BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An attorney is sounding off after a man lands in hot water for attempting to stop an alleged shoplifter outside the Mall of Louisiana on Valentine’s Day.
Cellphone video captured by a delivery driver during the wild struggle outside the mall led to Frank Lamb’s arrest. The man now faces battery charges after he tried to stop accused shoplifter Latonya Hamilton.
“The law doesn’t want people taking the law into their own hands unless the absolutely, positively have to,” said attorney Franz Borghardt.
The video appears to show Lamb kicking the alleged thief twice during the tense standoff while three others hold her down. He’s then seen walking away from the incident not long after his encounter with Hamilton. Borghardt is not involved with the case but says what Lamb did takes things a step too far.
“She is accused of a crime but the other very important layer of this is we don’t want citizens just walking up to incidents like that and kicking someone," Borghardt said.
According to Louisiana law, citizens actually can intervene and even detain someone if they commit a felony but Borghardt says a simple theft from Macy’s just does not cut it.
“That’s not what we’re dealing with here," he added. “What we’re dealing with is a citizen that decided to take the law into his own hands and it was a kick of opportunity. He got a free one in and there’s a consequence to that.”
Lamb reportedly told police he was trying to help stop the thief but Borghardt says the video seems to show otherwise and he believes what the man did could have even further escalated the situation.
“Trying to help is not getting a good kick in while she’s down and then continuing to walk so I don’t know how much assistance he did and in fact, it could be argued that by kicking her it probably just enraged her more,” said Borghardt.
The attorney believes the main problem with the man’s actions is safety and he tells WAFB the crazy encounter should encourage folks to think twice before deciding to take the law into their own hands.
“You don’t have to intervene in that kind of a situation," said Borghardt. "You certainly don’t have to kick somebody while they’re down and if you want to avoid trouble, you don’t do those things.”
The attorney says if someone encounters a similar situation, it is best to call 911 and ensure that they are safe. Anything beyond that in most cases, could end in unwanted consequences.