Citizens Arrest?


July 20, 2003, 09:24 PM
I've often wondered, Where does Citizens Arrest come into play in the Whole RKBA debate? I think all children of the 80's remember growing up and seeing shows like "Knight Rider" or "The Fall Guy" where someone would catch the bad guy and say "I'm putting you under Citizens Arrest"
Isn't this another argument for Empowering the People?
Reducing crime and REALLY keeping people safe?
But BOTH sides of this issue seem silent on it........

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t driver
July 20, 2003, 10:29 PM
With lawsuits being a rampant as they are, plus the fact that citizens are encouraged not to get involved , but to call the police(for your safety, ha)I think many people are afraid to face the consequences of doing the right thing.
To speak out would lead to being branded a vigilante or radical.
For the gvt. to encourage this would go against their agenda. They don't want the people to be empowered. Sheeple are easier to control.
Pretty sad.:(

July 20, 2003, 11:07 PM
For a citizens arrest you are on very thin ice legally, ask your lawyer. And what if the BG says no , what will you do ?

Ala Dan
July 20, 2003, 11:56 PM
Go there if you want too; but be prepared for the
forthcoming consequences!:( :uhoh: :rolleyes:

With that said, too many times citizens arrest
powers are mis-used or abused, by over zealous
persons known in the profession as "wannabe's".
It's a dangerous game, that could result in bodily
injury or even sudden death!:uhoh: If you desire
to explore police work, my suggestion would be
to join an auxillary or reserve program; as offered
by most major department's.

That's the insight from a professional; but as they
say, "hindsight is 20/20"!:D

Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

July 21, 2003, 01:08 AM
too many times citizens arrest powers are mis-used or abused, by over zealous persons

Citizens Arreest! Citizens Arreest!

July 21, 2003, 01:08 AM
As Ala Dan says, this little known power is more often than not misused is less than amusing way. Police don't like when "civilians" get involved, but it is within the power of the Joe Citizen to arrest criminals in certain situations. I'm sure there are lawyers here on the board that can explain it more accurately and better detail than I, so I will not try.
The problem with citizen’s arrest is that the police and public at large are poorly educated when it comes to the rights and powers of the individual. If you try to use this authority, expect to be treated badly and charged with a crime. Somewhere along the road, people started to believe that they shouldn't get involved and that taking the law into their hands was wrong. I believe that both these concepts would be foreign to the founder of this country.

As for police "wannabes", most of them are a marble or two short of a bag, but I've also seen some that I would have rather worked with than certain coworkers!


July 21, 2003, 02:33 AM
It really depends on the situation that its used in. When i used to catch shoplifters it was a routine occurance. We would swap cuffs with the cops when they showed up and call it a day. And i doubt anyone would get on your case for tackling someone after mugging an old lady or something like that. Just use some good judgement. If your not in danger of losing life, limb, or property then you really need to decide if it is worth it or not. If the guy actually HURT someone then noone will get on your case for holding him for the cops (which is what a citizens arrest basically amounts to).

Jim March
July 21, 2003, 02:48 AM
Cops have a couple of pithy terms for untrained "cop wanna-bes". "Strange Ranger" is among the more creative (and printable).

I'm of the opinion that a serious separation must be made between CCW permitholder and "Strange Rangers".

Ironically, the state of California seems to disagree :scrutiny:. Basically, local agencies can put you through up to 16 hours of any sort of training they want, or 24 hours as long as it's a specific Community College course...BUT that latter was designed as a "crash course for renta-cops" and includes such matters as "use of handcuffs" and, you guessed it, "powers of arrest".

In my opinion, it's a potential breeding ground for "strange rangers", esp. combined with the elitist nature of CCW issuance in all too many counties :(.

