Saturday, August 4, 2012

Not helping the police arrest someone

Most of us like to think that when the need arises, we would step forward and do what we can to stop the bad guys. But did you know that if you don't, you can get two months in jail?

Refusing to Aid an Officer is a law that takes slightly different forms, but the theme is common in almost every state: If a cop tells you to help apprehend a suspect, you have to do it. You can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor if you don't. The exception is a vague clause in the laws that says that you don't have to aid an officer if you have a "reasonable" justification to not do so.

This law is rarely enforced - I suspect most officers want the general public to keep its distance during an arrest - but it does happen. The most publicized case was in New York City last year, when an unarmed security guard claimed that she was roughly handled when NYPD officers arrested her for not helping them.

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