By RYAN PFEIL
Medford police arrested twin brothers who work as security guards on several charges — including assault, harassment and impersonating a police officer — after investigators say the men overstepped their bounds in two separate incidents during January.
The first incident involved 29-year-old Jason Lee Libby, who allegedly assaulted a man and woman during an arrest attempt in front of Weldon’s Cleaners Jan. 7.
The second incident involved Libby’s twin, Donald, who allegedly tried to administer a test to determine whether two teenagers were driving under the influence of intoxicants the following night.
Jason and Donald are the chief financial officer and chief operations officer, respectively, for Jackson County Security, according to the company’s website.
“We have a good working relationship with security, but we felt these incidents were outside what they should be able to lawfully do,” Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said.
The first incident occurred at 11:39 p.m. Jan. 7. Jason Libby allegedly tried to arrest a 40-year-old man as he came out of Weldon’s Cleaners, 644 Crater Lake Ave. Jackson County Security is contracted to patrol the business, police said.
Libby, dressed in a uniform with a badge, gun and baton, handcuffed the man for trespassing because he had used the business’ restroom but wasn’t a customer. Surveillance video appears to show Libby push the handcuffed man, who hadn’t posed any previous problems at the laundry, police said.
A 54-year-old woman then told the handcuffed man that Libby was not a police officer, as she’d had a previous run-in with Libby. Libby allegedly threatened to arrest the woman for trespassing, too. Police said he pushed her up against his vehicle and used a wrist lock to detain her. The man tried to leave the scene in handcuffs, and Libby chased him down to bring him back to the scene. Police arrived on scene soon after to sort out the incident and no trespassing charges were filed, Budreau said.
“Before you can arrest somebody for trespass, you’ve got to allow them the opportunity to leave,” Budreau said. “They have to know they’re trespassing.”
Budreau added private security personnel can detain suspects, just as anyone who witnesses a crime can.
“They have the same rights that any citizen would have when it comes to power of arrest,” Budreau said.
Oregon law says, “A private person may arrest another person for any crime committed in the presence of the private person if the private person has probable cause to believe the arrested person committed the crime. A private person making such an arrest shall, without unnecessary delay, take the arrested person before a magistrate or deliver the arrested person to a peace officer.”
Jason Libby was charged with assault and harassment
The second incident occurred at 11:13 p.m. Jan. 8. Police said an officer was on patrol near Camina Drive and Veneto Circle when he spotted Donald Libby with an unmarked black Ford Crown Victoria. Budreau said Donald Libby stood in front of another vehicle, shining a flashlight at the 18-year-old male driver and demanding he stop.
“It should be noted that Jackson County Security was currently not under contract to patrol this area. Furthermore, the stop was on a public roadway,” police said in a news release.
Donald Libby allegedly ordered the driver and another 18-year-old man in the car to get out while he quizzed them about intoxicants. Because Libby’s uniform looked like a police uniform, the teens complied with limited field sobriety tests, but Libby told the driver he could be arrested for DUII and trespassing.
“The whole time the person being tested thought he (Libby) was a police officer,” Budreau said, adding private citizens cannot administer DUII tests but can detain someone for being under the influence before turning him over to police.
Medford police said no charges were filed against the driver.
Jackson County Security declined comment on the incidents Monday.
Court records show Jason Libby has been indicted on fourth-degree assault and harassment charges stemming from the incident at Weldon’s Cleaners.
Jeremy Markiewicz of the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office said a grand jury will receive the facts of the case against Donald Libby sometime this week. Donald Libby was arrested on two counts of criminal impersonation of a police officer.
Donald Libby referred questions to his attorney Monday, but said to “remember there are always two sides to the story. Don’t hammer us like everybody else has been doing.”
The attorney, Nathan Wente, said he could not comment because he has only been provided with limited information.
“I don’t know what evidence, if any, the state has,” he said.
This is not the first time Medford authorities have accused the brothers of leading people to believe they were police.
In 2010, the brothers were cited for harassment after tackling a suspect at a lot they were contracted to watch. The case was dismissed because the witnesses could not be found. The following year, the brothers were accused of pulling a baton and pointing a Taser stun gun at patrons involved in a disturbance at a restaurant, Budreau said. Nothing became of that case, either.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen Dubois Associated Press contributed to this story.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.