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Old February 2, 2009, 02:22 PM   #1
Corpsman
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Let them run, or hold them.

I am sure this is going to cause an out cry of controversey. If you have to pull your weapon, is it better to try and detain the person or let them go. this is based on the assumption that no shots are fired and the situation is able to be de-escalated. Also, are there any laws against an everday citizen holding a person while waiting for authorities to arrive?
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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For me, drawing my gun is an act of self-preservation, and not law enforcement. Detaining a suspect/criminal, even in the event of a home invasion creates a whole list of fun and dangerous things that can happen while you're waiting on Officer Friendly to show up.

Again, YMMV, but if I draw and the Master Criminal decides that discretion is the better part of valor, than I'll let him go - I'm still going to call the cops and give his description to the best of my ability; but I'm not going to expose myself to undue risk by trying to hold someone prisoner without the aide of 1) backup, and 2) handcuffs. I don't get paid to do that any more.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
I am sure this is going to cause an out cry of controversey. If you have to pull your weapon, is it better to try and detain the person or let them go. this is based on the assumption that no shots are fired and the situation is able to be de-escalated. Also, are there any laws against an everday citizen holding a person while waiting for authorities to arrive?
How are you going to hold them? Threaten to shoot them? In most states, you can only use deadly force if you, or another innocent, is in immediate danger of death or grave bodily injury. If the person is no longer a threat to you (i.e., is running away), then shooting them would be illegal, with a penalty up to life in prison.

Trying to physically subdue the perp engages you in a wrestling match. And now the perp knows that you have a gun, so you've just put that gun within his reach. Not a good plan.

If the perp runs away, let him go. Don't try to stop him. Your goal is to defend yourself and your loved ones. If you've done that, then you've accomplished your goal.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:47 PM   #4
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In some places you'd be charged with kidnapping, regardless of whether or not the use or presentation of your weapon was initially justified.


BUT, if they're willing to stand there, I'm going to take a picture, literally, and then tell them to scram.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:49 PM   #5
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if I have to draw my weapon I'm going to try and detain them for the cops, if I can do so somewhat safely. I'd rather have them learn that crime doesn't pay rather than them get a weapon of their own to use on the next person.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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I guess I am mainly concerned with the legaL aspect of it. Is it against the law (i.e. kidnapping, detention, etc). I agree with BigHoss that I would rather them learn a lesson from it if at all posible rather than be free to commit another crime, this time better prepared with graver consequenses.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:56 PM   #7
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This is not something that has a "one size fits all" answer.

Random mugger sees you are armed and flees as fast as he can is one thing, however a home invasion robber who turns away from you might still present a threat to others in the house.

Things get complicated fast.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:58 PM   #8
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I am authorized to draw (and possibly use) my weapon ONLY to defend my "life or severe bodily injury". In class, we were taught to shoot until "the threat is negated". If the guy takes one look at my weapon and books like Jessie Owens, I have NO authority to attempt to hold him. What would I do, shoot him? If I shoot someone attempting to FLEE, I'm in deep ca-ca.

If he runs, let him go and give the police a GOOD description. Even if he's shot at you - if you haven't put him on the ground - when he flees, he's no longer a threat.
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Old February 2, 2009, 02:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
If you have to pull your weapon, is it better to try and detain the person or let them go. this is based on the assumption that no shots are fired and the situation is able to be de-escalated.
M1911, Keltyke, and peetzakilla have nailed it. I'll add that there is also the risk of civil liability.

Quote:
Also, are there any laws against an everday citizen holding a person while waiting for authorities to arrive?
Actually, there are laws that permit a citizen to do so under specific circumstances. In all states but one, that involves citizen's arrest.

Usually, a felony must have been committed or attempted.

And don't assume that deadly force is ever justified.

If you have one perp, how would you hold him alone? What if there were two or more?

If one attempts this without knowing exactly knowing what he or she is doing, there can be hell to pay, as has been pointed out. And the citizen is not indemnified in the same manner as a peace officer.

Shorter answer: BAD IDEA.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:08 PM   #10
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First: Check you state laws regarding citizens arrest. Pay particular attention to the level of force allowed, and under what circumstances.

Second: Once you understand that, the issues of prudence, tactics, risk, ability, liability, etc come into play, with each instance likely being unique unto itself.

---

That said, assuming you have done your homework and find yourself in a scenario such as you describe, my generic advise is to hold the person at gun point until police arrive. Issue basic, simple commands as necessary; i.e. "don't move" and "keep your hands where I can see them." Maintain available distance and cover. If the bad guy flees, let him flee.

Some will take exception to the term "hold the person at gunpoint." Fair enough. I use it to denote the portion of the encounter where a gun in hand produces the cessation of action on the bad guy's part. It ends when either the police arrive or the bad guy flees; or of course you are forced to shoot him, something outside your scenario.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:13 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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In case anybody cares Here is the law regarding such in NY. There is also a secondary law allowing force to be used to prevent a trespasser from leaving OR in forcing them to leave. It's interesting that detaining or forced eviction are both acceptable.

