Legalities of bodyguards assaulting people...

I’m talking private bodyguards like someone who doesn’t want to be bothered by random people might hire (not presidential guards or anything like that). AFAIK you can approach, talk to, insult, or provoke anyone you want; they don’t have the legal right to do anything physical to you unless you pose some kind of real danger or threat. But a body guard seems to be able to grab/shove/block/hit you just for getting to close to their employer long before you pose any threat and regardless of your intentions.

If I start shoving and punching every guy who gets within 10 feet of my date I’ll get arrested. What laws allow a pop star’s guards from grabbing, shoving, slapping dozens of people who just want to get an autograph or picture? Can these guards use their apparent special privileges at any time for anyone… like forceably tossing all the other kids off the monkey bars so their own children can have the park to themselves?

What kind of licensing and power/privileges come with being a bodyguard?

Being a current or former police officer and having connections to the local police department, I would think. But that is a complete wild guess. All I know is that some cops do moonlight as bodyguards.

Really comes down to the peculiar circumstances. If someone draws a knief at the bodyguards employer, he would be highly justified to take him down. On the other hand if there is a fan a distance away and is doing nothing more than scoping, then it would be difficult to justify any use of physical force.

The law is sensible…most of the time.

Plus finally one of the hallmarks of a good bodyguard is the ability to anticipate danger and preempt it, by taking preventative measures such as getting the client out of a area quickly, bringing them in to a buillding quickly and inconspicioulsly.

It’s the non-essential roughing people up I’m talking about; like when a celebrity has 3 guys plow through a crowd of people shoving them out of the way/grabbing cameras/tossing people onto the ground so their client can walk through unobstructed. Another example would be the guards physically stopping people from walking around the part of the beach or the corner of the restuarant their client is sitting in. I’m not seeing how a person can be permitted to grab/assault random people for no legally valid reason.

I don’t think being a cop has anything to do with it; they are subject to the same laws everyone else is and can’t just toss all the customers out of the sandwich shop so they can have lunch alone. How is it that a body guard can?

Does that really happen? I’m sure there must be isolated incidents (as with just about anything), but is it a more-than-rare occurrence? Surely there would be YouTube video out there, but I can’t find any (not that that means anything).

As for legality, AFAIK no, there is no special blanket bodyguard law that let’s them get away with crap like you’re talking about (now a Towelie law, that would be something). Maybe it’s a case of perception and lack of people pressing charges?

Yeah, a person - bodyguard or not - is restricted by the laws of the land. However, just pushing your way through a crowd is not assault, or half the Christmas shoppers would be arrested. Similarly, standing in the way and blocking you from proceeding is not assault. If the guard’s behaviour on private property is not appropriate then the owner can ask the person to leave - like the restaurant owner will take the paparrazzi’s side over a patron’s…

I assume too, grabbing someone’s camera by the lens when it’s pointed at you is not assault, unless they then hit you with it. They would have to grab your person. If them grabbing your camera makes you get into a dispute with them which distracts you from approaching the subject - bonus.

Blocking your way on a public beach or other public property may be “creating a disturbance”, but then the question is, what happens next? If you try to go around them, do they grab or punch you, or simply keep moving side to side to stop you going throughy? If you then deliberately try to push past, using arms, that would likely be assault - by you.

I suspect the good bodyguard is well trained in tactics and the law. A frustrated, slow-thinking fan (or political protester) is unlikely to be cool and use logic - so the trick is to eascalate it calmly until the other person makes the first inappropriate move. Having another bodyguard who will swear to that probably helps.

I suppose if you wanted to test the theory, you would find a public place, assemble a group of 10 or 20 friends who did not mind being beaten up and a couple of camera operators standing inconspicuously in the distance. Spread out about 4 feet apart, and slowly try to walk past the bodyguard. See if he loses his cool. See if 2 or 3 bodyguards try to take out the ringleader. See if you can find 10 people crazy enough to try this who won’t lose their cool either, won’t hit back no matter what happens.

