Citizen’s arrest is dumb.

”You are not sworn to endanger your life to apprehend a dangerous criminal, nor you are paid to do it.”
Jim Cirillo


I am quoting myself from the discussion in the comments section.

Legal use of Deadly Force for self-defense is a last option action, it means other ways have been exhausted or are not available. Even though there is the possibility of legal issues down the road, the other options are either ICU or a slab in the morgue
Citizens Arrest is optional. If you act, you are liable to whatever happens if the arrest goes sideways. If you don’t act, the possibility of you getting in trouble goes almost to zilch.

Why borrow trouble?

Because arrests never go sideways, right?

 

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By Miguel.GFZ

Semi-retired like Vito Corleone before the heart attack. Consiglieri to J.Kb and AWA. I lived in a Gun Control Paradise: It sucked and got people killed. I do believe that Freedom scares the political elites.

38 thoughts on “And I am going to say this once (again)(And updated, Video added)”
  1. Whether or not it’s dumb depends on your faith in, and the effectiveness of, law enforcement, and the view one takes of the role of the police.

    There was a time in American history where everyone had a responsibility for the law, including enforcement. The only difference between a lawman and a “civilian” was that one was paid and one was not. Hence the posse’s made up of temporarily “deputized” citizens. It was not possible to wait for law enforcement when the nearest marshall or sheriff was a three day ride away, or worse, a circuit rider that might only drop by once every few weeks.

    Today, we view police as a special armiger class. “Civilians” are supposed to be passive and not uphold the law, and only police have the “right” to protect their property or lives. If a “civilian” is under threat, the “civilian’s” role is to choose to be the victim, because only the police can take aggresive protective actions. But it wasn’t always that way — we did not have such distinct social classes of people who have the right to use force and those who do not.

    Unfortunately, this view of the citizen’s duty to choose to be a victim only works when there is reasonable belief that the police *will* act to protect in a fair and effective way. Instead of having the problem of distance as in the past, the problem today is that the police simply do not fulfill that role. They don’t have the means or ability, or they are told to stand down by their superiors, or worse, are actively evil themselves.

    The recent interview of Kyle Rittenhouse with Tucker Carleson is a case in point. When asked about the threats on Rittenhouse’s life, the interaction went:

    Tucker: “Are you confident that the government will protect you from these threats?”

    Rittenhouse: “I hope so, but we all know how the FBI works.”

    And we all do know how the FBI works today.

    It is simply not reasonable to assert that citizens should choose victimhood in order to rely on protection and service from police that will not be provided.

    1. There is an unfortunate romanticism with the posse. I have been involved in a reasearch and can tell you that in the balance, posses have had a very negative history. A lot of them ended up just as lynching mobs.

      But we are talking about Citizen’s Arrest, not anything deputized and which in this day and age brings you more troubles than anything else. Short of a Forcible Felony, you do not need the possible legal crap storm you may face if things go sideways, so just scare the bastard away, call the cops and file a report.

      1. The idea that “civilians” had a role in protecting their own lives and property is not just a 19th century one. I can remember as a kid in the 1960s living in rural Oklahoma. The nearest town to our ranch was 15 miles away and had 100 people. Calling for the local sheriff meant an hour to three hours wait on a good day, often more.

        We had a problem with, of all things, tree rustlers. Early settlers in the area planted walnut and pecan trees. By the time I was in high school, all the kids in the area made spending money shaking trees and selling nuts. However, the price of walnut and pecan lumber skyrocketed and people used to sneak onto the land, cut down the trees, and steal the lumber — often causing damage to fences, livestock, and machinery in their wake.

        The bottom line was that the local sheriff, as sympathetic as he was, could do little. The only thing we could do was post our own guards, which on occasion resulted in rounds fired to scare people off.

        The posse reference was as an example of the way that the role of citizen and police was more fluid than today, not as the only example of citizens taking an active role in their own protection.

        It’s not surprising that if one does not like the idea of citizens taking responsibility for their own protection, that one would not like how posses worked. It’s sort of definitional that people who take that respsonsibility are “taking the law into their own hands.”

