It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Huntsville police say public didn't help officer in need

page: 1
6
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:06 PM
link   
To interfere, or not to interfere, that is the question...

Huntsville police say several people in a Huntsville neighborhood stood and watched as a police officer struggled with a suspect.

When you have police who intimidate, threaten, arrest, and/or assault people for simply recording video of police interactions, it's not surprising if some people simply keep their distance. Unfortunately for those people their actions are a crime, at least in Alabama.

Alabama legal code said refusing to aid a police officer is actually a misdemeanor crime. If you're in a situation where you see a police officer trying to arrest someone and he asks you specifically to help him, you could be charged if you don't respond.



Alabama Code - Section 13A-10-5 — Refusing to aid peace officer.
(a) A person commits the crime of refusing to aid a peace officer if, upon command by a peace officer identified to him as such, he fails or refuses to aid such peace officer in:
(1) Effecting or securing a lawful arrest; or
(2) Preventing the commission by another person of any offense.
(b) A person is not liable under this section if the failure or refusal to aid the officer was reasonable under the circumstances. The burden of injecting this issue is on the defendant, but this does not shift the burden of proof.
(c) Refusing to aid a peace officer is a Class C misdemeanor.

CODE SOURCE

Of course this specifically requires a verbal command from the officer, at least how I'm understanding it, which is a fact that remains unclear in this situation.

It's unclear if the Huntsville police officer involved in the incident Wednesday ever asked the bystanders to help him, but he said the suspect was trying to grab his gun and none of the witnesses stepped up to help.


But wait...Haven't the courts made it clear that police have no legal obligation to protect and/or offer services to any individual? I know there is a moral argument that could be made but simply sticking to the legal argument this appears to be one sided, as usual.

Now lets suppose a citizen does intervene. What protections does this citizen have from consequences should the intervention not go to the officers liking, from lets say, an obstruction charge? What happens should other officers arrive, not knowing the citizen is there to help at the officers command? What if there are lawsuits from the individual arrested?

I would like to think that if posed with an instance where an individual, whether cop or not, needed immediate help, that I could muster up the courage to intervene. Unfortunately, whether legally obligated or not, I honestly cannot see myself rushing to the immediate aide of a police officer. Not from anything personal but the situation is too much like playing a dangerous game of chicken. One elbow in the wrong place during the struggle and suddenly the officer turns on you. Or any number of variables that don't favor a positive outcome for the citizen.

So ATS how do you feel about being legally obligated to help someone who isn't legally obligated to help you?

SOURCE




posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:14 PM
link   
COPS....we don't help you ,oh well we don't have to. ...if you don't help us, you are in trouble.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:16 PM
link   
And then get charged with interfering with a police investigation or obstruction. Right.

You want to be a cop...do your own work.

Jude



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:18 PM
link   
a reply to: FraggleRock


To interfere, or not to interfere, that is the question...



Actually, the question is whether to "assist", when asked. If a LEO asked for my assistance, and I was able to give it, I would do it. As long as it didn't involve flying bullets and such. I'm kind of a chicken when it comes to bullets. But I could get to the car radio to call for help and that kind of thing. Would be glad to.

( provided the officer wasn't abusing someone. In that case, I might "interfere".)


edit on 9/12/2015 by angeldoll because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:21 PM
link   
Legally obligated is perhaps wrong.

As far as should people step in to help on their own? Yes, if they care about their own community, they should support law enforcement where they can.

A Hit and Run suspect who is trying to take an Officers gun is very dangerous IMO. Dangerous to everyone in fact. Not helping is pretty much saying either those watching and doing nothing are too scared or side with the criminal.

I'd imagine two things are in play when people who could do the right thing don't; fear or being lowlifes themselves. Fear though I think is why people don't.