Of course, he could always pull his gun and say he was being threatened by a mob…

But - even if you have video proof - if the DA (not influenced by rich people and ex cops, of course) decides that ust challenging the guy and his boss was sufficent provocation to justify a small amount of force, then who’s going to prosecute? Ditto for suing - can you afford as many lawyers as the other guy?

Might makes right; or the golden rule - “he who has the gold, rules”.

Your personal freedoms end where another person’s begin. You do not have the legal right to be in the same space as them.

A bodyguard will let you know as you approach to stay away - either by speech or body language. In this capacity he is informing you of the wishes of the person he is protecting.

Once you disregard that, you are harrassing the person the bodyguard is protecting and defensive force may be legal. By approaching too close, after being told not to, you are considered hostile and a potential threat.

A well trained bodyguard will know when the boundries allowing what kinds of force are crossed. A bodyguard will generally not attack you for yelling insults at his ward. But disregard the persons wishes for personal space and approach anyway for an autograph then reach for a pen inside a jacket pocket and you might find yourself face down on the ground in an armlock - or worse. As far as the bodyguard knows you were reaching for a weapon.

I have seen someone ask about an altercation wheer someone pushed someone out of the way to get through, and the police said unless the could prove the guy was deliberately agressive, if he said it was an accident the other person fell and he was just squeezing through or they bumped, then there was no grounds to lay assault charges.

Assault is pretty serious, the court doesn’t want to be jailing everyone who pushes the other guy’s shoulder… Technically touching someone is assault, but unless it’s a police officer who gets “touched” or they really want to get the guy, odds are a charge won’t be laid, not to mention it won’t stick. It has to be obvious that physical intent was to assault. I recall a union greivance where the boss wanted to fire someone, and was told waving a finger an inch from the boss’s nose was not grounds, even if the rest of the hand was a fist. Unless he actually punched - no offense. Even waving a fist likely wouldn’t have done it.

I’m sorry, you’re going to have to provide a cite for all of this.

If I am on public property and/or on private property with the right to be there, and if I am moving in the direction of a “celeb” and not emitting any reasonable signs of imminent danger, the bodyguard can

a) kiss my ass and walk around me
b) commit a tort and touch me

and no, refusing to move when asked by someone who has no authority to demand your movement is not construed to provide reasonable apprehension of harm

Usually this happens in a place like a restaurant or mall or such, private property where you have no automatic right to go anywhere. If the property owner has consented to the person “occupying” that area, you have no right to challenge it. In a public place like a city beach or the sidewalk, you have as much right to be anywhere as anyone else. I suspect people who value their privacy enough to have guards avoid being exposed (so to speak) in public places.

If the person says “excuse me” in a corwd and you don’t hear them and get pushed aside, that probably would not be assault. If they come and push you out of the way while you are just sitting there - assault. If you approach someone in a private place like a restaurant, and people obviously with the approval of the management try to stop you, you have no right to complain and no right to get through. I suppose you could always try “No entiendo, senor” and try to keep walking past them…

I saw “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiasse eating by himself in a Baker’s Square restaurant in San Diego back in 1992. I guess he didn’t need a bodyguard. My girlfriend at the time asked me what the “D.B.” in his name stood for.

… just as they do not have the legal right to be in the same space as you.

So it’s almost sounding as though bodyguards have no special privileges; that they simply rely on (generally) not doing any real damage to the random people they push around and neither the “victims” nor the courts really caring enough to follow through and make a big deal of it. Kind of the grown-up version of kids shoving each other on the playground; 99.9 percent of the time it’s so minor nobody cares. OK.

Most of those assulted simply won’t press charges. The cops aren’t going to get involved unless someone files a report. The photographers don’t want to get a reputation of being someone who files a police report, unless it’s extreme. A bruise on the arm is much different from a broken leg. The former gets wrote off to “part of the job,” while the latter will result in a charge.

If a charge is filed, the celebrity probably just pays the guy off to drop the charges.

Neither the celebrity nor the photographer can afford to be seen in bad press and niether wants to make a big deal out of it unless the harm is grave, like cripling someone for life.

As private citizens, they really don’t have much by way of special privileges. It may make it easier to get a carry permit in some locales, but a private citizen is a private citizen.

But isn’t a cop moonlighting as a security guard just a private person at the time?