Discussion in 'LEO Talk' started by GunGasm, Aug 9, 2002.
Can someone tell me the proper method in Texas in executing a valid citizen's arrest?
Even attempting a citizen's arrest is setting your self up for a heap of legal troubles. If you aren't at least 110% right the arrestee can sue your butt off and win.
You can do a search on the internet for the Texas Statutes. Most states require that a citizens arrest be executed in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
Most states require that a citizens arrest be executed in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
then why bother???
With everyone having cell phones and the 911 system why would you put yourself in that situation.
The best advice would be, if you can use your cell phone and follow the person at a safe distance and wait for the police. Identify the perp and then let the trained professionals do their job.
Exactly the point.
I believe a high-pitched, Gomer Pyle-like: "Citizens arrest-citizens arrest" is still valid down in Mayberry.
BUT, I think that's just for minor traffic infractions...
Texas penal code states that ANY person May make a lawful arrest for a felony offense committed in their presence. But just because the law says you can, dosent mean that you wont find yourself being sued. It all depends on the situation that is unfolding in front of you. For example, if you see a person stealing a car (other than yours) you should call the police. However if you see a man trying to abduct a little girl then I doubt any court would argue your actions. You can also temporarily detain someone until the police arrive without actually "arresting" them.
I will tell you a story about an incident that happened to me in Houston about 15 years ago. My family and I were on our way to church on Sunday morning, and as I was driving down Aldine Mail Route, I witnessed a pickup truck pulling out of a Jack-in-the-Box and he crossed over the yellow line and sideswiped a car going in the other direction. He had pulled out way too wide, and it was obvious that he was impaired. When he hit the other car, he just kept on driving away, like he didn't even realize what he had done. It all happened right in front of me about fifty feet away.
I stopped just long enough to roll my window down and ask the people (who by this time were stopped in the gravel on the side of the road) if everyone was okay. They looked disoriented, but not injured, and they said they were okay. I took off after the guy, to see where he was going. I had no cell phone, so I just chased him. My wife just shook her head... she knew me and knew I wasn't going to let go of this. I noticed that he was weaving all over the road, and some of the cars coming from the opposite direction were literally having to pull off the road to keep from being hit. He turned into a subdivision and I stayed on his tail. He finally stopped in the middle of the street and got out, leaving the door to the truck open and the engine running. He walked up to a house and started banging on the door, and yelling. He was obviously high. I parked behind his truck and got out. I went to the truck and peered in... and then I turned off his ignition and kept his keys. I ran over to a house across the street and knocked on the door. A man's voice asked who I was and what I wanted. I told him to call the police and let them know that I had a hit-and-run driver outside.
By that time, the guy was already walking back to his truck, and he started cursing when he couldn't drive it. I walked up to him and kept my distance, and was wondering where the cops were. He started getting very "mouthy" with me and demanding I give him his keys back. I told him that the police were on their way, and I would give his keys to the police, and they could decide whether he should be driving or not. He came at me and was going to try to grab me, and I side-stepped him and grabbed him from behind, in a bear-hug. I slammed him on the hood of my car and grabbed his arm and twisted it up behind his back. He was so high he was feeling no pain whatsoever, and I swear I was afraid I was going to literally break his arm, because he kept squirming.
I asked my wife to hand me my handcuffs, which I had left over from my days as a reserve deputy, and kept in my glove box. I cuffed him and held him there leaning over my hood until the cops finally showed up. At that time, there was no CCW laws available in Texas, so I was not armed. The Sheriff's Deputy that arrived had just been on Aldine Mail Route with another unit to investigate the hit-and-run accident. I explained to him that I was a witness, and I offered him all of the information he needed. He took my statement, and than he felt obliged to tell me that I took unneccessary risks in detaining this man. I agreed with him that it could have been a dangerous situation, but I felt that I was in full control, and I didn't want to see the guy kill someone with his truck.