Who other than the Officer is in the most danger if the criminal gets his hands on the gun? The people standing there watching it happen. Can't call that good judgement at all.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:21 PM
link   


When you have police who intimidate, threaten, arrest

also protect, serve and often risk their lives everyday.
why wouldnt you help, LEO's are humans firstly , then cops.

i agree it should be an offence not to help if you can.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:21 PM
link   
Huh didn't know you can be legally required to help an officer.
I get doing it on moral basis, just helping some one in need but making it illegal to not to if asked is iffy.

If I asked someone one to help me and they didn't I don't think they would get in trouble.
I am sure a cop would without me asking before someone wants to imply that I am saying they wouldn't.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:24 PM
link   
Since when can a cop force a civilian to enter a situation that could endanger their life? That doesn't seem like a morally sound law.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:29 PM
link   

Refusing to aid a peace officer is a Class C misdemeanor.


Isn't that about the equivalent of J-Walking?

Reminds me of the last "Seinfeld" episode.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:31 PM
link   

originally posted by: Sremmos80
Huh didn't know you can be legally required to help an officer.
I get doing it on moral basis, just helping some one in need but making it illegal to not to if asked is iffy.

If I asked someone one to help me and they didn't I don't think they would get in trouble.
I am sure a cop would without me asking before someone wants to imply that I am saying they wouldn't.




In fact it is law in 44 states and for Federal customs officers

Wiki Link


Refusing to assist a police officer, peace officer or other law enforcement officer is an offence in various jurisdictions around the world. This principle originates from Norman England, where local Sheriffs in England would be the only peace officer in an area. He would summon assistance from locals in order to enforce the King's laws or to apprehend an offender.[1] It subsequently became part of the common law that all persons must assist a constable or peace officer when so requested. This still remains as one of the few common law offences which has not been repealed today.


yet the same officers are not required/cannot be held liable for the protection of the citizens they work for.

Has there been recent case where this law was challenged in court? I do not know if these laws could even be enforced.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:40 PM
link   
a reply to: FraggleRock

IMO It should kinda be a moral obligation to help *anyone* in need—even a cop, even though it should not be a crime to not help an officer in need. Reminds me of the Seinfeld finale.

A cop would help the citizen in a similar situation, even though it's his duty, so it's not unreasonable that a person should help a cop. I can totally understand why some people in some areas *wouldn't* help a cop though. "F that pig, they're always shakin' us down and harassing us..." Stuff like that. Then again, be the better person...and help.

Until a citizen jumps in to help the cop, other cops roll up and kill the good Samaritan for thinking he's the suspect gang attacking the fellow cop.

And no, no protection for a citizen who decides to interfer-—ahem, HELP—a cop under assault.



Jessie: That soldier would have helped you and you know it.

John Russell: I didn't ask for any.

Jessie: He didn't even have a gun.

John Russell: That's his business he don't wanna carry one.

Jessie: It takes a lot to light a fire under you, doesn't it.

John Russell: If it's alright with you, lady, I just didn't feel like bleeding for him. And even if it isn't alright with you.

edit on 12-9-2015 by Liquesence because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:48 PM
link   
When did people stop making their neighborhoods better themselves? When did all the responsibility fall on law enforcement?



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:50 PM
link   
a reply to: FraggleRock

Ah the old "innocent bystander" comes into play......before i would agree to a law like this i would like to know what protections would be in place for said citizens if he/she were to interfere and end up injured or even deceased ?...and as other have mentioned there is a fair danger of other officers turning up and not realizing someone in the mix is actually helping the officer......



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 05:54 PM
link   
They couldn't help. They were too busy digitally documenting the incident.


The bystanders said they felt the need to video tape the incident Wednesday in case something happened.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 06:05 PM
link   
Six years ago I was involved in an incident in which an officer asked me for assistance. If he hadn't, things might have gone very badly.

When it comes to the point in which an officer asks for help, you can be sure that he/she is not doing so lightly and will greatly appreciate your assistance. It takes a lot of humility for an officer to ask for help from someone that is not law enforcement.