        However, your distaste for citizens taking that responsibility doesn’t address the main problem. What is your solution for the situation where the police are not available, incompetent, or evil. Is it the duty of the citizen simply to suffer and die?

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        1. “It’s not surprising that if one does not like the idea of citizens taking responsibility for their own protection, that one would not like how posses worked. It’s sort of definitional that people who take that respsonsibility are “taking the law into their own hands.”

          I do not like posses so therefore I must be anti Self Defense? It’s a bold strategy, Colton. Alas it may not pay off.

          1. No, my objection was that you focused on the issue of posses and ignored the point of my comment.

            Once again:

            What is your solution for the situation where the police are not available, incompetent, or evil. Is it the duty of the citizen simply to suffer and die?

            1. “What is your solution for the situation where the police are not available,”

              Oh gee! I guess I have never been in that situation like right after hurricanes went over South Florida, we were in a state of Emergency, no power, and the cops nowhere to be seen. (/sarascm off>)
              Did our neighborhood get visited by individuals with expectations of free pickings? Yes. Did we arrest them? No. Did they leave on their own accord (and an accelerated pace) after realizing it might have been unhealthy to remain in the area? Hell yeah.
              What the fuck would we have done with them if we had arrested them? Wait till days or weeks for the very busy police to show up? Keep them tied and throw them in a shed? Oh shit, we have now to feed them, give them water and post a guard to make sure they don’t end up hurting themselves because now I am responsible for their well-being or I am morally, legally and financially liable.

              Or you can do what many posses did back in the day which was once they captured the “person of interest” he was hung alive from the nearest tree and used for target practice.

              Once again, Citizens Arrest is a dumb shit to do. If the situation rises to Forcible Felony and they need shooting is one thing. If not, scare them the hell away from your area and go about your business.

              1. So, your position is that it’s OK to kill someone who is stealing but not to detain them for when the police do show up? Frankly, that sounds a little odd to me, but OK.

                The argument against citizen arrest fails on two fronts. The first is the idea that only police are capable of doing it. Of course that’s not true. Oddly, people don’t take the position, for instance, that Target or Walmart should shoot shoplifters instead of detaining them.

                1. “Oddly, people don’t take the position, for instance, that Target or Walmart should shoot shoplifters instead of detaining them.”

                  Oddly, that is my position in a nut shell, you catch a thief, it’s open season for all interested bystanders. Mine hit the ground first, but your’s was taller.

                  1. In the biz, we call that “murder.” You’d better hope that if you’re ever involved in a shooting, no matter how justified, the prosecutor never sees that posting.

    2. People love to write about how in the old days, everyday citizens took responsibility for their own safety, and it’s mostly bullshit. The posses, as you mentioned, were deputized (i.e., made peace officers), for the duration of whatever task they were needed for, and that was it. And that was in a time when life, and the law, was much simpler than it is today. (Plus, the posse thing probably happened a lot more in Hollywood than in real life.) And arresting someone is much more complicated in real life than it is on TV. (As it should be. Taking away someone’s freedom is serious business.) Would the average citizen, making a “citizen’s arrest,” know whether his “arrestee” was “in custody” enough to require the “arresting” citizen to read him his Miranda rights? Would the “arresting” citizen be justified and indemnified if he searched his “arrestee’s” pockets (as opposed to frisking him for weapons), or transported him to a police station in his own auto? Would he be protected if he got into an auto accident and his “arrestee” was injured or killed?
      Everyone’s the hero of his own movie, and only sees the happy ending. Kyle Rittenhouse undoubtedly thought he was just going to stand around and take in the sights, maybe treat a few boo-boos and put out a few trash-can fires. He never dreamed he’d end up running for his life from three violent felons, and charged with life-sentence crimes for defending himself from them.
      Jim Cirillo is right. (If you don’t know who he is, look him up.) You’re not the police. You wouldn’t operate on your own appendix, and contrary to a lot of people’s belief, you can’t really learn about being the police by watching TV.

