very funny, Jute. I know you were joking, but there are people nowadays who think that not consenting to an unlawful search by an authority while undertaking their daily activities is the work of only a criminal. Hopefully more people will act like this hero, so we can all impersonate free Americans.

    Comment by skeptisys — September 5, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

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