Even if they do not ask, perhaps it would be nice to offer help if it is clear that they are in trouble.
edit on 12-9-2015 by introvert because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 06:47 PM
link   
To be quite honest I would take the charge and walk away as soon as I saw the struggle. My thought process would say a) don't be a witness and b) don't get involved for all those bad reasons in the OP. So I'm gonna pretend I didn't see or hear a thing and walk on with a quick pace even. I mean if the officer shows up on the news dead I would describe what I did see, but stop or interfere no way.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 07:23 PM
link   
What if you physically can't help? There are some things I can't do anymore. Not like I'm in a weelchair, but if I helped and got more injured it's not like they would pay my bills.

Most were probably afraid they would be the polices next target if they did help, we've seen that happen.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 07:38 PM
link   
I dunno what ATS thinks but here's what I think:

I think I'm tired of the line "cops don't have to protect you" being trotted out in the manner that it is.

That is NOT the manner in which SCOTUS intended it. If anybody actually read the pertinent decisions, they would learn that the ruling means that a person can't sue a police department after being struck by a car while crossing the road. A police department can't be sued by a person's family because the person was murdered in their own home.

Point of fact, to use the situation in the OP, an officer DOES have a duty to act should he or she come upon two people fighting in the street.

"Cops don't have to protect you" is a blatant attempt to play on emotions and utterly ignores what the actual ruling addressed. No, cops don't have to sit in your living room all night to make sure nobody breaks in. Yes, cops do have to do something if they see you getting your ass handed to you on the sidewalk.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 07:50 PM
link   

originally posted by: angeldoll

Refusing to aid a peace officer is a Class C misdemeanor.


Isn't that about the equivalent of J-Walking?

Reminds me of the last "Seinfeld" episode.


Reminded me of Seinfeld too. So funny.

I thought LE travelled in pairs?

I don't agree with that law at all, for all the reasons other people have pointed out. Its irresponsible to expect a civilian to put themselves in potential danger.



posted on Sep, 12 2015 @ 08:36 PM
link   
I'm not sure what I'd do. At one time, I'd have jumped right in. In fact, there's a long, uninteresting story wherein I reverted to Sgt Tom the year after I ETSd, and the punchline was something like "Geez, I'm surprised you guys didn't shoot me" "I thought you were a COP!"

That said, these days, jumping in and helping might not be a good idea.

1) YOU don't enjoy the protection of FOP, the local judge and the local prosecutor.

While Officer Seamus can get away with flouting the law, you can't. I suspect that even if they tell you to do something, and you do it, when you get to court the fine officer will, if not caught on video for posterity, just lie his ass off and deny having told you to do something, if it ends up being questionable.

I don't trust the fine hero in blue and his support system not to toss me under the bus wheels the moment something ends up going south, legally. YOU, after all, are not behind the thin blue line. If it becomes expedient to sacrifice YOU, it'll happen.

2) If it's gone bad enough they're asking YOU to help, it's likely to be dangerous

While it's not a solid reason not to assist, you have to understand that it might not be like TV, if you've never been in a scrum.

3) You have a big bullseye painted on your back when the cavalry arrives

Along with #1, this is the one that gives me pause. When Seamus' buddies roar up, they're going to be all pumped up on adrenalin and anger, and not paying a lot of attention to what is going on.

So, what do you think is going to happen if you're giving him CPR, or trying to drag him away, or standing over him with a sidearm? Right. They're going to go into dogpack mode and it's adios muchacho, because that sort of behavior is trained into them. After the fact, you'll be discovered to have been a hardened criminal, or been reaching in your waistband, or acting aggressively, or whatever the excuse du jour is.

I've been to a number of civilian divisions of companies on contract, and part of the orientation is that if there's an 'active shooter' call, you are to lie down and not move, "because the local LEOs will just gun down anyone that's standing". I believe it, TBH.




top topics



 
6
<<   2 >>

log in

join