July 21, 2003, 03:10 AM
My co workers and I went through the "powers of arrest" course
and we all do our level best to avoid using it.
Just letting the bad guy know your calling the cops seems to work best.
As a citizen we do not have the civil protection a police officer has.
Say you arrest someone,if they know a little about the criminal injustice system,they may get access to your home address/phone # and give your family a visit when your not home to protect them.
If your in a "big city" like frisco or ny city just spray them with pepperspray
or someting like that and leave.
Local cops will probably know he is a problem & not look to hard to find you.
everyone who owns a gun can take an armed security course (ask at your local range)they teach powers of arrest for your state and the law as shoot don't shoot would apply. It's a real interesting course even if you dont get a job as a
"mall ninja"....(I hate that term:mad: :neener: )

July 21, 2003, 03:35 AM
As a citizen we do not have the civil protection a police officer has.
That sums it up nicely for why I advise against it except as a last resort. As a citizen you open yourself up to lawsuits, and paying to defend them no matter how frivolous they are in basis.:fire:

July 21, 2003, 03:38 AM
Yup, frivolous lawsuits!

Another idea alien to the founding fathers (but a fact of life).


Ala Dan
July 21, 2003, 04:00 AM
All points are well taken; but I believe that some of us
are still missing the boat!:uhoh: 16hrs, 24 hrs, even
40 hrs isn't enough time to learn all the basics of law
to enforce "arrest powers". One also needs a chance
to undertake the study of The Criminal Code and
acting under the color of law. I could incorporate up to
approximately four weeks (160 hours) on this study
alone. A Citizens Academy was started here in
our area recently, and even they have the 160 hours
training cramed with several courses.

For those of you who are working armed security,
whether it be private security or corporate security;
I'm sure that some of you at least have had a certain
amount of training; quite possibly even firearms type
training? One of the best known security firms doing
business here in the U.S. and abroad is Wackenhut.
Their C.P.O.'s* come from the ranks of professionals,
such as former LEO's and military (MP) type personel.
There one week training session is a good one; and
is complete with a firearms qualification course.

I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to work
security; quite naturally the opposite, I encourage
it!:) But, as another poster pointed out- BE CAREFUL
cuz these good for nothing SOB's that committ these
act's are up to no good; and they don't mind hurting
you physically, financially, or emotionally.

* FootNote- CPO's are what Wackenhut calls its
"Custom Protection Officer's". They are the only
persons within the company that are armed; and
therefore they receive top pay among their ranks.

Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

July 21, 2003, 07:36 AM
Many arrests are actually citizens arrests. If you`re the victim of a crime the police act as your "agent" Basically, that`s why we have police. If the criminal is caught. you`re the complainant, not the state. The police didn`t witness the crime so if they testify in court, it`s as a witness for you. "Mr. X identified the person as the one who did such and such. When I arrested him I found property which Mr. X says belongs to him, the arrestee made certain statements, etc"

Say you caught a burgler inside your house and detain him for the police. You`re really arresting him, but the police are taking it through the system for you on your complaint. Now with that mugger mentioned, you`re just holding him for the complainant, the victim. A reasonable person would say you acted responsibly.

An example of a bad C/A would be you think someone is acting suspiciously. You detain him and call the police. If you had just called the police and let them investigate it, you`re just a concerned citizen. CYA.

One crime that isn`t would be homicide. Then it`s "The People of the State of XXXX Versus......" The state has to speak for the victim in these cases.

Some store security have special officer status. That means they can arrest shoplifters and carry the arrest through to its conclusion. This depends on where you live as I don`t know if every state has this.

Usually even the police are restricted. They`re only police officers in their geographical area of employment Outside that area but in the state they work, they`re peace officers. They can arrest for any felony, misdemeanors committed in their presence but not for violations. An example of that is a traffic violation. Outside their state of employment, they`re just ordinary citizens like you and I. Their word based upon their experience might make it easier to act but why take a chance? Better to call the locals and let them handle it. You`ll notice I`m not talking about an immediate life threatening situation. Then you do what you have to (police or citizen) and worry about consequences later.

July 21, 2003, 07:52 AM
Check your state's laws covering arrest and detention VERY carefully. Several states have no provision to "arrest," others give fairly broad powers to citizens.

A company I did some work for in the late 80s paid out on a suit where a security officer had told one of his co-workers to "watch" a woman they suspected of shoplifting. She overheard the conversation and made the case that her freedom of movement had been restricted by their watching. She won.

