General Question

phaedryx's avatar

Have you ever seen a citizen's arrest?

Asked by phaedryx (6099 points ) October 10th, 2012

It is legal in many countries for a person who is not a part of law enforcement to arrest someone.

However, I’ve never actually seen or heard of it actually happening, and I wondered if any of you knew of an instance.

Also, if you were witness to a felony, would you make an arrest? Are there any conditions where you would exercise this right? What if someone tried to make a citizen’s arrest on you?

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19 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

It becomes a very gray area because it would be easy to backfire on someone not trained in detaining people. It could go horribly wrong.

Nullo's avatar

Check Youtube; there’s bound to be a story.

I probably wouldn’t have the presence of mind, really.

woodcutter's avatar

The best I would do personally is try to remember everything I saw to tell the police when they arrived. It’s their job to deal with suspects and it might make it hard for them to tell who is who when they first show up. If there was danger involved I would definitely be out if there was a way.

NuclearWessels's avatar

If I saw someone get into an accident and then try and leave the scene of the crime, I would try and stop him/her.

Coloma's avatar

Yes. My 14 year old watch goose ” Marwyn” made a citizens arrest of a Jehovahs witness after they trespassed on my property. Marwyn kept her pinned in a corner between my gate and driveway for 30 minutes until I came home and sent her away with a notice to not trespass again. An angry goose is no match for a petite messenger of Jehovah. lol

zenvelo's avatar

I saw a bouncer at a bar hold someone and not let them leave. But he was sober and a lot bigger than the guy causing trouble. The guy had gotten in a fight with his girlfriend and was about to hit her when the bouncer pulled him outside.

woodcutter's avatar

If you get hurt trying to be cop you might have a problem filing charges against the person who was responsible. Better really have your facts straight with enough witnesses willing to get involved because pretty much any defense lawyer can paint a citizen cop as a vigilante if there is a angle open.

Symbeline's avatar

Never seen it. I wouldn’t attempt it either, if I see someone committing a crime or trespassing or something, it’s a much better idea to call the authorities themselves. You can get arrested for fucking up a thief who breaks into your own home, so fuck it, I’m not trying anything lol.

@Coloma Lol, cool story. It’s like, oh yeah, you WANTED to come here and pester us? Well you’re not LEAVING, ya heard? lol xD

woodcutter's avatar

@Symbeline OMFG thats right, you have that archaic rule up there. Better just take that ass beating ‘cause if you dare try to defend yourselves there you might as well just kill yourself nicer than the bad guy will. And you hope the guy doesn’t slash himself on the busted window glass he created or you’ll be paying for that too..

OUCH

Symbeline's avatar

Of course I’d defend myself if it came to that. What the fuck do you think? I just ain’t goin after him. Then again I spend my every waking moment fucking Satan up his dick, so what the fuck do I know.

woodcutter's avatar

If you are in your house then its your word against his…his being slightly weaker because he’s in your place uninvited. You should bury a hammer in his skull and say you were in fear for your life. Thats all we have to say here. And when the mounties come, you say you are having trouble breathing. This will give you some cool down cover because an O2 mask will be over your face and the cops will have to postpone their questioning until a doc has finished with you which could take several hours. That delay is enough time to get your shit together so when the interview happens your mind will be calmer and your underpants will be clean.
Cops have a tendency to try to trip a witness up with their questioning tactics. Don’t let them. The cops are not your friends.

Symbeline's avatar

I know cops aren’t your friends, or at least a lot of them aren’t. (another question on here convinces me of that) But apparently there’s a lot of weird complications when it comes to someone breaking in your place and what you do to them that could get you in trouble. So besides self defense, I’m not willing to risk trying a citizen’s arrest.

woodcutter's avatar

No you don’t arrest them. How do we even do that really? ”By the powers vested in me I therefore arrest thee” And I want…...A SHRUBBERY!
If you kick their ass the arrest will be moot by then. They might as well consider themselves busted. Now if they are polite and just want a few of your things…all of your stuff, and its looking like they wont really hurt you then if you trust them you might not need to defend yourself but thats a shit load of trust and if’s that most people, not even crooks deserve really. They start grabbing your games me thinks you are gonna come unhinged and get medieval on them.

Roby's avatar

Only on the Andy Griffith Show when Goober arrested Barney for makeing a U-turn.

NuclearWessels's avatar

I suppose you could consider this a citizens arrest. Man on drunken tractor rampage faces angry mob

Symbeline's avatar

@woodcutter Yeah but if you kick their ass you can get charged for it. That would suck. But no, I wouldn’t let them grab my games. I see no way around it, really. Maybe if you had a gun, you could use that, but if they don’t have a gun, wouldn’t the cops use that against you? I’d like to think they’d go against the thief instead of me…

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

No I’ve never seen a citizen’s arrest, because in this country if you get it wrong, you could be the one in serious crap with the law. It’s one thing to get it right, but you may need to prepare to be bubba’s little biatch if you get it wrong because there is the potential for serious time to be served if you do – which is probably why. I used to do security work and they highlighted in the company’s guidelines that if you did get it wrong, you’d probably need bar on a soap….although to be fair that “bar on a soap” bit was just me adding my own rendition of their rules and regs.

woodcutter's avatar

@Symbeline It will come down to your word against theirs. And if they have come into your place uninvited or even forcefully ,there should be a struggle expected if any kind of natural human behavior is considered. Do people really expect someone to defend themselves while taking care to not hurt the guy who is being the aggressor? I not seeing someone multi tasking something like that successfully. I’m not sure what laws like that are supposed to encourage, or discourage. Usually laws like that are an attempt at social engineering but what is the end game? That crime will go down? It looks more like criminals will be more emboldened because they have the law on their side, which doesn’t do squat to reduce violence…FAIL.

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