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      1. You really should do some actual research before posting BS. Check into the Younger gang decimation in Minnesota, as a start.

        1. The law in 1876 was a little different than it is in 2021. You may have noticed. If you haven’t, I have. You can proceed at your own risk.

      2. Miranda rights only matter if they’re going to trial, or if those making the arrest can be called to testify.

        1. Not exactly, but close (sorta). My point was, there is a lot more to making a lawful arrest than what Hollywood tells you. And the purpose of making an arrest is to get someone into court. If they’re not going to trial, what is your ultimate plan for them? Slavery? Fertilizer?
          I don’t know what your job is, but I bet I can’t do it. Not because I’m not smart enough, but because every job, from ditch digger to heart transplanter, has its ins and outs and technicalities that you have to be trained on. But oddly enough, everyone who has ever turned on a TV knows everything about how to be the police.

          1. Actually, I was being too conciliatory; your statement about Miranda rights is totally wrong. Miranda rights apply to custodial interrogation. If you ask him any questions that might incriminate him (not questions like “What’s your name?” or “Where do you live?”, you have to advise him of his rights, In fact, Miranda rights have nothing to do with “going to trial” or “being called to testify.” I once sent a guy to prison for five years without reading him his Miranda rights,,because I never asked him a single question. His fingerprints made the case for me; all I had to do was arrest him and bring him to court. (There’s that “going to trial” thing again. It’s really hard to get around it.)

    3. My original reply seems to have been impounded, apparently because I used a colloquial expression for “nonsense” that I’ve used here before. So I’ll try it again.
      A lot of people like to claim that in the old days, people took responsibility for their own safety, and it’s mainly BS. The posses were deputized (i.e., made peace officers) for the duration of the task at hand, and that was it. And that was in a time when life, and the law, were much simpler than they are today. (Plus, the posse thing probably happened a lot more in Hollywood than in real life.)
      Making a lawful arrest is a lot more complicated in real life than it is on TV. (And it should be. Taking someone’s freedom away is a serious business.)
      Will the average citizen making a “citizen’s arrest” know if his “arrestee” is “in custody” enough to require the “arresting” citizen to read him his Miranda rights? Is the “arresting” citizen justified (and indemnified) if he searches the “arrestee’s” pockets (as opposed to frisking him for weapons)? Can the “arresting” citizen transport his “arrestee” to the nearest police station in his own auto? What should he do with the “arrestee’s” auto, and any other property he takes from him? If there’s a crime scene, how will the “arresting” citizen protect it? Will the “arresting” citizen” be covered if he gets into an auto accident transporting his “arrestee” and the “arrestee” is injured or killed?
      Everyone is the hero of his own movie, and only sees the happy ending. Kyle Rittenhouse undoubtedly thought he would be standing around taking in the sights, and he’d maybe treat a few boo-boos and put out a few trash-can fires. He never dreamed he’d ended up running for his life from three violent felons, then charged with life-sentence crimes for defending himself from them.
      Jim Cirillo is right. (If you don’t know who he is, look him up.) You’re not the police. And watching TV doesn’t teach you how to be the police.

  2. I personally can’t imagine a situation in which I would attempt said arrest. I have trouble imagining a situation where I would use deadly force to protect strangers. Maybe someone who was shooting children or something (like if I was doing school vaccinations and there was an armed assailant/“school shooter”.

    Amusingly, I was at a school clinic during an ALICE drill with the intruder walking the hallways while everyone hid (sigh). I actually surveyed the room that we were in and tried to figure out cover and such. Good practice anyway.

  3. This is a very interesting question. Are we talking about a place that still has law enforcement that is encouraged to do the job they were sworn to do and are backed by the citizens or the law enforcement that was told to stand down? A different question, how can an individual know which situation they may be in from minute to minute in the environment today where the media can’t be trusted to report the news? I really don’t know the answers and I wonder if any of us do.

