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Police impersonator with gun.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Mr_Moore, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. Mr_Moore

    Mr_Moore member

    Locally we had this nitwit:


    I used to work security in LA. I know that I can make a citizen's arrest.

    I can NOT say that I am a police officer.

    I remember being taught that even if you are not a police officer, saying - "halt you are under arrest" - gives you special powers to detain, including using force to hold the bad guy. I do not remember if that was only because I was a security guard or if anyone could use force to detain. We were told that we should place intruders under arrest for tresspassing, if we wanted to detain them for police.

    I don't think that means that if you see a guy robbing a gas station and you pull your gun and place him under arrest, that you can shoot him if he runs away. Correct me if I am wrong.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2005
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Nope..Can't shoot him if he's runnin' unless you saw him murder some good folks.

    Can't say you're a cop either, unless you are one...HOWEVER...

    A verbal command like: "Please! Drop your weapon!" Might just sound a lot like "police" to the adrenalin-charged bad guy...one would think...mayhaps. I mean...Just because ya gotta arrest somebody ain't any call to be impolite. Right?

    Any LEOs that can comment on that?
  3. Spreadfire Arms

    Spreadfire Arms Well-Known Member

    about 10 years ago, there was a news story about a guy in Palos Verdes, CA, who was driving around in an AMC Pacer or Gremlin or some other weird car with roof lights. he pulled over some guy and was playing wanna-be cop.

    turns out he pulled over a stolen vehicle!

    the real cops showed up, and took both guys into custody (police impersonator and driver of stolen car)

    that story is very strange in PA!
  4. Mr_Moore

    Mr_Moore member

    I do not see myself ever using that tone. A loud stern voice "DROP THE GUN/KNIFE/HOCKEY PUCK!" would be my choice.
  5. orangeninja

    orangeninja Well-Known Member

    Yes, if you represent yourself as law enforcement when in fact you are not, you are impersinating a police officer. There has been debate as to wether a person holding a badge that says "security" or "concealed handgun permit" would count as impersinating a LEO. As for "security", if they are acting within law and within their SOP they are fairly safe. As for the CHL badge....no precedent. Edited to note, this is within the context of using the badge to facilitate an arrest.

    In Texas the law is somthing to the effect that if you say or represent yourself in such a manner as to bring a reasonable person to believe that you are in fact a LEO, then you have impersinated a cop. That can be taken a lot of ways.

    "Please! Don't move!" is actually pretty good advice I would think. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer or judge, this is a discussion forum and this is not legal advice to anyone.):p

    Now that we've got that covered let's discuss a citizens arrest. An arrest is defined as anytime you by your actions or words would lead a reasonable person to believe that they are not free to leave. If an off duty cop makes an arrest, the burden of proof falls on the cop, and the arrest will be transfered 100% of the time (in my experience) because the on duty officer does not have to prove probable cause, only the initiating officer does.

    A citizen may make an arrest for a general offense, but one citizen alone may not constitute probable cause and the on duty officer does not have a duty to transfer that arrest if he/she believes the cause is not there. Leaving you looking stupid, possibly facing charges and civil litigation.

    As for the liability, police actually have more civil liability than citizens when making an arrest, however insurance and training lower the risk but certainly do not eliminate it. Citizens however have less liability civily, but more liability criminally, (in some areas a false arrest can lead to a charge of kidnapping, etc.) The civil liability is also still there, however since you do not have the deep pockets of a police dept. city or county, it would be harder for a lawyer to justify taking a Pro Bono case or one in which he gets paid when settled, as you are likely not to have extensive assets. But you never know.

    Well that's enough for now....if I made any mistakes I'm sure another LEO will jump right in.;)
  6. One of Many

    One of Many Well-Known Member

    The choice of verbal command used to get the attention of a BG is very important in stopping the BG. I have read of situations in which some very strange command such as "DROP YOUR PANTS" was used to momentarily shock the BG, so the arresting citizen could gain control. Shouting "Halt" or "Stop" or "Freeze" may have little effect if you are not wearing a uniform or displaying a badge. Using the phrase "in the name of the law" is an invitation to charges of impersonating a police officer.

