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Citizen's arrest: The New Normal?


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  • Citizen's arrest: The New Normal?

    Most of you have read about the militia plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan for the purpose of holding an extrajudicial trial in another state for closing bowling alleys and requiring people wear masks. What you may not have read is how Barry County (MI) Sheriff Dar Leaf says it would be completely legit for a bunch of fellers to make such an arrest, and quotes the Michigan citizen arrest statute:


    Question: as we enter into this period of increased growth of self-appointed citizen police squads, does your chief/sheriff also see cit arrest as a viable means of maintaining community standards?
    Quickness is the essence of war.

    -Sun Tzu

  • #2
    I am certain that there are wide variations among the states, each of which has its own constitution, statutes, and procedural codes. My response is intended more as a means of provoking thought and research rather than any definitive statement.

    Here in Colorado the Code of Criminal Procedures is in Chapter 2, Colorado Revised Statutes, which clearly states that a citizen may make an arrest for a misdemeanor or felony offense committed in his presence, using such force as may be reasonably necessary to subdue the perpetrator and deliver him/her to the sheriff. It should be noted that this amounts to legal authority to act, not a license to act, not an official commission to act, and not a legal command to act. The citizen may act or not at his sole discretion, and I suggest that discretion is the key element to be followed.

    A peace officer must make an arrest when a warrant is known to exist, and may make an arrest based upon probable cause. Thus a peace officer has a broader range of authority, but also reduced discretion (in cases involving a warrant). A peace officer may also command the assistance of any person over 15 years of age to assist in subduing and controlling a person being arrested, and a citizen's failure to comply with such a command constitutes a misdemeanor offense.

    As a general rule, the authorities of a peace officer are those delegated by the citizens (as are all just powers of government in a constitutional republic). Police departments, sheriffs' departments, and state police are all a part of the militia of the state, just as all able-bodied adults are members of the militia. The fundamental difference is that public officers are engaged as the 'select militia', appointed to represent the community in taking care of the public peace and order so that the citizens may go about their daily lives. Over time there has evolved a general consensus that enforcement functions are government's sole prerogative and responsibility has been removed from the common citizens ('popular militia', in the legal sense of things).

    The news articles about a group in Michigan banding together for the specific purpose of imposing their (supposed and self-arrogated) militia authority through forceful intervention in government operations, amounting to a criminal conspiracy to commit sedition and/or terrorist acts. This is about as far from the lawful functions of a popular militia as anyone can conceivably go.

    Contrary to some popular viewpoints and public discourse, the concept of a militia is a generally good aspect of our form of self-government. Unfortunately, most states and public officials have failed to ensure that the popular militia is "well regulated", best understood as properly instructed and trained while remaining committed to lawful authority.

    I suggest that instructing our citizens on the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, including the proper role of the popular militia as an element of self-government, would be a very good start toward rebuilding the public trust and reinforcing public support for those selected to act in our behalf (LEO's of all positions). But it has taken a century-and-a-half to get where we are as a society (since the very first advent of organized law enforcement agencies), and getting things back on track now would be a monumental task.

    As a nation we have allowed too many citizens to convince themselves that there can be guaranteed rights without any responsibility (for self, for family, for community, for our nation).


    • #3
      . To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
      "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


      • #4
        In Iowa , (much like Colorado from above post) a citizen can make an arrest pretty much for anything except an arrest warrant. In fact I kind of do it quite often, but I am employed by a Sheriff's Office

        However a person arrested by a "citizen" needs to be taken immediately before a magistrate.....................something the original post situation wasn't going to happen
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • #5
          Ohio allows a citizen's arrest for felonies. and the suspect must immediately be brought to an officer of the court, be it a LEO, a magistrate, etc. Citizen arrests have never been encouraged, and I don't see that changing.


          • #6
            FWIW, none of what that idiot Sheriff suggested is "completely legit", so the entire discussion is moot.


            The Michigan Sheriff’s Association has condemned comments by the Barry County sheriff that appeared to defend the 13 men who were arrested on allegations that they planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, storm the Capitol and try to start a civil war.

            Sheriff Dar Leaf’s comments were “dangerous” and nothing about the alleged actions of the 13 individuals should be understood to be “legal, moral or American," wrote Matthew Saxton, executive director and CEO for the Michigan Sheriffs Association.

            “It is, frankly, disheartening that any law enforcement official with any time in service of his or her oath could respond that way,” Saxton wrote in a Tuesday open letter that also thanked state and federal investigators involved in the case.

            Leaf’s comments became a topic of national media coverage and drew immediate condemnation from Attorney General Dana Nessel.

            “As Michigan’s top law enforcement official, let me make this abundantly clear —Persons who are not sworn, licensed members of a law enforcement agency cannot and should not ‘arrest’ government officials with whom they have disagreements,Nessel said in a tweet. “These comments are dangerous.”

            Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt also condemned Leaf’s comments in a Tuesday statement.

            “Sheriff Leaf is not a lawyer, nor is he licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan, yet he inaccurately cited a law that is inapplicable and is meant to aid the very citizens and law enforcement he is sworn to protect,” Nakfoor Pratt wrote.

            “There is no logical, legal or ethical basis for statements that defend or condone behavior that threatens the safety of Gov. Whitmer, fellow law enforcement, or any other citizen in this country,” she wrote.

            Michigan’s citizen arrest law largely hinges on whether the crime being committed is a felony or whether the person is summoned by a police officer to help with the arrest. The law also allows shop owners, employees or a security contractor to make a citizen's arrest in the event of retail fraud.


            • #7
              Nothing like a Sheriff or CoP showing The Stupid to a bunch of nose pickers with a gripe... What’s to stop them from arresting Cops..?


              • #8
                Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                Nothing like a Sheriff or CoP showing The Stupid to a bunch of nose pickers with a gripe... What’s to stop them from arresting Cops..?
                Interesting question! I don't know about Michigan law. Here in Colorado a cop who commits a misdemeanor or felony in the presence of a private citizen is subject to citizen's arrest. That brings another little problem, Colorado law prohibits disarming a peace officer. Personally, I wouldn't want to engage in that argument at the courthouse. I am also a 70-year old man with osteoarthritis and multiple orthopedic surgeries, so I have no desire to engage in any physical contests with younger people in far better condition.

                Back to the basic premise; while a citizen's arrest may be allowed under a state's laws there are very few situations in which it might be the best way of dealing with a problem.


                • #9
                  What felony are they alleging the governor committed? Make a directive requiring face masks?


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