(a) Any theater owner or lessee, or an employee or agent of a theater owner or lessee, who observes any person committing an offense or attempting to commit an offense in violation of this chapter may stop the person. Immediately upon stopping the person, the theater owner, an employee or agent of a theater owner shall identify himself or herself and state his or her reason for stopping the person. If after his or her initial confrontation with the person under suspicion, the theater owner or lessee, or employee or agent of a theater owner or lessee, has reasonable grounds to believe that at the time stopped, the person was committing or attempting to commit the crime of unlawful operation of a recording device on the premises, the theater owner or lessee, or employee or agent of a theater owner or lessee, may detain the person for a reasonable time sufficient to summon a police officer to the premises. In no case shall the detention be for a period exceeding one hour. Detention must be accomplished in a reasonable manner without unreasonable restraint or excessive force, and may take place only on the premises of the “motion picture theater” establishment where the alleged crime occurred. Any person so stopped by a theater owner or lessee, or employee or agent of an owner or lessee pursuant to this section shall promptly identify himself or herself by name and address. Once placed under detention, no other information shall be required of the person and no written and/or signed statement shall be elicited from the person until a police officer has taken him or her into custody.
Terms Used In Rhode Island General Laws 11-65-3
- motion picture theater: means a movie theater, screening room, or other venue that is being utilized primarily for the exhibition of a motion picture at the time of the offense provided for in § 11-65-2 of this chapter. See Rhode Island General Laws 11-65-1
- person: extends to and includes co-partnerships and bodies corporate and politic. See Rhode Island General Laws 43-3-6
(b) For the purposes of this section, “reasonable grounds” includes knowledge that a person appeared to be operating a recording device on the premises in violation of § 11-65-2, or appeared to be attempting to operate a recording device in violation of § 11-65-2 while on the premises.
(c) In detaining a person whom the theater owner, or an employee or agent of a theater owner has reasonable grounds to believe is committing the crime of unlawful operating of a recording device, the theater owner, or an employee or agent of a theater owner may use a reasonable amount of nondeadly force when and only when that force is necessary to protect himself or herself, or to prevent the escape of the person being detained or the loss of the unlawful audiovisual recording.
(d) The owner or lessee of a motion picture theater, or the agent or employee of such owner or lessee, who alerts law enforcement authorities of an alleged violation of this chapter shall not be liable in any civil action arising out of measures taken by such owner, lessee, agent or employee in the course of reasonably detaining a person that the owner, lessee, agent or employee had reasonable grounds to believe violated this chapter.
(P.L. 2005, ch. 162, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 164, § 1.)