    What other shock phrases might be useful? Let us hear some ideas.
  7. M-Rex

    M-Rex member

    "Not in the face."
  8. El Tejon

    El Tejon Well-Known Member

    One of my very first (adult) prosecutions was a militia boy with a "Department of Defense police officer" laminated (whoa, must be official if it's laminated) and gun show junior G-Man badge. He was hanging out in a bar near Purdue attempting to pick up chicks.

    Silly militia boy, everyone knows that your "doctor's card" is the ruse one uses in bars.:D
  9. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Maybe if the criminal is a deranged little old blue-haired grandmother.
  10. ceetee

    ceetee Well-Known Member

    It was always my understanding that if a citizen has a reason to make a "citizen's arrest", there's probably a pretty good chance that the first noise heard will be a loud "BANG".
  11. Twycross

    Twycross Well-Known Member

    Other shock phrases? Here's one I have used successfully on my brother in a MA class. "Boiled yams in mustard!". I won that round.:D :D :evil:
  12. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

    If I read 1911 right his statement could easily be heard by the BG as "Police..." but when questioned by LEOs later, he would state "I shouted 'PLEASE drop your weapon'".
    Seems like a pretty good ploy to me.
  13. Ryder

    Ryder Well-Known Member

    I am not one for words where deadly force is required. If you listen real close I suppose you might hear the safety click off but that's about all the warning I am capable of giving. I am unable to speak at funerals too. Definately some kind of correlation going on there.
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Police, Please...

    alduro noted:

    >Yes, if you represent yourself as law enforcement when in fact you are not, you are impersinating a police officer.<

    Quite so...but your honor... I said "Please!" Can't help what the crackhead alky-bum THOUGHT I said...:D Besides...if he thinks that I am a cop, and stands down, I'd rather take my chances with that defense on an impersonating charge than have to prove that I had to shoot in order to stay out of a cell with a 300-pound guy named "Mongo"...and still face civil suits
    down the road that'll likely cost me everything I have in the defense of same.
    Anything that I can do to avoid droppin' the hammer, I'll do....even though the world would probably be better off if I did.
  15. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Well-Known Member

    Generally speaking, MOST states allow private citizens to make arrests. If a citizen KNOWS that a felony has, indeed, taken place, they would most likely be covered. If it is only a "perceived" felony, then it might be some rough going.

    Violent misdemeanor crimes are an "iffy" topic, especially if something such as "mutual combat" is involved (two people fighting, with one of them obviously beating the snot out of the other. Of course, that might lead to a FELONY, if "great bodily injury" has been inflicted).

    By identifying yourself as a police officer when you are NOT one might cause you much grief. However, if you're LEGALLY armed and come upon an ARMED robbery in progress, I don't see anything wrong with DEFENDING yourself or any other citizen! Heck, in that situation, a commanding "Drop your gun or you're DEAD!" might be totally permissable.
    You don't have to dance around the "political correctness" usage of words in a life-or-death situation.

    Lastly, most citizen-involved shootings depend upon "articulation" of the facts. Let's say that you are a "concerned" citizen that has chosen to be armed, even though illegally, due to the high crime rate in your neighborhood. Well, that would make you sound like a "vigilante". On the other hand, if you were carrying illegally, but could give a "reasonable" story as to why you were armed, it might be "reasonable" enough for the court!

    I spent 31 years in law enforcement, and KNOW how effective "command presence" is. I've had bad guys drop guns just by using "command presence"! It's a matter of using a serious-toned, authoritative-sounding command that makes the bad guys into "believers". I never resorted to using foul language (i.e., "Drop the gun, *******!"), for I always chose to sound "professional" and "confident". Besides, why stoop to the same level as a bad guy?

    I'm sort of on a "fenceline", for I am now a RETIRED police officer, but still legally carry. If I happen upon an armed robbery in-progress, I could care less about "political correctness". I'm not going to waste my breath by using the word "retired"....it will be "Police officer, drop the gun!" I will ARTICULATE my word usage LATER, after I have successfully (hopefully) defended MY life and the intended robbery victim. "NO, I didn't tell the bad guy that I was a retired police officer! My training and 31 years of experience just kicked into high gear when I yelled 'Police officer'!"

    Lastly, having been VERY pro-active for gun rights and CCW "priveleges" for citizens, I sure hope that you who have carry permits aren't merely concerned about your OWN rear-sides! It would devastate you if were able to do "something" to save someone else, but did nothing! Hey, I was PAID to "protect and serve", but I'll STILL come to your aid if I am able to do so....free gratis!

