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  • Resistance to unlawful arrest

    This is mostly for non-cop posters. I'm curious how many of you think citizens should have a right to resist unlawful arrests by police? If yes then what level can they resist? Enough to overcome resistance? Enough to get away? No limits?

    I think allowing folks to resist some arrests is a slippery slope. Provided government and the courts are working, ie were not in Anarchy, then resisting what you believe is an unlawful arrest is a bad idea. We have a court system that can compensate victimes of false arrests and punish officials for purposefully violating the law.

    What do you think?
    If you see me running try to keep up!

  • #2
    Only if you believe that you are in serious danger. 1: Because it's dangerous to resist. 2: Because you should do what you're told. If someone in authority is wrongly telling you to do something, you still do it, unless you are being told to do something that is wrong. 3: Because it will be easier to make your case later if you haven't behaved badly.
    Last edited by pvtbuddie; 05-01-2006, 04:35 AM.
    .
    .
    lib'-er-ty: the freedom given to you to make the wrong decision, based on the reasoned belief that you will normally make the right one.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by LeeRoy
      This is mostly for non-cop posters. I'm curious how many of you think citizens should have a right to resist unlawful arrests by police? If yes then what level can they resist? Enough to overcome resistance? Enough to get away? No limits?

      I think allowing folks to resist some arrests is a slippery slope. Provided government and the courts are working, ie were not in Anarchy, then resisting what you believe is an unlawful arrest is a bad idea. We have a court system that can compensate victimes of false arrests and punish officials for purposefully violating the law.

      What do you think?
      I agree with the law enforcement community in a practical sense. Resisting arrest, even illegal arrest, may not be in the best interests of the individual. However, having laws that say a citizen MUST not resist an illegal arrest in ALL cases, is not in the best interests of the general welfare.

      I think we have to get a sense of what exactly an illegal arrest actually is. While I don't know what each and every state would consider an illegal arrest, I would generally consider an illegal arrest as big mess up on the part of LE. For example, they conduct a high risk warrant arrest with SWAT on the wrong address. That homeowner should not be punished because he had a legitimate reason for self-defense and he had no reason to expect the government to deprive him of his rights.

      Comment


      • #4
        How many people who are not LEO's know all of the laws? When you are being arrested, your recourse is in the courts, not on the street. If the officer was wrong, you will be able to play the lawsuit lottery. If he is right, you will be slapped with a resisting arrest charge on top of the other charges, and possible get injured in the prrocess.
        Jerry
        "If all else fails, stop using all else!"

        Comment


        • #5
          As I'm a poster who isn't in law enforcement, I'll answer this one, if it was intended for me.

          When you say "unlawful arrest", what are you saying? This is a big can of worms with a side helping of pig intestine.

          Is this "unlawful arrest" a police officer who may have violated the 4th ammendment's search and seizure restrictions by acting on what he thougth is PC (but later it is determined it was only RS) and taking someone into custody unlawfuly?

          Is "unlawful arrest" a field detention that lasts too long to be reasonable, and has crossed the line into arrest?

          Is "unlawful arrest" a cop who sees a woman and decides he is going to use his badge to get her alone and assault her?

          Unlawful arrest covers too broad a reach to answer comfortably at this juncture.


          This breaks down into 2 things:

          1 - Good faith actions
          or
          2 - Everything else

          Generaly speaking, from a legal point of view without knowing the facts of the situation referenced above, if you know or have reason to believe that the officer is acting in GOOD FAITH, although wrongly, as in you match the description of someone wanted, and you, the arrestee, aren't involved in any hinky **** which would make someone in uniform want to kill you due to his 'off the books, overtime job' (imply what you will), the officer isn't trying to detain you indefinately for some reason...

          Go with him, demand your attorney, then close mouth, and sort it out in the court system.

          If, for some reason, the cop is not acting in good faith for some reason, you are up s-it's creek without a paddle.

          How much force can you use?