  4. And, of course, what if your “citizen’s arrest” doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, and you get injured, crippled for life, or killed? Will your family say, “Oh well, he tried.”? Will your insurance company refuse to pay your thousands of dollars in medical bills, or lifelong care, because you injected yourself into a dangerous situation you had no business sticking your nose into, and could have easily avoided? I haven’t noticed that insurance companies are very eager to give their money away if there’s any way they can avoid it.
    I was injured several times making arrests, and all my medical bills were paid by an (un)grateful nation. I was sued for making a lawful arrest, and my lawyer was provided by an (un)grateful nation. You won’t have those luxuries. And even though my medical and legal needs were covered financially, I’ve still been in pain for every second of the last 40+ years, and I’ll be in pain every second till I die, from an arrest that didn’t go so well. But at least I was getting paid for it.

    1. Sure, there’s a risk in taking action. Perhaps you have also noticed that there’s a risk in choosing to be a victim, as well. One might thiink from reading your response that people who don’t take an active role in their own protection do not get “injured, crippled for life, or killed.” In fact they do.

      My point remains:

      What is your solution for the situation where the police are not available, incompetent, or evil. Is it the duty of the citizen simply to suffer and die?

      1. Not making a “citizen’s arrest” and “choosing to be a victim” are not the same thing. “Not choosing to be a victim” involves self-defense and is reactive; making a “citizen’s arrest” involves injecting yourself into a dangerous situation, both physically and legally, that you don’t have to, and is proactive. Having been in physically and legally dangerous situations, my choice as a retiree is to stay out of them and let the pros handle them. If they come to me, I’ll defend myself against them, but I won’t go looking for them.
        Let’s say your doomsday scenario has come about and the police are, in fact, “not available, incompetent, or evil.” After you’ve made your “citizen’s arrest,” what do you do with him? Do you turn him over to the “[un]available, incompetent, or evil” police? Do you hold onto him till the police become available, competent, or benevolent? Do you give him a stern lecture? Do you execute him on the spot?
        “Citizen’s arrest” opens up a giant can of worms that neither you nor I have all the answers to. But one of us has made arrests, knows the difference between self-defense (which is reactive) and making arrests (which is proactive), and knows the right questions to ask.

        1. “Not making a “citizen’s arrest” and “choosing to be a victim” are not the same thing. “Not choosing to be a victim” involves self-defense and is reactive; making a “citizen’s arrest” involves injecting yourself into a dangerous situation, both physically and legally, that you don’t have to, and is proactive.”

          And that’s all folks

          1. Nope. In a lot of scenarios that’s not the issue at all. The issue is really one of property versus immediate personal threat. Your argument boils down to “you can protect yourself if someone is hitting you on the head with a skateboard, but not if they are burning down your home” because you can walk away from the fire. I think people should be able to protect their property as well as their lives.

            1. “because you can walk away from the fire. I think people should be able to protect their property as well as their lives.”

              And here is where you confirm you do not what you are talking about and arguing for trolling’s sake.
              Remember when I mentioned Forcible Felony? Guess what arson is…yup, a forcible felony. Allow me to quote myself:

              ” If the situation rises to Forcible Felony and they need shooting is one thing. If not, scare them the hell away from your area and go about your business.”

              My very serious recommendation is that you hit the appropriate books and seek GOOD legal advice before you end up as somebody’s bitch in prison. You have an inordinate amount of misinformation and I doubt you have enough money saved to pay for the legal expensed that you may incur if your fantasies have to meet reality.

              PS: These posting here are not gonna help your case either.

              1. I stand corrected. You believe that it’s better to kill someone than to detain them, even when it involves only property damage.

                You seem to be of the misapprehension that citizen’s arrests only involve misdemeanors. It doesn’t.

                And, no, I’m not going to be “somebody’s bitch” because of this. It turns out that people can learn about what is and is not allowed in terms of citizen’s arrest, just like they can learn about what is and is not allowed in terms of deadly force and concealed carry.

                Is it an obligation of someone who decides to do this to be informed? Certainly. Just like with concealed carry. Saying that people should become informed before doing something that involves liability or danger is different than saying that it is *always* the wrong choice.

