Petition to Gavin Newsom

Make Citizen’s Arrests Illegal in California


Make Citizen’s Arrests Illegal in California

19 Supporters

481 needed to reach 500

The Ahmaud Arbery case brought to light the dangers and inequity of citizen’s arrests. While jogging through his neighborhood, two white men suspected Arbery of burglary with little evidence except for the color of his skin. The men then murdered Arbery while attempting to perform a citizen’s arrest. Sadly, Arbery is far from the only one who has suffered this fate. Citizen’s arrests are still legal in many states, including California. The outdated law allows untrained individuals to arrest others for “public offenses,” California Penal Code section 837 states: 

“A private person may arrest another:

  1. For a public offense committed or attempted in his/her presence.
  2. When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his/her presence.
  3. When a felony has been in fact committed, and he or she has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.”
This law is far too broad because due to the growing size of police departments, law enforcement no longer needs public help to apprehend their suspects. Instead, the law unintentionally opens the door to harm based on biases, and has often been used as an excuse for the murder of people of color. It permits untrained individuals who may have an “agenda”, an ulterior motive, or explicit or implicit bias to apprehend people they suspect have committed crimes. As well as being outdated, the law provides no clear line between what can be considered a citizen’s arrest and what is an abduction.

The law should carve out a narrow exception for trained security officers, such as store security, or neighborhood security patrol, and only after they have been trained in topics related to bias, de-escalation techniques, and limits relating to the use of force, in order to minimize the potential for abuse.

By signing this petition, you will be demanding that citizen’s arrests be made illegal.  This will mean that unqualified and untrained people will be prohibited from making decisions that can endanger the lives of others under the protection of the law. 

Citations:

https://www.nytimes.com/article/ahmaud-arbery-citizen-arrest-law-georgia.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/08/us/ahmaud-arbery-mcmichael-arrests-friday/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/12/us/citizens-arrest-what-is-explained-trnd/index.html

https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/175619

July 30, 2020

Updates

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Stand Against Prejudice start this petition
1 year ago
19 Supporters
481 needed to reach 500
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