California Passes New Law Authorizing Citizens To Refuse To Help Police
As of Tuesday, it is now California state law that a citizen can refuse the request of a law enforcement officer who asks for assistance during an arrest. Previously, it was a misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $1,000, for refusing to help a police officer who requested assistance. The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for assistance in making an arrest.
The California State Sheriff’s Association decried the repeal of the previous law in a statement:
“There are situations in which a peace officer might look to private persons for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”
The Hill reports:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on Tuesday striking down a dated law that made it a crime to refuse a police officer’s request for help.
The law Newsom struck down Tuesday dated back to 1872 and made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for assistance in making an arrest, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 was used in the country’s early days, notably as a means of enforcement to help catch runaway slaves.
The bill Newsom signed into law is sponsored by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D), who called the outdated requirement “a vestige of a bygone era” that subjects citizens to “an untenable moral dilemma.”
Hertzberg’s bill was opposed by the California State Sheriff’s Association, which argued that “there are situations in which a peace officer might look to private persons for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”
Newsom did not issue a statement when signing the bill into law.
Newsome also signed into law, HB 392, a bill designed to limit when a law enforcement officer can use deadly force.The bill changed the standard from one based on a “reasonable belief” that the officer or another person is in imminent danger to one that requires police officers to use deadly force only when necessary.
The laws that had been previously governing officers’ use of deadly force in California had also dated back to 1872.
California is tying the hands of it’s police officers and the results will be deadly. An officer needs to be able to act decisively. For police officers who fail to meet the “necessary” standard, their punishment can come from multiple sources, whether it’s getting fired, getting sued in civil court, or being criminally prosecuted.
The problem is that once the ramifications are clear, it will be too late.
There are definitely a few bad apples in Law enforcement, but it is rare. The huge majority are fine and brave men and women putting their own lives on the line to protect the citizens. When that ability is hampered, only the citizens lose.
This is a sad day for California.