                Or do you also oppose concealed carry by “civilians” on the grounds that people are incompetent to learn to do it in a responsible manner?

                1. “I stand corrected. You believe that it’s better to kill someone than to detain them, even when it involves only property damage.”
                  Now now, only a cheap troll will go so low as attribute never spoken words to an adversary. That is beneath you, or maybe it is not.

                  So, for our general fund of knowledge, please describe to us how would you go about effecting a Citizen’s Arrest. What kinds of crimes would require your personal intervention on detaining a suspect and how would you do it. Especially when they refuse to be arrested by a non-cop.

                  1. Here are some resources for the State of Tennessee. I am sure that you could look them up for other states as well.

                    https://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-40/chapter-7/part-1/40-7-109/

                    https://legalbeagle.com/12339847-make-citizens-arrest-tennessee.html

                    http://harrislawoffice.com/content/areas_of_practice/tennessee_firearms/agopinions/op2003-018.pdf

                    In addition, new laws are proposed that will strengthen citizen’s arrest in Tennessee, though the most recent one didn’t make it out of committee. It will likely be raised again:

                    https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=HB0011&GA=112

                    What’s odd is that you seem to think that liability issues are overwhelming for citizen arrest, but are not a problem for lethal force. That’s not the case. There are significant liability issues for killing someone also. Yet, oddly, for the most part people are capable of learning them and acting in an intelligent manner.

                    In the Arbery case, a number of mistakes were made. The primary one, however, was not that the man was illegally detained. The problem was illegal use of deadly force. Interestingly, even police cannot use deadly force in this situation (TN v Garner,471 U.S. 1 (1985) ). And, often, police make the mistake of doing so — and qualified immunity is not a perfect cover for it. There are a number of folk who make a pretty good living in that kind of litigation of police departments.

                    Nobody I know argues that people should perform citizen’s arrests without looking at the law, any more than they should carry concealed without looking at it. What’s odd is that you seem to think that the average citizen is competent to learn this regarding ccw, but not competent to do it regarding citizen arrest.

                    1. “What’s odd is that you seem to think that liability issues are overwhelming for citizen arrest, but are not a problem for lethal force.”
                      And there you go again assigning me word and thoughts I never expressed, that would be your second strike.

                      “In the Arbery case, a number of mistakes were made. The primary one, however, was not that the man was illegally detained. The problem was illegal use of deadly force.”

                      No shit, but that is not going to happen to you, right? You are incapable of making a mistake thus you feel is a more viable option than just sending the crook away by scaring him.

                      “What’s odd is that you seem to think that the average citizen is competent to learn this regarding ccw, but not competent to do it regarding citizen arrest.”
                      Because it is indeed much “simpler”. You will not use deadly force unless you are in the presence of a Forcible Felony and a reasonable fear of death or grave bodily harm is present. (Ability, Opportunity and Jeopardy plus Innocence) Which is why I asked you and you seem reluctant to answer: What kinds of crimes would require your personal intervention on detaining a suspect and how would you do it. Especially when they refuse to be arrested by a non-cop.

                    2. And one more obvious thing: Legal use of Deadly Force for self-defense is a last option action, it means other ways have been exhausted or are not available. Even though there is the possibility of legal issues down the road, the other options are either ICU or a slab in the morgue
                      Citizens Arrest is optional. If you act, you are liable to whatever happens if the arrest goes sideways. If you don’t act, the possibility of you getting in trouble goes almost to zilch.

                      Why borrow trouble?

                    3. For some reason I cannot reply to your question below — there’s no “reply” icon. I assume it’s because of the depth of the replies at this point.

                      You ask for examples.

