LARGO, Md. - A petition is calling for a Largo liquor store to be shut down after two incidents in which the owner is seen on video making and assisting police in making arrests.
The owner, Jay Kim, is not a licensed security guard or a law enforcement officer, but in one incident from August, Kim tackles a customer and puts handcuffs on him until police arrive. That customer, Nathaniel Davis, is seen on video knocking down a display, but Davis says the whole incident started after he came to an elderly woman's defense in a dispute with a clerk.
A second incident from July shows Kim helping police tackle a trespassing suspect, which raises the question about Kim's actions and if they are legal.
Former Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey says in certain circumstances in Maryland, citizen's arrests are lawful, specifically if the citizen witnesses someone commit a felony or a misdemeanor which disturbs the peace.
Yet Ivey cautions anyone from taking the law into his or her own hands because of the risk of physical injury or legal liability.
"Generally speaking, certainly the police tend to disfavor citizen's arrests,” he said. “They discourage it for sure because citizens run a risk of being injured personally while they are making the arrest.”
Ivey says citizens making an arrest also can open themselves up to lawsuits if they arrest the wrong person or use excessive force.
Prince George's County police did not respond to FOX 5's question about whether or not they would encourage Kim not to use physical force against customers in the future.
The State's Attorney's Office says both Kim and Davis were charged in the August incident, but those charged were dropped.
Nearly 6,000 people have signed a petition asking the county to close down the liquor store, yet there is no indication that will happen.
FOX 5 tried to ask Kim about whether his actions were putting himself or anyone else in danger, but he had FOX 5's Evan Lambert escorted out of the store by an off-duty police officer.