          Legal answer...it depends. Is the situation "resisting arrest" or "Self defense"

          You don't answer a question until you define the question.

          I'm not trying to get the "what does is mean..." hair splitting on you, but unlawful arrest is a broad topic with too much depth and meaning to discuss without narrowly defining it.

          Take another example, the police want to do a 2 AM raid on a house and they raid 123 Carlton ave, instead of 123 Clinton ave because of a typo or some sort of fu-kup.

          Its a no, knock warant, and oops...the house is occupied by Ralph.

          Ralph is a former USMC Force Recon guy who recently retired on a hardship discharge because his mother is ill and needed to be home with mom.

          Oh, did I forget to mention...1st thing he did after coming back from Afganistan was to get a Bushmaster M-4 clone and a Wilson 1911. (Retired or not, he is a Marine - HO YA!!)

          For this example, stipulate that Ralph is NOT involved in criminal activity.

          The door gets kicked in, a flash bang goes off, cops are screaming POLICE...and the entry team goes in and instead of finding Reggie the Meth Monkey and his lab, they find Ralph, who is now unable to hear, confused, roused from a sound sleep thinking he is...who knows where, but the **** is hitting the fan and although deff and its smoky and dark...he was doing this **** for the past 15 years so he isn't out of the fight completely...and when the smoke clears, and he finaly is able to hear again, and figures out "HOLY FU-K IT WAS THE COPS!!!" and surrenders...2 officers are dead (don't bring pistol rated body armor to a fight with rifles) and 3 severely injured from gunshot wounds to the legs...

          Define Ralph's actions:
          Murder and attempted murder?
          Resisting arrest?
          Reasonable acts of self defense responding to (from his point of view) a completely surprise home invasion?
          Other?
          All?
          None?

          Did he resist arrest? Hell yes!
          Is he guilty of anything? Humm...

          Too much depth to this question to even attempt to answer without detailed facts and situations.

          Comment


          • #6
            Bottom line is 9 times out of 10 the person being arrested doesnt know if the cop has PC or not. So making the decisin to resist is a bad gamble.
            http://tgace.wordpress.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Good call. If I didn't do anything wrong, then I've got nothing to worry about. Are you sure you’re being arrested? Or are you being detained? I would make sure that I knew which one was happening before I ever thought about resisting. Which I would never do anyways.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jerrymaccauley
                How many people who are not LEO's know all of the laws?
                I think its more of an issue of knowing what questions to ask and where & how to look.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believe about a dozen states still allow you to reasonably resist unlawful arrest, but those statutes are absolutely no help to you if you're wrong about the circumstances, and unless you're an expert in the laws of your jurisdiction, it's not a good idea. Even if you are an expert in local laws on point, that's still not going to be much help to you if you wind up with two dislocated shoulders and a few broken ribs, or shot dead, even though you happened to be 100% "right" about the lawfulness of the arrest at the time.

                  Your safest and best bet is to just submit to the initial arrest, and maybe explain whatever circumstantial reason you think it's unlawful after you're secured (like "Officer, this isn't even apartment 2-D and my ID is right there on the table" etc.) but not say anything else at all about whatever you did or didn't do whether or not you've been read your rights, or to say anything at all besides "I'd like to talk to my lawyer" once they've been read to you. There might be some things you could say in your own defense before you're actually locked up about the circumstances without admitting anything that could be used against you, but unless you're formally trained in law, you shouldn't assume what things you could safely say without hurting your defense later. Keep your mouth shut and take it up in civil court afterwards.