                      OK, here’s an example of citizen’s arrest:

                      https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/crime/bank-customers-capture-ashland-robber-hold-him-until-police-arrive/484190182

                      and another:

                      https://www.fox5atlanta.com/news/person-hold-teen-accused-of-breaking-into-cars-at-gunpoint-until-police-arrive

                      and another:

                      https://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/vietnam-vet-holds-home-invasion-suspect-at-gun-point-until-police-arrive/

                      and another:

                      https://www.5newsonline.com/article/news/local/outreach/back-to-school/scrap-metal-theft-suspect-tackled-held-until-police-arrived/527-e520200e-e060-4547-afd6-0debca30ecbe

                      and another:
                      https://patch.com/north-carolina/myerspark-southend-dilworth/store-workers-held-robbery-suspect-ground-until-police

                      and on and on.

                      The proposed law was submitted to decrease liability in cases similar to the Arbery case.

                      And, finally, yes, I can make a mistake. Just like I could make a mistake using deadly force. What’s amazing to me is that you seem to think that it’s impossible to make a mistake using deadly force, but inevitable that I would make a mistake detaining someone.

            2. Your example is fallacious. Arson of a residence is a violent life-threatening crime, and again, you’re conflating self-defense (reactive) with an arrest (proactive). And, as Miguel stated above, making a citizen’s arrest gives you a lot of practical problems that you don’t need. Whether you’re holding someone “under arrest” for ten minutes or ten days, you are legally responsible for his well-being. If he hurts himself or someone else while he’s “under arrest,” you’re on the hook for it. (Remember the Baltimore Six?) And you’re setting up a false dichotomy; the choice is not between killing someone in lawful self-defense (again, reactive) and making a maybe-lawful-but-maybe-not “arrest” (again, proactive). The smart choice, if you’re not in imminent danger, is to be a good witness. You probably have a videocam in your pocket right now. Use it.
              I’m done here. Do what you want. Don’t come crying to me for bail money or legal fees.

        2. It’s not a doomsday scenario. It’s a fair number of blue cities and states today, where the police are either understaffed or told to stand down, or in rural areas where they just aren’t around. In Chicago, for instance, the pols actively work *with* gangs, albeit sub rosa — to the point of making them partners in the political process and protecting them from litigation — and have ceded local security to them in some neighborhoods. In Cicero, IL, it was the Latin Kings that protected businesses against looters until the police got their act together — to the degree the police did get it together. In Los Angeles, cop “gangs” have been a problem for years, with issues of widespread corruption and violence perpetrated *by the police.* In the rural area I grew up in, the police were simply too far away to react to anything in a timely manner.

          So, what do you do with the person you have detained? Yes, you detain them until such time that someone *does* show up.

          But I get it. The consensus here seems to be that it’s fine to kill someone, but bad to detain them. It’s an odd position, but one I’ve seen before. I remember working on deaths that purportedly involved TASER deployment way back when TASERs were first being used. While the data clearly showed that the use of conducted energy weapons saved lives and decreased injury, both cops and community organizations were scared of them because of the liability issues you mention. It got to the point that one police Chief reversed his decision to have his officers use TASERS and instead wanted them to use firearms. He said that he knew that more people would get killed, but the law involving use of force was clear, while the liability associated with TASER deployment seemed much more scary. It made more sense to him to kill a subject rather than disable him because the liability issues were more clear.

          That seems to be the argument here. I understand it, but as with TASERs, it may be that the solution, then, would be to make knowledge about the liability and issues involved with citizen arrest more widely understood than to say that it’s incomprehensible and thus nobody should do it.

          That’s what people have done with concealed carry. When widespread ccw started becoming a “thing,” I remember the gun control folk claiming there would be firefights all over the streets because everybody would think that they could just pull their gun and shoot each other. Of course that was nonsense. People got informed, and are generally very responsible — with inevitable exceptions. Even with so-called “Constitutional carry” that does not require specific training, it’s not the problem that the “citizens are incompetent boobs” school of thought said it would be.

          I believe the same thing is true here. Citizen arrest is odd because it has become so rare. But it doesn’t need to be. And, just as people are generally capable of carrying a concealed weapon responsibly, so are theycapable of detaining people responsibly.

          I don’t think it’s inherently better to kill a person than to detain him.

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