REI Boilerplate Response to the May 8th ATM/Loomis/Arrest Incident

On May 8th, 2009 I was arrested at the downtown Seattle REI after I took a picture of an open ATM then refused to show my ID to Loomis employees, REI security or Seattle Police officers Officer GE Abed (#6270) and Officer Debra Pelich (#5976). One week later, REI has responded with a boilerplate message to members and customers that had written in about the incident. Several people have forwarded me a copy of it. So, I’m sharing it here.

It’s worth noting that one week later, REI has not made an effort to contact me. I am a member. They have my phone number, email and mailing address. Even if they didn’t, my contact information is not hard to find. It’s also worth noting, even though REI is claiming that they “did not request a trespass to be invoked”, the police report says otherwise. Either REI or the Seattle Police is lying.

From: Public Affairs <publicaffairs@rei.com>
Date: Fri, May 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM
Subject: REI Seattle
To: [MEMBER EMAIL]

[MEMBER NAME] –

Thank you for your email and the opportunity to explain the incident that occurred between one of our customers and a security company servicing an ATM in our Seattle store. It is unfortunate that the situation escalated to the point that the police were called by the ATM security officers and the customer was detained by the police. At no time did REI detain the individual and we did not request a trespass to be invoked. We do not intend to enforce the trespass issued by police, and the customer is free to visit our store in the future.

We appreciate people sharing their varied points of view about what should or should not have happened at the store. We regret that the matter couldn’t be defused before the police became involved. One step we are taking is to discuss with the ATM security company ways to prevent the circumstances that led to this problem.

We value your membership in the co-op and hope to serve your outdoor needs in the future.

Megan Behrbaum
REI Public Affairs

So, there’s that. If anyone else gets a different response and cares to share it, I’ll publish it here. Thanks to everyone that has been supportive through this. And thank you to the people that shared your emails to REI with me.

Originally published at: http://sbb.me/b3ze1

REI ATM / Loomis / Seattle Police Incident: The Cliff Notes


For new-comers to the story, here’s a brief recap

  1. On Friday May 8th, I took this picture at the downtown Seattle REI store.

    Two Loomis Employees Refilling an ATM at the Downtown Seattle REI

  2. I was arrested by the Seattle Police at REI. This picture was taken of me by Mark Sangerman, another customer at REI

    This is me getting arrested by Officer Abed at REI for taking a photo and refusing to show my ID

  3. After I was released and got home later that night, I wrote about my experience.

  4. The next few days was a lot of media coverage on various websites, print media, talk and news radio and on television news.

    I was interviewed on NPR member station KUOW in Seattle, WA today (May 13th). The full show can be heard at http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=17542. This is the few minutes that was about me and what happened at REI (mp3).

    Here’s the audio from the Dori Monson show today (May 13th) where we talked about the ATM/REI/Loomis incident (mp3). It’s just the actual show parts, no news or commercials. It was edited down by Matt Misbach. (Thanks, Matt). I’m pretty happy with how the show turned out.

  5. After a few days, I wrote an update about the new things that happened.

  6. What’s next is not especially clear, but this is not over.

Questions, comments, suggestions, editorial corrections, death threats, love letters, deathbed confessions, insider whistle blowing, vegan cookie recipes, high fives, bike rides, chilling exposes, or media requests? Email me. (veganstraightedge@gmail.com)

Originally published at: http://sbb.me/b3zd1

What happened at REI. An Update.

I will be on the Dori Monson show today (May 13th) at Noon (Pacific Time). If you’re in the Seattle area, you can tune into 97.3 FM. On the internet you can listen from their website. To use their in-browser player, you will need to have Microsoft Silverlight installed (gross) or use Windows Media Player (also, gross). Alternately, you can use their streaming MP3 in any decent audio application (iTunes, I’m looking your way). You can call in toll free at (888) 973-5476. You can email into the show through their website, too.

Also, you can email me directly (veganstraightedge@gmail.com) or on Twitter you can send me a direct message (if I’m following you) or @reply me.

Here are a few quick updates on things that have happened related to that blog post that I wrote about what happened at REI.

About The Spectacle of This Incident

About The Actual Incident

  • I was not arrested for trespassing. That much is clear. I was not told to leave. I was told in no uncertain terms that I could not leave. The cops had me sign a card as I was being released that acknowledged that (someone at) REI requested that I be trespassed. That means if I go back to REI within a year I can be arrested for trespassing. Although…
  • The downtown Seattle REI general manager, Kara Stone, was quoted on Slog saying that I am “welcome to come into our store” and that REI did not request I be trespassed. According to the Slog story, the Seattle Police records show otherwise. I’m guessing that the REI security people told the cops to do it and that the general manager was unawares of it. Either way, I’m not racing back there anytime soon.
  • It’s not clear (to me and others) if I was ‘arrested’ or just ‘detained’ or if the difference is just semantics. I never said in my post that I was arrested. I said that I was cuffed, taken out of the store by the cops, put in a police car and put into a holding cell for some time. Whether that was “arrested” or not, I’m not sure.
  • When I was released from the police station, it didn’t seem like any charges were being pressed against me. But when I tried to get the police report, I was reminded that charges can be pressed after the fact. So as of now, nothing more has happened with the police. We’ll see if that changes.
  • I was read my Miranda Rights when I was in the holding cell.
  • I was in cuffs the whole time I was in the cell.
  • We never completed the transaction for the thing I was trying to special order. So there’s not going to be any awkward “can you bring it out to the sidewalk” moment.
  • If there are more questions that you have or clarifications that you want, email me (veganstraightedge@gmail.com).

About What’s Happening Now/Next

  • I went downtown to request a copy of the police report. Because I’m listed as a suspect on the report, I can’t get it for a week while it’s in a process called ‘Public Disclosure’. This is in case there is any possible pending investigation. People listed as victims can get the report right away (as I understand it).
  • Someone (who wasn’t me) filed a complaint to the Seattle Police Department Office of Professional Accountability on my behalf. The OPA emailed me telling me, they’d contact me more later about it.
  • I contacted the The ACLU Washington State. They had already heard about what happened. We’re talking more.

The comments on every site where this story appeared spiraled out of control and off topic pretty quickly. My site is the only one where I have any control. So I’m trying something different than before. Comments are turned off. If you want to tell me something or ask a question, you can email me (veganstraightedge@gmail.com).

Update 1: I was interviewed on NPR member station KUOW in Seattle, WA today (May 13th). The full show can be heard at http://www.kuow.org/program.php?id=17542. This is the few minutes that was about me and what happened at REI (mp3).

Update 2: Here’s the audio from the Dori Monson show today (May 13th) where we talked about the ATM/REI/Loomis incident (mp3). It’s just the actual show parts, no news or commercials. It was edited down by Matt Misbach. (Thanks, Matt). I’m pretty happy with how the show turned out.

Update 3: Mark Sangerman took this picture of me as I was being arrested by Officer Abed.

This is me getting arrested at REI for taking a photo and refusing to show my ID

Questions, comments, suggestions, editorial corrections, death threats, love letters, deathbed confessions, insider whistle blowing, vegan cookie recipes, high fives, bike rides, chilling exposes, or media requests? Email me. (veganstraightedge@gmail.com)

Originally published at: http://sbb.me/b3zc1