                  If by "unlawful" you don't mean the circumstances or the crime for which you're being arrested but the authority or jurisdiction of the officer, you do have a legal right to resist, but you better be 100% right about that. Unless you have reasonable doubts about whether or not the arresting officer is actually a LEO in the first place, the disclocated shoulders/cracked ribs/shot dead analysis would probably still be your best bet, even if it's an off duty court or corrections officer way out of his geographic area of employment or jurisdiction or enforcement authority, expressing his road rage under illegal color of apparent authority, for example. If you end up dead, your "civil rights" still don't really help you much even if he eventually loses his job and gets sentenced for depriving you of them after your funeral.
                  Last edited by ProWriter; 05-01-2006, 12:22 PM.
                  No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LeeRoy
                    This is mostly for non-cop posters. I'm curious how many of you think citizens should have a right to resist unlawful arrests by police? If yes then what level can they resist? Enough to overcome resistance? Enough to get away? No limits?

                    Can I ask why you wanted to ask this question? Is this a measure of mindset or something of that nature?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am currently a civilian. I'd rather comply, and let it get sorted out, then fight and resist, and still get arrested, and then it gets sorted out.

                      In Canada, people DO have the right to resist an unlawful arrest, but very few people have the education to know exactly what is an unlawful arrest.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mitchell_in_CT
                        Can I ask why you wanted to ask this question? Is this a measure of mindset or something of that nature?
                        Nitromt brought up the issue in an another thread that got deleted through no fault of his home. I thought it would make for a lively discussion.
                        If you see me running try to keep up!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Two major issues in regards to resisting an "unlawful arrest."

                          First, as has already been touched on, how does the individual know the arrest is unlawful. Do most average citizens know the minimum legal requirements for a lawful arrest? It's probable cause. Could they define (in layman's terms) probable cause for me? Also, as a police officer, I am in no way required to present my probable cause to the person I'm arresting. I don't have to show you my evidence or parade my witnesses in front of you before I physcially arrest you...that's all for court, not on the street.

                          Second, a person who resists arrest is going to cause an escalation. Someone who resists arrest will, by their own actions, push me up the use of force continuum. The more you fight, the higher up the use of force continuum I go, until you're looking at being sprayed or hit with an impact weapon or even shot. Do you really want to risk that as opposed to simply submitting to the arrest and then fighting it in court (and, potentially, getting all my stuff when you sue me for the unlawful arrest...along with settlements from my employer)?

                          Common sense says that, even if you DO think it's an unlawful arrest, it's wiser to fight in court as opposed to fighting on the street.
                          Last edited by Bing_Oh; 05-03-2006, 03:11 AM.
                          "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                          -Friedrich Nietzsche

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bing_Oh
                            Two major issues in regards to resisting an "unlawful arrest."

                            First, as has already been touched on, how does the individual know the arrest is unlawful. Do most average citizens know the minimum legal requirements for a lawful arrest? It's probable cause. Could they define (in layman's terms) probable cause for me?
                            Layman's terms...no.

                            But...

                            Probable cause has been defined as the knowledge of facts sufficient to justify a reasonable man in the belief that he has
                            reasonable grounds for prosecuting an action. Paranto v. Ball, 132 Conn. 568, 571, 46 A.2d 6.

                            Mere conjecture or suspicion is insufficient. Zitkov v. Zaleski, 102 Conn. 439, 445, 128 A. 779.

                            Moreover, belief alone, no matter how sincere it may be, is not enough, since it must be based on circumstances which make it reasonable. Shea v. Berry, 93 Conn. 475, 478, 106 A. 761.

                            The above were internaly cited cases in - ZENIK v. O’BRIEN, 137 Conn. 592 (1951)

                            -----

                            The precise meaning of "probable cause" is somewhat uncertain. Most academic debates over the years have centered around the differences between "more probable than not" and "substantial possibility". The former involves the elements of certainty and technical knowledge. The latter involves the elements of fairness and common sense. There's more adherents of the latter approach, but how do you define common sense. Supreme Court case law has indicated that rumor, mere suspicion, and even "strong reason to suspect" are not equivalent to probable cause. Over the years, at least three definitions have emerged as the best statements:

                            Probable cause is where known facts and circumstances, of a reasonably trustworthy nature, are sufficient to justify a man of reasonable caution or prudence in the belief that a crime has been or is being committed. (reasonable man definition; common textbook definition; comes from Draper v. U.S. 1959)