July 21, 2003, 09:44 AM
In Texas, two statutes are relevant:

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 14.01. Offense within view

(a) A peace officer or any other person, may, without a warrant, arrest an offender when the offense is committed in his presence or within his view, if the offense is one classed as a felony or as an offense against the public peace.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 18.16. Preventing consequences of theft

Any person has a right to prevent the consequences of theft by seizing any personal property that has been stolen and bringing it, with the person suspected of committing the theft, if that person can be taken, before a magistrate for examination, or delivering the property and the person suspected of committing the theft to a peace officer for that purpose. To justify a seizure under this article, there must be reasonable ground to believe the property is stolen, and the seizure must be openly made and the proceedings had without delay.

Highlighting is mine. Don't forget to read the fine print.


July 21, 2003, 02:42 PM
In Germany we do have the right to do a citizen arrest. IF you catch the criminal on the spot, (s)he's likely to flee and you don't know his/her ID or can't ID him/her, then you can hold them under arrest until the police arrives.

BTW, it's §127 StPO.

Trooper, can you confirm?

July 21, 2003, 03:51 PM
Realistically, it's hard to imagine a case where I would attempt to make a "citizen's arrest" on somebody . . . it seems to me there's a whole lot of potential downside, especially if/when things escalate.

It's harder still, realistically, to imagine a case where I would meekly submit to arrest by anyone OTHER than a sworn LEO.

Police officers, being visibly armed, always have the implicit threat of deadly force to back up their authority. As a citizen licensed to carry a concealed handgun, doing something as simple as revealing the fact that I'm armed is likely to get me in deep trouble unless the circumstances are such that I'm in real, immediate danger . . . in which case my mind won't be on arresting the bad buy, it'll be on protecting myself.

July 21, 2003, 03:57 PM
OOPS . . . duplicate post

July 21, 2003, 04:55 PM
"Shezaam! Citizens arrest... Citizens arrest...!" (said in best Gomer Pyle voice)

- sorry.... couldn't resist!

July 21, 2003, 05:40 PM
I suspect that in some states you may find limitations on this (as well as your other freedoms), but broadly speaking, you have every right to make an arrest. In fact, your arrest powers are broader than those of a policeman who is bound by Miranda and a host of other court decisions.

And yes, if circumstances warrant you can use deadly force.

We pay policeman to do our dirty work for us, but just because we've delegated this to the servants doesn't mean we can't exercise the power if we wish.

Of course, if you're wrong you may find civil and/or criminal penalties awaiting you for your good deed... and you won't have a police agency to cover for you!

I wouldn't exercise this power unless there was a direct threat to someones life if you didn't act. A district attorney once told me that (in Alaska) the most unshakeable defense for shooting someone under questionable circumstances (no direct threat to your life) was to claim that you were attempting to affect an arrest and the perp resisted, forcing you to use deadly force.


July 21, 2003, 06:46 PM
Thanks for all the responses but I realized that I didn't even make my point. How does Citizens Arrest, RKBA and Those Neighborhood Watch/Patrol programs work together?
My thinking is that if people are asked to patrol the neighborhood wearing hats and carrying whistles, shouldn't they know that the people living in the area are armed and together they can control "a situation" until the local authorities arrive?
I'm not for those "Guardian Angel" groups...but I like the idea of Neighborhood Watch.....sort of like the loca Militia Chapter
Or am I a nutcase?

July 21, 2003, 07:38 PM
From my reading I have concluded that (as far as the Common Law is concerned) the only power policemen have which people don't is the power to arrest folks for misdemeanors. I think that way back when, if one saw a felony committed and did nothing to stop or apprehend the criminal, he was subject to being caught and hanged by the King's men. (Not to mention the neighbors)

July 22, 2003, 11:08 AM
As already pointed out, if you are familiar with the laws and their onterpretations where you live (or have the DA around to update you like the cops), and if you understand the ins and outs of modern arrest control techniques (what is acceptable, when and where, and what is not, along with the certifications deemed acceptable inmodern police work), and if you have a whole truck full of money (copious amounts) to defend yourself when you are sued then by all means run around looking for trouble, because that is all it is folks, trouble.

