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Refusing to assist a Police Officer?

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  • Refusing to assist a Police Officer?

    Hi all,

    After watching the fatal shooting video from 2012 involving the privately employed Kansas City PD officer and the off-duty fireman (see here), and seeing how the cop was asking for help of the very vocal bystanders, it begged this question:

    Does a member of the public have a legal obligation to assist a cop or other law enforcement officer when required?

    I know at least MA, VA and I think PA have this in their statutes which all come from the English/Welsh common law (Refusal to assist a Constable').

    Has anyone heard of this law being used and anyone successfully prosecuted?
    Last edited by leopheard; 08-31-2014, 10:47 PM.

  • #2
    Colorado CRS:

    16-3-202. Assisting peace officer - arrest - furnishing information - immunity

    (1) A peace officer making an arrest may command the assistance of any person who is in the vicinity.

    (2) A person commanded to assist a peace officer has the same authority to arrest as the officer who commands his assistance.

    (3) A person commanded to assist a peace officer in making an arrest shall not be civilly or criminally liable for any reasonable conduct in aid of the officer or for any acts expressly directed by the officer.


    18-8-107. Refusing to aid a peace officer

    A person, eighteen years of age or older, commits a class 1 petty offense when, upon command by a person known to him to be a peace officer, he unreasonably refuses or fails to aid the peace officer in effecting or securing an arrest or preventing the commission by another of any offense.



    30-10-516. Sheriffs to preserve peace - command aid

    It is the duty of the sheriffs, undersheriffs, and deputies to keep and preserve the peace in their respective counties, and to quiet and suppress all affrays, riots, and unlawful assemblies and insurrections. For that purpose, and for the service of process in civil or criminal cases, and in apprehending or securing any person for felony or breach of the peace, they, and every coroner, may call to their aid such person of their county as they may deem necessary.
    Last edited by tanksoldier; 08-31-2014, 11:06 PM.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

    "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

    Comment


    • #3
      CA also. It's actually quite fun to direct gang members to assist in the arrest of another banger and then arrest them for refusing. And yes, I've done it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ohio:

        2921.23 Failure to aid a law enforcement officer.

        (A) No person shall negligently fail or refuse to aid a law enforcement officer, when called upon for assistance in preventing or halting the commission of an offense, or in apprehending or detaining an offender, when such aid can be given without a substantial risk of physical harm to the person giving it.

        (B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of failure to aid a law enforcement officer, a minor misdemeanor

        Comment


        • #5
          Art. 2.14. MAY SUMMON AID. Whenever a peace officer meets with resistance in discharging any duty imposed upon him by law, he shall summon a sufficient number of citizens of his county to overcome the resistance; and all persons summoned are bound to obey.

          Art. 2.15. PERSON REFUSING TO AID. The peace officer who has summoned any person to assist him in performing any duty shall report such person, if he refuse to obey, to the proper district or county attorney, in order that he may be prosecuted for the offense.

          I've never seen nor heard of anyone being charged with this, but it is on the books here in Texas.

          Comment


          • #6
            Iowa Code Section 719.2
            REFUSING TO ASSIST OFFICER.
            Any person who is requested or ordered by any magistrate or peace
            officer to render the magistrate or officer assistance in making or
            attempting to make an arrest, or to prevent the commission of any
            criminal act, shall render assistance as required. A person who,
            unreasonably and without lawful cause, refuses or neglects to render
            assistance when so requested commits a simple misdemeanor.


            I have never heard of anyone being charged
            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

            Comment


            • #7
              One problem is regardless of law or ordinance is that if all parties are in street clothes and one is screaming for help, how do you know which one to help. You could easily be helping a felon to escape or injure the officer.

              Now retired and all I have is a CCW cause my former Chief won't sign off on LEOSA, all I'm going to do is call 911.

              Another problem. If the suspect is injured because of your assistance, can you be sued in a civil suit? Are you granted immunity from suit or prosecution in your state?

              Comment


              • #8
                Although some states have decided to enact laws making it punishable as a crime not to aid an officer, I would be very surprised if those laws have ever been enforced. I've seen plenty of enforceable laws that make it a crime to obstruct an officer, but forcing a citizen to put themselves in danger wouldn't pass constitutional muster if challenged in the high court in my opinion.
                I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

                Comment


                • #9
                  901.18 Officer may summon assistance.—A peace officer making a lawful arrest may command the aid of persons she or he deems necessary to make the arrest. A person commanded to aid shall render assistance as directed by the officer. A person commanded to aid a peace officer shall have the same authority to arrest as that peace officer and shall not be civilly liable for any reasonable conduct in rendering assistance to that officer.
                  Florida law as well as amplifying information regarding civil liability.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by leopheard View Post

                    Has anyone heard of this law being used and anyone successfully prosecuted?
                    No and No.

                    Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                    CA also. It's actually quite fun to direct gang members to assist in the arrest of another banger and then arrest them for refusing. And yes, I've done it.
                    Was a complaint actually filed?

                    The closest I’ve come to gang related posse comitatus (CA PC section 150) turned in a lynching (CA PC 405a) with a multi-jurisdictional response and media circus.
                    Last edited by sanitizer; 09-01-2014, 04:33 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have no knowledge of its use, but this is on the books in Texas.

                      Art. 2.14. [38] [45] [46] MAY SUMMON AID. Whenever a peace
                      officer meets with resistance in discharging any duty imposed upon
                      him by law, he shall summon a sufficient number of citizens of his
                      county to overcome the resistance; and all persons summoned are
                      bound to obey.

                      Acts 1965, 59th Leg., vol. 2, p. 317, ch. 722, eff. Jan. 1, 1966.
                      In God We Trust
                      Everyone else we run local and NCIC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I know it probably ain't gonna happen because of liability issues and because some dufus would probably end up getting himself or a LE officer killed ... but there's a side of me that wishes that the sheriff still rounded up posses to go after bad guys. It would give Joe Citizen (a.) some skin in the game of helping to maintain a civilized society and (b.) a better understanding of what LE actually faces.

                        Back in the real world ... I would not stand there with my finger in my rectum or filming the scene with my smartphone if an officer was in trouble and was seeking my help. How far I'd go ... the ship's done sailed as far as me getting involved in a physical confrontation, at my age and with a whole bunch of bad joints I'd be a hindrance rather than a help. I do have a pistol that I'm licensed to carry concealed and generally know how to use, although I'd hate to in the heat of the moment miss the bad guy and hit the good guy, or get taken out by another good guy who didn't know I wasn't the bad guy.

                        I really can't say what I'd do until the situation presented itself, but I wouldn't just stand there and let a LE officer get killed, and I have no use for anyone who would. Maybe I'd start chunking rocks or bricks ...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ink Stained Wretch View Post
                          I really can't say what I'd do until the situation presented itself, but I wouldn't just stand there and let a LE officer get killed, and I have no use for anyone who would. Maybe I'd start chunking rocks or bricks ...
                          Helping may be just grabbing someone's arm long enough to get him cuffed, or a kick to the rear of the knee to help drag someone to the ground. Might not be a lot, but I'm sure most officers will find this useful.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good point. Don't just stand there like a stump.

                            Originally posted by leopheard View Post
                            Helping may be just grabbing someone's arm long enough to get him cuffed, or a kick to the rear of the knee to help drag someone to the ground. Might not be a lot, but I'm sure most officers will find this useful.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SgtScott31 View Post
                              forcing a citizen to put themselves in danger wouldn't pass constitutional muster if challenged in the high court in my opinion.
                              ...then neither would the draft.
                              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

                              Comment

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