                            Probable cause is what would lead a person of reasonable caution to believe that something connected with a crime is on the premises of a person or on persons themselves. (sometimes called the nexus definition; nexus is the connection between PC, the person's participation, and elements of criminal activity; determining nexus is the job of a judicial official, and it's almost always required in cases of search warrants, not arrest warrants)

                            Probable cause is the sum total of layers of information and synthesis of what police have heard, know, or observe as trained officers. (comes from Smith v. U.S. 1949 establishing the experienced police officer standard)

                            http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/315/315lect06.htm
                            ________

                            Ok. I cheated. I'm not a layman. I have a hard drive and notebooks filled with this stuff...and my account at Loislaw.com helps too...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What some people may think is an arrest may not be one, it may be a terry frisk:

                              TERRY v. OHIO, 392 U.S. 1 (1968)

                              The officer need not be absolutely certain that the individual is armed; the issue is whether a reasonably prudent man in the circumstances would be warranted in the belief that his safety or that of others was in danger. Cf. Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91 (1964); Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 174-176 (1949); Stacey v. Emery, 97 U.S. 642, 645 (1878).[fn23]

                              And in determining whether the officer acted reasonably in such circumstances, due weight must be given, not to his inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or "hunch," but to the specific reasonable inferences which he is entitled
                              to draw from the facts in light of his experience. Cf. Brinegar v. United States supra.

                              To the arestee, they are the same, a detention and removal of liberty, but for differnet goals and going for differnt goals:

                              A search for weapons in the absence of probable cause to
                              Page 26
                              arrest, however, must, like any other search, be strictly
                              circumscribed by the exigencies which justify its initiation.
                              Warden v. Hayden, 387 U.S. 294, 310 (1967)
                              (MR. JUSTICE FORTAS, concurring). Thus it must be
                              limited to that which is necessary for the discovery of
                              weapons which might be used to harm the officer or
                              others nearby, and may realistically be characterized as
                              something less than a "full" search, even though it
                              remains a serious intrusion.

                              A second, and related, objection to petitioner's argument
                              is that it assumes that the law of arrest has already
                              worked out the balance between the particular interests
                              involved here — the neutralization of danger to the policeman
                              in the investigative circumstance and the sanctity
                              of the individual. But this is not so. An arrest is a
                              wholly different kind of intrusion upon individual freedom
                              from a limited search for weapons, and the interests
                              each is designed to serve are likewise quite different. An
                              arrest is the initial stage of a criminal prosecution. It
                              is intended to vindicate society's interest in having its
                              laws obeyed, and it is inevitably accompanied by future
                              interference with the individual's freedom of movement,
                              whether or not trial or conviction ultimately follows.[fn22]
                              The protective search for weapons, on the other hand,
                              constitutes a brief, though far from inconsiderable, intrusion
                              upon the sanctity of the person. It does not follow
                              that because an officer may lawfully arrest a person only
                              when he is apprised of facts sufficient to warrant a belief
                              that the person has committed or is committing a crime,
                              the officer is equally unjustified, absent that kind of evidence,
                              in making any intrusions short of an arrest.
                              Moreover, a perfectly reasonable apprehension of danger
                              may arise long before the officer is possessed of adequate
                              information to justify taking a person into custody for
                              Page 27
                              the purpose of prosecuting him for a crime. Petitioner's
                              reliance on cases which have worked out standards of
                              reasonableness with regard to "seizures" constituting
                              arrests and searches incident thereto is thus misplaced.
                              It assumes that the interests sought to be vindicated and
                              the invasions of personal security may be equated in the
                              two cases, and thereby ignores a vital aspect of the analysis
                              of the reasonableness of particular types of conduct
                              under the Fourth Amendment. See Camara v. Municipal
                              Court, supra.

                              Terry v. Ohio, supra.

                              Comment

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