    I almost forgot about one particular "police impersonator" that I had the PLEASURE of meeting as a LEO. He identified himself as an "FBI agent" to me, and he LOOKED it....but he didn't have any ID at the time (he was a beach-goer, clad in swim trunks). He explained that he had just observed a child molestation on the beach, and took us to where the suspect and victim were. The victim (a 12-year old boy) was too scare to run away from the suspect, who had reached inside of the boys swim trunks to fondle him. The statements that the victim and the "FBI agent" gave us corroborated the incident, and the suspect was taken into custody. He had a LONG arrest record for child molestation. He should have been locked up FOREVER!

    When the trial came up, the "FBI agent" took the stand and testified VERY professionally! When asked about his "FBI" status, he stated that he was on a "sabbatical leave" from the agency. VERY convincing, and the child molester was convicted.

    When I stepped out of the court room, a REAL FBI agent approached me, and filled me in. The "witness" was NOT an FBI agent, but had applied for employment with the FBI at one time. He was actually an insurance salesman! When the impersonator came out of court, the REAL FBI agent and myself confronted him. His claim was that he thought that an "FBI agent" status would be more credible than that of an insurance salesman. We walked the impersonator back inside the court, requested to meet with the Judge, and were escorted into the Judge's chamber. The Judge was VERY understanding, and said that the FACTS of the case had justifed the actions of ANY citizen. The Judge also left it to the REAL FBI agent, whether any charges of "impersonating" would be filed. In essence, the child molestor was STILL "guilty", no matter what!

    The REAL FBI agent had a LONG talk with the insurance salesman. Fortunately, the impersonator hadn't "detained" the child molestor in any way, and hadn't received any "gratuities" for having impersonated a LEO, so his impersonation could be "overlooked". Fortunately, the defense attorney for the child molestor NEVER caught wind of the situation, or it might have been tossed out of court!

    Score? One child molester convicted and sent to prison, one "FBI agent" impersonator being caught and released....patted on the back, but chastised at the same time, and ME, pleased that the outcome of the trial had been positive!
  16. Spreadfire Arms

    Spreadfire Arms Well-Known Member

    when i was a police officer in CA, we had a guy escape from our city jail, running down the street in handcuffs.

    the cops were all over the radio looking for him. an armed citizen heard this on his scanner (yes, illegally carrying a firearm since it is CA and he didnt have a CCW). armed citizen was a guy who went through police academy but didn't ever get hired as a cop.

    escapee ran through a school (after hours) and was stopped by the armed citizen. police arrived (they were in pursuit of the guy about 50 yds back) and took the escapee back into custody.

    the guy was a shoplifter from Target. he turned out to be a "parolee-at-large".

    when asked why he stopped for the armed citizen, he said, "i knew that guy wasn't a cop, and i was afraid he'd shoot me. i knew you cops weren't going to shoot me."

    lesson to be learned: a crook may not be scared of getting shot by the cops since he knows the rules of engagement, however a crook may be very scared about getting shot by an armed citizen, especially one who is really frightened and THINKS it is okay to shoot, whether or not the law allows it.

    that being said, i wouldn't even want to purport that i was the police if i wasn't. it is actually tactically more advantageous to make the crook think you are an itchy-trigger-finger gun-toting citizen. they usually tend to leave those guys alone because the likelihood of the citizen shooting them is much greater.
  17. c_yeager

    c_yeager Well-Known Member

    AFAIK all 50 states also allow citizen's arrests to protect your property, or property under your supervision. This is how they bust shoplifters.
  18. Devonai

    Devonai Well-Known Member

    I agree. I work as a security guard. I am not a cop nor do I want the job. If I find someone commiting a property crime (burglary, vandalism) I'm going to say "Hey, get out of here!" and call the police. If the BG thinks I'm trying to detain him he might get violent. I don't want to escalate the situation.

    Of course if I feel my life is in danger or the BG is so threatening someone else, I'm going to say whatever I need to say or do whatever I need to do to get him to cease his actions. If he runs away, fine, let the cops track him down.

    Now if for some reason the BG wants to surrender himself to me, I'll keep on eye on him until the cops get there, but at no time will I ever say "you're under arrest" or any permutation thereof.

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