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citizen's Arrest

    Sun, 2006-08-27 20:01 — jeff

    What is the proper procedure for holding a subject under the citizen’s arrest?
    I am not talking about any MMA technique such as “Arm Bar, or Choke Hold…etc”
    For example, let’s just say I witnessed a felony activity in the progress, such as a distruction of property or robbery ..etc. And I would like to arrest/detain the subject till the Police arrive. Am I allowed to put a hand cup on the subject? or is that breaking the Law? Also, what would happen to me legally, if I accidently break the subject’s arm or leg while trying to restrain the subject?

    KibunInc's picture

    Thanks for the question I get asked this often from store owners and securtiy persons. I will try to keep this as short as possible. We tend to use the common term citizens arrest (Referred to a as CA) but technically it is called a private persons arrest as you do not have to be a citizen of the United States to arrest a person.

    The first thing I would do is call the Police prior to making contact. Give the dispatcher the crime (Stealing, graffiti, etc), give the clothing description, age, height, etc. This way the Police are on the way and the amount of time you have to detain a subject is less.

    Now understand that most misdemeanors not committed in an Officer's presence require a CA form to be signed. This is not the case regarding a felony.

    Now when you go to contact the subject you can detain the him but you become responsible for any injuries you cause to the suspect. You also become liable for any false arrest.That is why the police make you sign a CA form stating you are placing the person under arrest for the crime and the Officer is taking custody of the suspect. If you are a store owner you can use handcuffs to detain a subject for you are in essence a security person for the store. Once again you take on all liabilty for the person you are detaining.

    If you are on the streets and decide to handcuff a person, I would say to find out your local laws regarding possession of handcuffs and detention of poeple. Each state has different laws regarding that. New York and LA have very strict laws where as Louisiana is not as strick. I feel that if you use force or handcuffs to detain a person on the street make sure of the crime and have the person arrested. If not you open yourself to a lawsuite and possible illegal detention.

    You ask regarding a felony in progress such as a robbery or destruction of property. To be a felony, the property destruction must be $400 or greater unless it is being done to a religious place (There are a few other places listed in the penal code). The robbery is simple, yes you can detain but do not get killed over it. If you chose to detain you can use force but you could become liable for injuries. Also make sure you do not go too far and seriously injure the suspect or you may be charged with a crime. for example if you stop a robbery in progress but you then beat the suspect and break his arm, ribs, etc, you will probably be charged with assualt.

    If possible it is best to be a good witness. Let the Police arrest the suspects. We get paid to do this and have a little more protection under the law.

    Thank you for question, if you have any other questions please fee free to ask.

    Kibun Inc :cool:

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