Can police bar a person from public property?

Do police have the authority order a person to stay off city property?

An ex-firefighter here in Ann Arbor was arrested after showing up at City hall after being told to stay off city property. Here’s the story that appeared in the Ann Arbor News, and a followup. The articles don’t explicitly say who ordered him to stay off city property, but I’m assuming that if it was a court order, it would say so in the paper. It does say they are pursuing charges for “failing to obey a police order”, but that could have been for the scuffle.

The article also doesn’t say how he was notified, just that “He was told specifically the day before that he was not permitted in any government building”, which sound verbal to me.

I don’t know him or the background, but I’m wondering if he’d have a case against the city for violating his rights or something.

Sounds like he was a security risk. I believe the police were well within their rights to deny entry.

I’m going to bump this. I’m looking for a more factual, or at least authoritative, answer to whether the police have authority to ban someone from public property without getting a court order.

A court order would not be necessary. Though it’s a “public” building, it doesn’t mean Joe Citizen can come and go as he pleases. Each tax payer does not own part of the building. It is owned and operated by the City Government. Public buildings and parks have hours of operation and one cannot enter or remain in a facility passed those hours. Though a person can initially assume he is allowed in the building during hours of operation, any authorized agent can tell him to leave - especially for the purposes of public safety or welfare.

A “verbal” warning is all that is necessary. There doesn’t have to be a court order or a documented Trespass Warning, provided the warning was given in the presence of a law enforcement officer, and that officer was also present to effect the arrest. That’s pretty rare though. Based on what I read, though, there is enough for an officer to arrest him. The “trespass after warning” is a little weak, but he’s going for the ride anyway, might as well list all the possible charges and see what the DA wants to pursue.

Had he not ran from the officer, he would have a decent case in court, since there is no record of the order to stay out of that building. (At least no record mentioned) He would just say in court that he was never told to stay out of there.
But he didn’t leave. He stayed in the building and ran. The officer only has to say “leave” once. Granted, it’s a pretty weak case against him for trespass. He’ll probably get off in court with some plea deal. The resisting/obstructing and failure to obey LEO will stick though. But those are still only misdemeanors anyway.

So to sum it up.

Is a court order necessary? No. A verbal “don’t come back” is sufficient, provided a LEO or judge said it. Basically, the officer trying to arrest the person has to “KNOW” that the suspect has been told to stay off the property. He can’t just “believe” the person was warned. A paper document or actually witnessing a verbal warning are sufficient.

Who can order the guy to stay out of City Hall? Any authorized agent of that building or the city. Not sure who exactly that includes, but there has to be someone “in charge” there. It would include the Mayor, councilmen, and higher ups in the various offices in the building. But not the janitor or anything like that. It would also include security officers if present in the building. I’m suprised there is no mention of security in the article. Because while several people could tell him to stay out of that building, very few could tell him to stay out of ALL city buildings. City security could tell him that. But most likely, they would make sure to have the guy sign a Trespass Warning so it’s documented. The Mayor could tell him to stay out of all buildings, but if he had, they would have said it in the paper.

I’m curious who said it and why they did not get his signature as proof he was warned.

I wasn’t really specific about this. The answer is Yes, police are authorized agents. But normally they don’t “ban” people. And if they did, they document it and obtain a signature from the person. Or, at least they should.

Normally it’s more like this:

Guy causes a disturbance. Cop says Leave. Guy doesn’t leave. Guy is arrested for “trespass after warning”.

In many parts of Canada we have the Protection of Public Property Act that can be used to ban someone from a specific place for a period up to 6months. We used to use it a lot when I was a lifeguard at a city beach. When someone was causing a problem (it was a violent neighbourhood) the cops would roll up and issue the PPA. If the person returned the cops slapped a pretty hefty fine on them. In this case the person was only banned form that specific location.

This act was used (as the name implies) to protect public areas like beaches and parks from people that just couldn’t play nice.