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In Russia, there's a movement called Stop a Douchebag whose two prime activities are as follows.

  1. Prevent people from driving on sidewalks.
  2. Prevent double parking.

The participants in this movement seem to adhere to very respectful speech. However, I'm wondering whether their method of combat would be legal in the US and why is it legal in Russia. The group's punishment is gluing large stickers - which cannot be easily removed - on windshields of offenders' cars.

Sometimes offenders say something along the lines of "My car is my personal property. On what grounds are you damaging my personal property?". The generic reply is "Call the police if you wish and they will decide." While this seems a legitimate reply, I'm wondering what the legal standing of such events would be in the US. In particular, would it be legal to glue such a sticker on the windshield of someone else's car? Why is it legal in Russia?

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    Its illegal, as I understand there can be applied at least few articles from Criminal Code of Russia. The question is more political question than a question of law, and you may try to use google translate of russian wiki page about the movement, as it contains more useful information which could help to understand the situation. It is more like Black Panter, LGBT right activists, feminists etc - kinda same purpose, same shadow border of law – MolbOrg Jan 22 '17 at 3:27
  • Didn't Trump use this to defeat Hillary? – K Dog Jan 22 '17 at 14:55
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    Not legal in the USA. You're effectively punishing someone without giving them a trial. Taking down their license plate number of detaining them (ie, not allowing them to leave) until the police arrive would probably be legal (citizens arrest). – barrycarter Jan 26 '17 at 18:15
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    I'm just over here facepalming over how driving on sidewalks is such a thing in Russia that there's a freaking movement to stop it. – cHao Jan 10 '18 at 13:29
  • @barrycarter only the state can punish someone. If a private person tries to punish someone, the act is generally a crime. The fact that there's no trial makes no difference; if someone did conduct a trial before applying one of these stickers, it would still be illegal. – phoog Jan 29 at 17:09
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It is definitely illegal in Russia as well, but the police will do nothing.

Previous activity of this group included forcefully attacking people who tried to speak to a girl who disliked it and handling over such people to police to get fined "for hooliganism". Usual practice in Russia is to beat the people whom the random girls around dislike. This group stepped a bit further, involving police.

They use illegal or questionable methods, definitely. But they use them in a manner that people would be unlikely to complain to police because they themselves either did something illegal or public opinion is not on their side.

The police usually will do nothing even with much more serious violations, like beating somebody.

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    I don't get the part about the girl(s) - there was a girl that did not like (glueing/parking) and therefore somebodybeat somebody else...? – bukwyrm Jun 8 '18 at 14:24
  • @bukwyrm it seems to be a reference to sexual harassment on the street (taking "who disliked it" as "who didn't want to be spoken to") and efforts to discourage it either by vigilante violence ("beat them") or citizen's arrest ("hand them over to the police"). – phoog Jan 29 at 17:14
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In the U.S.A. we have criminal and civil liabilities. If a person parked illegally and got violent with someone who told them they were parked illegally then they would possibly be liable criminally and civilly. It would depend on how far things escalated.

The reason some law enforcement personnel get concerned over civilians confronting lawbreakers is that it can escalate quickly and people can get hurt. It never surprises security and law enforcement personnel how quickly things can escalate over a simple issue. I have watched several "douchebag" videos and it kind of reminded me of some of the confrontations I witnessed in the Mexican border towns where I grew up (where corruption is prevalent).

For the most part the douchebag people were nice. And it's a good idea in those situations to have several people, because most car drivers will usually not confront a group, but you just never know. I think the Russian government shut the group down because I believe too many of the drivers were being shown in a bad light.

And with the videos being seen around the world the government didn't like how their lack of traffic enforcement, civilians ready to resort to violence, etc., were being portrayed (causing them to lose tourist and business dollars).

-1

Though I do not know their laws regarding citizens arrest, I believe that they are puting the law at their own hands. Unless they are deputized to be traffic police or equivalent, I think they are not aithorized to detain people or do what they are doing. They should be arrested for damge to property, usurpation of authority, illegal detention, occasionally- defamation and or probably assault and battering.

-2

They are not detaining anyone - they are only legally standing on the sidewalk. Plus, they are not damaging the cars - they are only placing windshield stickers... this varies by state (I believe illegal in New York but legal in Arizona). So yes, this could be effective in any country where people are regularly parking on sidewalks. The big difference is that the police in any Western society are more likely doing their job - core reason is tickets run up to hundreds of dollars instead of only a few. They did end of in court, but an appeals court upheld the legality of their group. The groups getting away with illegally interfering with traffic are in the road. You can take down any license plate you want and film anyone you want, anywhere. Alas, in Russia, a woman is basically allowed to assault any man she wants to. If that was the law in America, I think men might beat women and get arrested until the laws changed. It might come to that here. I mean, 95% of the prisoners in the world are men. And, it's only getting worse. The 2nd Amendment for guns is about protection from an immoral govt. I personally believe that should mean better legal representation. Today, America spends less on public defenders than European countries. And, that's really the bigger issue here. This effort in Russia is more basic and about changing the social disease of lacking accountability.

More to the point, the drivers would be in much more legal trouble anywhere in the "free" world. Those driving over pedestrians in the sidewalk would spend the night in jail (without bail). Those making threats would be fined for assault and those actually attacking (with weapons) would again automatically end up in jail for more than a few days without bail. Finally, most cars would be towed and the expenses likely over $500. Unfortunately, there are few real laws in Russia and corruption is a big problem. It's the wild west. They have long been known on Youtube for being the worst drivers - a reflection of their people. This is about Russians finally finding an ethical foundation.

  • Because of the gluing on, it is illegal everywhere in the US, the extent depending on state (probably a class 2 misdemeanor in Arizona). Loose fliers, OTOH, are not illegal and enjoy 1st Amendment protection. – user6726 Jul 26 '17 at 21:14
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    The vast majority of this response is irrelevant and offensive commentary or op-ed, and the remainder adds nothing to the existing answer or is simply not correct. -1 and I suggest editing prior to more downvotes or flags against quality. – Nij Jul 27 '17 at 8:42
  • It is possible to do something normally legal (like standing on the sidewalk) and for it to be illegal depending on circumstances. – David Thornley Jan 28 at 17:47

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