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(9 posts)

Do you know anyone who has made a citizen’s arrest?

  1. skeeter
    Member Profile

    If I witness what I believe to be a crime and I feel confident I could physically restrain the individual until police arrive, can I make a “citizen’s arrest?”
    Does anyone know a person who has done this? What was the outcome?
    On, say, an airplane, it seems completely acceptable to physically restrain someone who is a perceived danger. But a public park or a shopping mall seems a little less clear.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  2. skeeter
    Member Profile

    Oh yeah, I already looked it up on Wikipedia. I'm looking for real-world stories - either your own or a friend/co-worker/whatever.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  3. Yes, it is lawful to detain a person(s) you've witnessed committing a crime. A few points to consider. The crime has to be a misdemeanor or greater. Are you a lawyer?

    Just because you believe its a crime is not necessarily fact. A police Officer can detain on the "suspicion" of a crime. A citizen can only detain based on crimes they have "witnessed". If it is later proven that no actual crime occurred you could be liable for both criminal and civil penalties.

    One other thing to consider. It is never lawful for a citizen to use lethal force on a fleeing suspect. Unless its a major offense (assault/DV), I would let the individual go. The best thing to do is memorize the perps features (anything that is distinguishing). Lock that into your mind and grab a pic if possible.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  4. skeeter
    Member Profile

    Thanks EdSane. I am not a lawyer. And I have no experience with criminal matters at all.

    I recently witnessed a crime in my neighborhood. It would not have been safe for me to take any action other than notifying the police, which I did. But it got me thinking about other situations that might arise.

    But agreed - often discretion is the better part of valor.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  5. if you have a smart phone with a camera and are pretty sure you won't make yourself a target by doing so.. take a picture...

    Posted 2 years ago #         

    "Robbery suspect is tackled by brave bystanders in Seattle"

    Blind woman attacked on Seattle bus, attacker is then taken down by bus passengers

    And then there's "Let's roll" from United 93 . . . as shown in this recreation based on bits of info investigators were able to piece together after the fact:


    The moral: Group citizens' arrests are safer (and probably funner) than individual ones. Personally, I wouldn't risk my life to protect property – especially someone else's – but if I saw an assault underway, I hope that I would try to intervene somehow.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  7. You need look no further than WSB and burglar bustin's dad's story. He tracked down and apprehended a robber who broke into his home and stole his coin jar.

    Posted 2 years ago #         
  8. acemotel
    Member Profile


    and then there's this:

    Posted 2 years ago #         

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