Article 35.30(4)
4. A private person acting on his or her own account may use physical
force
, other than deadly physical force, upon another person when and to
the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to
effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of a person whom
he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense and who in
fact has committed such offense; and may use deadly physical force for
such purpose when
he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to:
(a) Defend himself, herself or a third person from what he or she
reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical
force; or
(b) Effect the arrest of a person who has committed murder,
manslaughter in the first degree, robbery, forcible rape or forcible
criminal sexual act and who is in immediate flight therefrom.


I am attempting to essentially memorize the NY physical force laws. I thinks it's advisable for anyone who carries a gun to do the same. It could be argued that it is advisable whether you carry a gun or not. Most of the time deadly force is simply a sub-set of the law regarding use of force on ANY level.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 2, 2009 at 03:21 PM.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:18 PM   #12
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I am going to have to look into the laws in Florida
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:26 PM   #13
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While I can envision only two places that I would find myself in such a situation, in my home and out in the world somewhere, both places would have very different responses.

If someone takes the liberty of invading my home, I will do my best to have them sitting on their hands until authorities come to take them away.

Why the difference? Because in the first location/my home, they have breached my security including dogs, targeted me or my home, and by the time they would have gotten to me (short of breaking out a window - closest ones being behind me) do not have a quick exit. Even if they were not armed to begin with, they would have access to kitchen knives, tools in garage, etc... with which to arm themselves if I let them go. And I don't want them coming back.

Anyone this determined to continue forward into my home, after dealing with security/deterrents, including verbal challenges, is obviously a threat to me and needs to be taken away by LE.

On the street someone asking for change and then attempting to rob me, I believe has a different motivation. Also, has an easy quick exit.

While both can end in bodily harm or death to me, very different motivations. My response would likely be the same initially for either location, it would be if I had any control after the initial conflict where location becomes a factor.

I would say that if the motivation appears to me to be personal, then they may just need to go away with LE. Why, because I don't want a highly motivated criminal who has targeted me coming back in three days or a week. And this person has already shown disregard for common sense and human life by continuing forward into my home despite obvious layers of barriers to dissuade entry.

I would agree that the street thug, can be just as dangerous to the general population and needs a ride with LE also.

I would attempt to make a "citizens arrest" in either location; but not at the risk of myself or other innocents. Police can chase down the BG.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:35 PM   #14
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Infor on Washington State

Posted from the Seattle PI Newspaper

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/s...ves/158118.asp


Q: Can people really make a citizen's arrest, or is that an urban legend?

A: People can make a citizen's arrest, but it's not encouraged because of the risk of injury or litigation.

"A citizen may arrest another person for a crime committed or attempted," Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said. "But you must have probable cause to believe the person did the crime."

There are several dangers with performing a citizen's arrest.

How do you restrain someone you've apprehended? How do you call for help once you've done so? Is it clear to the person you're arresting that you're making a citizen's arrest and not assaulting them? And if the suspect becomes violent, how will you protect yourself?

Police operate under what officers call the color of law. Patrol officers have a uniform and car. Detectives still carry a badge and identification card.

Officers go through hours of training, wear bulletproof vests and are armed. Even if a citizen does have some of those three components, officers at several departments believe things will be more difficult for someone who is not a sworn member of a police force.

"We appreciate people's good intentions, but we'd rather you be a good witness," Kappel said. "Walk us to the problem, and we'll take care of it."
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:42 PM   #15
tirod
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This all hinges on why you didn't pull the trigger when YOU presented deadly force to oppose HIS.

While the pistol waving crowd is pretty good at stopping the small time, non-violent offender, I have to ask, where was lethal force justified? And if lethal force is justified, then detaining them will depend on the severity of the wounds. If they are determined to leave, let them.

The average CCW or homeowner is not trained or equipped to detain or arrest. I don't remember that part of the CCW course I took - they never mentioned it.
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Old February 2, 2009, 03:44 PM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
And if lethal force is justified, then detaining them will depend on the severity of the wounds. If they are determined to leave, let them.
There are times when the THREAT of deadly force is legal even when actual use of deadly force is not. There are also times when deadly force may be technically legal and a weapon is presented with no intention of firing it unless the BG escalates the situation farther. Armed robbery where the BG has a knife but is on the other side of the counter is one example.
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:00 PM   #17
tirod
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If inside inside the homeowners domicile, deadly force can be can be used against them, especially under Castle state laws.

Again, the homeowner or CCW is not trained to detain. They are schooled to resist deadly force and call 911.

A police officer has to act in the interest of the alleged perpetrator's rights, but the homeowner doesn't. If an intruder is in the house - identify them accurately, order them to leave immediately, and shoot them if they don't.

It's really a clear bright line situation if the perp is inside. Don't complicate it with maybe's and what-if's. All those semi-innocent situations are not the majority, and many intruder's are negligent - knowingly under the influence.