The Deputy kind of smiled, and looked around and said in a hushed voice, "You did good... thanks." That made my day. I felt like I made a difference. I would do it again today if the same thing happened. The main difference today is that many people are armed, legally or not, and I would be more cautious in how I approached the situation, and be ready to defend my life if necessary. But all in all, I think I did the right thing.
Funny, I never actually did the Gomer Pyle thing and say, "Citizen's arrest, citizen's arrest!" but it was an arrest either way... and it was appreciated.
I got your back,
Hi everyone! I talked with my friend Sarge who is the chief instructor at the Jefferson County Sherrif's Academy about "citizen's arrest." He said "DON'T DO IT!" There are too many laws favoring the bad guys for a citizen to get involved in what is very risky behavior. Sarge said it would have to be life thretening before he would make an arrest when off duty because of the same laws. He told me to call the cops and be prepared to be a good witness in court.
Cool story Cuj, great work!
Wrestlin' around might be a bit much for me, I'm a slightly-built guy(re: 5'8" of livin' caution), I'd probably be a weasle about it, snatch his keys and park down the block and watch him ransack his vehicle looking for them.
Remember the lesson of Peter Parker, the lad who had a chance to stop a robber and didn't.
With great power and all that...
In Texas you can perform a citizan's arrest for a fellony or a "breach of the puplic peace" if I remember the phrasing. The thing to remember about it is EVERY!! department is going to feel difrent about what that means and whether They think you are allowed to do so. Leagaly in Texas if you hold someone in any manner, physicaly, thru verbal threats, ect. You are either aressting them or unlawfully detaining them. The only exception is to prevent someone form harming themselves or others and then they must be released as soon as possible. If you meet the wrong cop you'll go to jail right or wrong. If you do do it, be sure never to use the word arrest. You also don't want to in any way sound like a wanbe. Don't tell them about your military service, that your used to work for that department, you are security (unless your on the clock), ect. If you say "I saw him do xxxxx, and I just wanted to stop him for the police you should be ok.
Very good info here, glad I brought it up.
I worked as a Loss Prevention agent for a large retail change in Socal for about two years. We made citizen's arrests every day with shoplifters. It was a canned process. We grab the BG, cuff him or her in the crook room, take picture, write arrest report on city letterhead/forms provided by cops, and wait for cops to arrive (sometimes two hours). One month I lead the office of 15 employees in arrests with like 25 or so. Btw, we had no firearms. Handcuffs, store badge, walkie talkie, and our common sense. I got in more fights on that job, saw more scummy people and decided not ot follow law enforcement as a result. But it was the funnest job a college kid could ask for.
Actually in TX...if you catch a scumbag doing a felony...its fair game!
Do you want to be the defining trial for/against Citizens Arrest in Texas though..and can you afford the lawyers?
More information...this from a lawyer
Article Citizen's Arrest, Criminal Defense Attorneys
No offense, but are you kidding me?!?!? In all but the most extreme cases you are better off to be a GOOD witness than trying to intervene!! That is the advice we get about being off duty! If it's a matter of life or death, by all means, do what you can. Think of it this way. Is what I'm about to do worth losing my life, being sued, or possibly endangering the lives of those with/around me? VERY, VERY few things are worth that. Sorry, but this thread has "wannabe" written all over it! If I'm wrong, I apologize. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...
BTW..Cujo, I seriously hope your "story" was just that..
Don't do it.
It is a sad state of affairs that our society has dropped to such a low point, that we'd not do the 'right thing' for fear of being sued or arrested.
Being a peace officer myself, I say don't do it. It's better to be a good witness than a dead witness.
1. You might/might not be armed. If you are, good. It gives you protection.
2. You aren't wearing a vest.
3. You don't have back up or an extra hand. I promise you if you ever get in a scuffle, you'll be surrounded by watchers, not helpers.
4. You don't know their capabilities or what they are carrying weapon wise.
5. Is it really worth it?
You have to think ahead. Are you going to put other people's safety in jeopardy? How will you detain them once controlled? Etc..
Just be smart about it if you feel 100% obligated. Helping out could just be calling 911.
Obviously it depends on the type of felony going on...
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