reply to post by alaskan
This article from wikipedia shows many aspects of citizens arrest worldwide:
In the example you posted, unless you are familiar with the criminal laws in your jurisdiction such as from being a criminal lawyer, judge, court
official, or current or former law enforcement officer, how do you know that the act (assault) posted as an example would be considered a felony and
not a misdemeanor? If you called it wrong as a citizen, you could be facing unbelievable liability exposure, both criminally and from a civil
"Each state, with the exception of North Carolina, permits citizen arrests if the commission of a felony is witnessed by the arresting citizen, or
when a citizen is asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect by police. The application of state laws varies widely with respect to
misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party. American citizens do not carry the authority or enjoy the
legal protections held by police officers, and are held to the principle of strict liability before the courts of civil- and criminal law including
but not limited to any infringement of another's rights."
Since average citizens are not familiar with the laws, I am in agreement with some of the other posters who recommended contacting the superiors of
the officer if you believe an illegal act was committed, after the fact vs. trying to arrest an officer on the scene.
Each law enforcement organization in the United States has levels of authority above them. For example here in Texas, we have the Texas Rangers who
are employees of the State of Texas, not the local jurisdictions of cities or counties. They routinely investigate allegations, and on some occasions
determine that the officer acted wrongly, and refer the matter to the district attorney for prosecution. If for example the Rangers failed to
investigate the matter, the FBI could always be contacted. After that your Congressman. If all of those avenues failed, there is always the
possibility of filing a civil suit for injuries and/or damages, and letting a jury decide if you were right or wrong.
Bottom line is that there is a line between what you could do, and what you should do. Short of witnessing an officer raping a small child for
example, (how likely is that to happen?) use your head and not your emotions, before deciding to arrest an officer thru use of your citizens arrest
[edit on 11-7-2010 by manta78]