If you don't have the above, it is big, big, trouble that your looking for.

July 24, 2003, 03:44 AM
So Erik, if some guy comes up to your friend or loved one and breaks a two by four over their head your going to let them walk away? Or would you let someone just wander off with your property? Stopping that person would be an arrest.

July 24, 2003, 11:00 AM
The PDRK penal code gives peace officers greater freedom to arrest based on probable cause belief a crime was committed and the person arrested committed it.

Private persons (PDRK term for citizen) have a greater burden to actually know a crime was committed and the person they arrest committed it.

When I was working as a LEO, I would explain to a person who wanted to exercise his power to make a private person's arrest the difference between the two powers to arrest and their civil liability should they make a false arrest. Most people so advised backed off and let the report/complaint/warrant/arrest procedure run its course.

Jeff White
July 24, 2003, 01:23 PM
Here in the Peoples Democratic Republic of Illinois a private citizen has almost the same authority as a Peace Officer. But, a private citizen has no protection from civil actions if he/she chooses to use any arrest powers.

A citizen can use the same force in order to effect an arrest as a peace officer. A citizen cannot make an arrest on second hand information. If you came home from work and your neighbor came up and said he saw joe the dirtbag from down the street break into your garage, you couldn't go grab joe the dirt bag and drag him to the jail. However your neighbor who witnessed it could have.

If your neighbor had grabbed joe the dirt bag and dragged him off to the jail and joe the dirt bag decided to sue him for false arrest and excessive force, your neighbor would have had to bear the cost of his defense out of his own pocket. A peace officer would have his costs borne by the state.

Another quirk in Illinois law is that many elected and appointed local governmental positions meet the definition of being peace officers.


Carlos Cabeza
July 24, 2003, 04:06 PM
The E.H. & S. manager at my facility made a citizens arrest a few weeks ago. There were several cars broken into over several weeks at his apt. community. We needed to come to work at 4am. one day for an environmental cleanup job. When he went to his truck he noticed an individual crouching behind a vehicle. When he went to ask *** ! the punk tried to stab him in the chest with a screwdriver and took off running. After a short foot chase and an awesome sooner linebacker style tackle the dude was down and in a wrist hold.:D A few free hand punches to the face and midriff the perp decided he wanted his mommy. And to "please call the cops" this is the part I liked the most !:cool: Another witness phoned the police who arrived shortly and found several car stereos, tools and other stuff that was readily identified by other residents. He was contacted by the local media for an interview but declined due to his modest nature. :cool: All I could say was :p good job brother !

And yes he's CCW too. Did not need to produce it though.

July 24, 2003, 07:19 PM
No LEO's want citizens making arrests. Furthermore, the concept of an arrest means they're running away. I can only think of a very few situations where you'd want to stop a bad guy who's running away. Just let him run! If he's running, that means you won the encounter or you lost it, but in any event it's over. If you lost, you're in no position to arrest him, and if you won (by throwing down, most likely), you should just leave it at that and go on with your day.

My philosophy in a nutshell--kill them, or leave them alone. Any other choice involves touching them, and that's never a good idea.

July 24, 2003, 11:52 PM
In Ohio, any citizen may perform a citizen's arrest for a felony, detain the individual and summon a Peace Officer, who will then effect an arrest.

Shopkeepers or their agent (read: loss prevention) may detain an individual using "reasonable force" until a Peace Officer arrives, if that individual is suspected of having committed a theft offense in their business.

One of my favorite scenarios is the shoplifter who decides to run and gets caught, thumped, and skull-dragged back into the loss-prevention office and by the time I arrive is loudly screaming that he is gonna press charges for assault on each and every LP in the store who has disrespected him by daring to lay hands on him.

Uhm...fine. You can try. :D

Of course, the better be right...otherwise you can be charged with assault. And sued. Etc.


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