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About four days ago I was assaulted by an individual between the ages of 16 to 25. He struck me in the back of my head as hard as he could, as him and his friends passed me on bikes. I had heart palpitations from the event, and was reasonably afraid for my life. I was just informed the police had suspended my case.

The individuals in question are on a security camera striking me. A few days later I ran into them again at a Chik Fil A. All three were of the same build, and they had the same style and color of coats. If I'm able to look at the security camera footage I would be able to identify them. I snapped photos of them in the Chik Fil A to get clear shots of their faces. They're clearly active in or from the area.

Shouldn't the cops be able to give their photos to patrolling officers, and they arrest when their seen? Is there any means for me to get access to that security footage? I've called back a few times since the event occurred, and every time the officer told me to call back in a few days. They're going to offend again, possibly more seriously. Since I frequent the area, and they're still out there I basically need to get a conceal carry license to protect myself from future attacks. How can I get the cops to take this seriously?

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  • Law Stack Exchange is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized advice from a qualified legal practitioner. Communications on Law Stack Exchange are not privileged communications and do not create an attorney-client relationship.
    – Trish
    Sep 10, 2023 at 21:26
  • When I was robbed, I had the culprit's finger prints and I would have recognised his distinctive voice anywhere. When I heard he had robbed many other people too I went to the police, but it was just a glorious waste of time. They do what they deem to be important. Or their seniors, but not individual members of the public. Sep 10, 2023 at 21:32

1 Answer 1

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This is a matter of police discretion

First, allow me to sympathise with how frightening and disturbing that incident must have been.

Since you mention Chick Fil A, you are either in the US or Canada, both of which are common law jurisdictions with similar police law. Well, more similar than Civil law jurisdictions.

The police decide how, when, or if they investigate crime

Since the police have “suspended [your] case”, it appears that they have decided that investigating or prosecuting it is not worth their time and resources. That’s a decision the law allows them to make.

The US Supreme Court affirmed in 2005 the common law position that the police do not have a duty to any specific individual. That is, if you had been assaulted right in front of a police officer, they would be under no obligation to intervene. Similarly, they are under no obligation to subsequently investigate the assault.

You have three options, none of which is really good:

  1. Keep hassling the police until it’s easier to investigate than to put up with you, however, police have a high tolerance for this sort of thing.
  2. Depending on where you are, it may be possible to launch a private prosecution.
  3. Sue the perpetrator for damages in a civil case. The problem with that is you can’t identify which one hit you and they have 3 witnesses to say it never happened and you only have 1 who says it did. This last point is probably a mayor factor in why the police made the decision they did.
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  • The battery is on a security camera. I'm pretty sure I ran into them again, so I snapped a photo of the three of them. If I'm able to look at the footage I can identify which one hit me. A police officer told me I can't look at that footage.
    – ZeroPhase
    Sep 10, 2023 at 21:47
  • @ZeroPhase what the police officer is saying is that the CCTV footage is private and they will need a warrant to get it. Either getting a warrant is unlikely (police know the local judges and have a good idea when a warrant will be forthcoming and when one won’t) or not worth the effort (in their opinion). It’s also possible the CCTV footage no longer exists - older systems using VCRs overwrite themselves after 24-48 hours. Or never existed - some cameras are dummys and some systems are no longer active.
    – Dale M
    Sep 10, 2023 at 21:51
  • It's a public park. Pretty sure the cameras are operated by the police. I basically, have to wait until these people attack me again, and then the police will do something?
    – ZeroPhase
    Sep 10, 2023 at 22:00
  • @ZeroPhase they might, its up to them.
    – Dale M
    Sep 11, 2023 at 9:55

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