Xiaojie Li Cleared of Trespassing Charge in Nashua Apple Store Taser Arrest Incident

By David Li, translated by Shuzhi Zhang, bostonese.com

On Dec. 11, 2012, Xiaojie Li of Newton, Mass. was arrested by policemen with the help of Taser when she tried to purchase iPhone in the Apple store at Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, NH. Five months later, Ms. Li appeared in the circuit court of Nashua, facing trespassing and resisting arrest charges in the afternoon of May 10. The judge heard the testimonies from various witnesses and interrogation of witnesses by the attorneys of both sides. At end of the half-day trial, the judge dismissed the trespassing charge and upheld the resisting arrest charge, but declined to issue any penalty against Ms. Li. The record of resisting arrest will be removed if Ms. Li commits no new violation in the next three years, according to the ruling.
Ms. Li shows marks on he wrists from the arrest at Apple Store in Nashua, NH.

I was in the courtroom and heard the testimonies by the witnesses. A few salesperson and managers of the Apple store testified that Ms. Li did purchase iPhone on Nov. 23 and Dec. 8. A manager testified that she suspected Ms. Li was recording in the store, and told Ms. Li not to visit the store again. The manager did not give any written notice. The manager thought that Ms. Li was not listing to her oral warning when she saw her waiting in line in front of the store three days later. The manager did not know that Ms. Li has ordered the iPhone online and wanted to pick up the products on that day.

The manager recalled that Ms. Li kept asking “why” and wouldn’t leave the store so she had to call the police. Defense attorney David Ruoff argued that all witnesses testified so far could recall that Ms. Li only spoke very simple English words, and Ms. Li would have chosen another store to pick up the iPhone in her online order if she knew she was not allowed to be back to the Apple store. It’s not a surprise that the charge of trespassing was turned down by the judge as defense was able to successfully argue that Ms. Li didn’t understood that she was not allowed to visit that Apple store on Dec. 11, 2012.

Several witnesses of the Taser arrest testified for the prosecution. One of the witnesses, a Caucasian woman, showed up in the police station by herself the day after the arrest, and filled out a statement for the police, saying that there were no overuse of force during the arrest. Defense attorney presented a video recording on DVD of the scene. After the policeman confirmed the video was real, the judge also watched the video. Three witnesses from Lincoln Park Baptist church in Newton, Mass. were prepared to be witness for the defense on Ms. Li’s poor English language skills. However, they were not called to testify by the judge.

Ms. Li told me after the trial that she was going to purchase several iPhones for her relatives in China. The Apple Store salesperson told her that she can only get two iPhones. She mentioned she saw some people purchasing dozens of the iPhone and back of the store, and feeling dissatisfied. The manager tried to tell her the reason; yet she failed to understand. Ms. Li, who immigrated to Boston over three years ago said that she rarely left her home in Newton, Mass. except going to the church in the first two years.

“I carried a lot of cash that day, and would like to purchase some name brand products for my sister in China. I though the men (policemen) were the security guard from the Apple Store. I was so afraid that they would take my case away. The policeman is the law enforcer. In China, the policeman has to present their arrest warrant before the arrest. I really know too little about this country.” Ms. Li’s uncle Mr. Chiang was in the courtroom, and expressed his opinion of the verdict. “Xiaojie shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place as the trespassing charge didn’t hold. The resisting arrest charge should have also been dropped,” said Mr. Chiang.

Ms. Li said she really appreciated the assistance and help from many warm-hearted people during the past five months, especially to Dr. Xu of Tufts Medical Center, who provided psychological therapy for her severe anxiety and depression symptoms after the Taser arrest. When asked if she thought of suing the police for potential overuse of force during the arrest and the Apple store, Ms. Li said her friends advised her to do so, but she had not considered that so far.