Yes, it's important to understand your local jurisdiction's interpretation, but we're not going to list the variations of 50 states, thousands of counties, and hundreds of thousands of municipalities. What they commonly boil down to - in general - is shoot the intruder. Don't detain.

Your Municipality May Vary.
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
It's really a clear bright line situation if the perp is inside. Don't complicate it with maybe's and what-if's. All those semi-innocent situations are not the majority, and many intruder's are negligent - knowingly under the influence.
It is these very "maybe's and what-if's" that we need to be aware of.

Years ago a relative of mine almost shot a man who had climbed in one of his home's windows in the wee hours of the night. It was dark and my relative challenged the man to stop and identify himself. It turned out that it was his next door neighbor/a good friend, drunk, entering into what he thought was his home after his key did not work on what he thought was his front door. He found the open window, summertime, and just thought that he was letting himself into his own house.

Whenever possible, I personally believe in a verbal challenge. Also, depending on the proximity of the person a visual search for the presence of weapon and or aggression. I also have deaf relatives, so I also keep that in mind.

If someone breaks into my home, I am going to be "bunkered down" already dialed 911, verbally challenged them and will wait and see what happens.
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Old February 2, 2009, 04:41 PM   #19
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I once detained someone burgling cars at night, I had just left the house to go get dinner with my wife, heard breaking glass and saw the guy. I retrieved an AR-15 from the house and interdicted the guy as he had himself inside someone's car working on the radio. At this point I learned the old Clintism, "A man has got to know his limitations." The guy took orders well, I lead him back across the street to a spot in front of my house on the corner of the main and side street so I wouldn't have to stand in traffic and also to talk to the cops from the comfort of my own property. The guy was fine with that, probably would have stood there until the cops came. Then I told him to lie down on the ground, and that was a sticking point. He didn't want to, and said "What you gonna do, shoot me?" Then looked at me and walked off. Bluff called, I had a gun but with no hostile action on his part there was no cause or desire to shoot him.

Like the old jokes "and that's when the fight started..." it was on. I didn't like this turn of events and I wanted him in a cop car due to my irritation with previous similar crimes and being "in the moment." I trailed him down the street, about 70 yards from the house and unseen to him I safed the rifle to include removing the mag/chambered round and then ditched it. (Good part of the plan.)

I then pursued him a little more aggressively and tackled him. (Bad part of the plan.) With enough speed in the tackle we rolled several times ending with him on top, no real danger to me but he was able to struggle out of his coat and beat feet. I could have re-engaged but opted to stay close to rifle and wife, picked up the gun, talked to the cops when they came, then went to dinner. All's well that ends well, could have been much worse.

These days, if they want to walk away and I'm not letting a killer or rapist go, they're walking, I'll talk to the cops.
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Old February 2, 2009, 05:03 PM   #20
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One other thing to be considered here is "if" you do detain someone and take them into custody, once they are detained (handcuffs, cable ties, rope or whatever) you become responsible for their safety from that point forward till police arrive. Once someone is incapable of protecting themselves the one detaining them IS.
This means that if you’re in a public forum and others can get to your prisoner then it’s up to you to stop any threat to your prisoner since they are incapable of defending themselves.
No matter your personal opinion of the subject, it’s up to you to protect them.
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Old February 2, 2009, 05:11 PM   #21
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Depends on the situation.
If I have them covered and feel there I am no longer in danger while I call 911, I will detain them. If I am safer to escort them out of my Castle, or they have already turned tail, I will provide LE with as many details as I can.
And if I have to go to court for unlawful detention, my argument will be that my life was in danger if I let them go.
The whole judged by 12 or carried by 6 thing...
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Old February 2, 2009, 08:35 PM   #22
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What you can legally do to hold someone will depend on the exact circumstances and the law in your jurisdiction.

If I ever find myself in that situation, if the BG chooses to stay, he may. If he decides to go for a stroll, he's welcome to do so.
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Old February 3, 2009, 08:29 AM   #23
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In this area of the world you can use deadly force to protect yourself (or others under limited circumstances) from death or serious bodily harm. Without arrest powers I wouldn't even think of trying to detain somebody, probably be arrested for kidnapping or some such thing.

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Old February 3, 2009, 09:33 AM   #24
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Good posts----The only thing I can add is be a GREAT witness, the more precise you are in descriptions the better off you will be at any future court proccedings. I would advise to jot thing down even prior to calling 911 when the main thrust should be theFEAR FOR YOUR LIFE YOU FELT due to the actions of the BG especially on TAPED 911 line.
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Old February 3, 2009, 11:45 AM   #25
hogdogs
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HOLD 'EM!!! In florida you can hold a person in the commission of a "violent felony" which I am positive is any case where I could feel my life and safety were at risk. I am legally allowed to use any level of force to hold the suspect. when they initially submit I will block the exit and if they try to flee they are coming at me thus lethal force to protect myself may be used and it is not shooting a fleeing BG...
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