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News ::
Cops, Anarchists exchange views
21 May 2002
Modified: 09 Jul 2002
Festival Del Pueblo Video Journal
The following was part of the Festival Del Pueblo in
Boston.. This video describes the events after the
cracking of the Express window on Newbury St., as the
black bloc tried to get back on the sidewalk, in the
concluding "Convergence of Struggles" march on May
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the end is near
22 May 2002
WHAT!? Anarchists use only Microsoft's Windows Media Player??!!

can we have a RealPlayer version?


Not that near
22 May 2002
Anarchist spent over an hour trying to convert from .WMV to .AVI. You wana start the revolution, you convert the video and upload it as Real Video file.


23 May 2002
Why in the name of all that's decent did the damned thing even START OUT in a Windows format? If you don't put it there first, it won't be necessary to convert the damnable thing.
That's funny
23 May 2002
That video cracks me up!

Usually cops are yelling at us to stay on the sidewalk not in the street.
you are lucky in boston
24 May 2002

that situation is unimaginable in Seattle.

We would have gotten our ass beat if ANYTHING HAPPENED.

keep it going. :-)
Don't Hate the Cops. Be the Cops!
24 May 2002
In a genuine democracy, citizens run the governmment.

In order to SUSTAIN a democracy, citizens must be VIGILANT that other entities (such as BANKS and CORPORATIONS) don't STEAL the government from the citizens to whom it belongs.

When properly applied, the rules of our democracy, such as the Bill of Rights, provide lawful proceedures for preventing tyranny:

Citizens' Arrest

by David C. Grossack, Constitutional Attorney
Common Law Copyright 1994
All Rights Reserved

Not long ago the politically correct Boston Globe
noticed a "shocking" new trend. It seems as if some
citizens of Massachusetts were so fed up with crime
that they have begun to intervene in petty street
crime afflicting the streets of our cities. Thieves
and pickpockets in Massachusetts should exercise
caution in where and how they ply their craft as the
chances that vigilantes pummel them and drag them to
the nearest cop are definitely on an upswing.

While the Globe is shocked at this healthy trend,
students of the law should note that both a statutory
and common law basis for a certain degree of
"vigilante behavior" is well founded. Indeed, in an
era of lawlessness it is important that readers be
advised as to their lawful right to protect their
communities, loved ones and themselves by making
lawful citizens' arrests. The purpose of this essay is
to simply explain the law and the historical context
of the citizen's arrest.

First, what is an arrest?

We can thank Black's Law Dictionary for a good
definition: "The apprehending or detaining of a person
in order to be forthcoming to answer an alleged or
suspected crime." See Ex parte Sherwood, (29 Tex. App.
334, 15 S.W. 812).

Historically, in Anglo Saxon law in medieval England
citizen's arrests were an important part of community
law enforcement. Sheriffs encouraged and relied upon
active participation by able bodied persons in the
towns and villages of their jurisdiction.

From this legacy originated the concept of the posse
comitatus which is a part of the United States legal
tradition as well as the English. In medieval England,
the right of private persons to make arrests was
virtually identical to the right of a sheriff and
constable to do so. (See Inbau and Thompson, Criminal
Procedure, The Foundation Press, Mineola, NY 1974.

A strong argument can be made that the right to make a
citizen's arrest is a constitutionally protected right
under the Ninth Amendment as its impact includes the
individual's natural right to self preservation and
the defense of the others. Indeed, the laws of
citizens arrest appear to be predicated upon the
effectiveness of the Second Amendment. Simply put,
without firepower, people are less likely going to be
able to make a citizen's arrest.

A random sampling of the various states as well as the
District of Columbia indicates that a citizen's arrest
is valid when a public offense was committed in the
presence of the arresting private citizen or when the
arresting private citizen has a reasonable belief that
the suspect has committed a felony, whether or not in
the presence of the arresting citizen.

In the most crime ridden spot in the country, our
nation's capitol, District of Columbia Law 23- 582(b)
reads as follows:

(b) A private person may arrest another -

(1) who he has probable cause to believe is committing
in his presence -

(A) a felony, or

(B) an offense enumerated in section 23-581 (a)(2); or

(2) in aid of a law enforcement officer or special
policeman, or other person authorized by law to make
an arrest.

(c) Any person making an arrest pursuant to this
section shall deliver the person arrested to a law
enforcement officer without unreasonable delay. (July
29, 1970, 84 Stat. 630, Pub. L. 91-358, Title II,
210(a); 1973 Ed., 23-582; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law
7-104, 7(e), 35 DCR 147.)

In Tennessee, it has been held that a private citizen
has the right to arrest when a felony has been
committed and he has reasonable cause to believe that
the person arrested committed it. Reasonable grounds
will justify the arrest, whether the facts turn out to
be sufficient or not. (See Wilson v. State, 79 Tenn.
310 (1833).

Contrast this to Massachusetts law, which while
permitting a private person to arrest for a felony,
permits those acquitted of the felony charge to sue
the arresting person for false arrest or false
imprisonment. (See Commonwealth v. Harris, 11 Mass.
App. 165 (1981))

Kentucky law holds that a person witnessing a felony
must take affirmative steps to prevent it, if
possible. (See Gill v. Commonwealth, 235 KY 351

Indeed, Kentucky citizens are permitted to kill
fleeing felons while making a citizen's arrest
(Kentucky Criminal Code 37; S 43, 44.)

Utah law permits citizen's arrest, but explicitly
prohibits deadly force. (See Chapter 76-2-403.)

Making citizen's arrest maliciously or without
reasonable basis in belief could lead to civil or
criminal penalties. It would obviously be a violation
of a suspect's civil rights to use excessive force, to
torture, to hold in unsafe or cruel conditions or to
invent a reason to arrest for the ulterior motive of
settling a private score.

Civil lawsuits against department stores, police
departments, and even cult deprogrammers for false
imprisonment are legend. Anybody who makes a citizens
arrest should not use more force than is necessary,
should not delay in turning the suspect over to the
proper authorities, and should never mete out any
punishment ... unless willing to face the

As the ability of the powers that be to hold society
together and preserve law and order diminishes,
citizen's arrests will undoubtedly be more common as a
way to help communities cope with the wrongdoers in
out midst.

The author is an attorney in private practice in

Copyright 1994 Constitutional Business
Post Office Box 90
Hull, Massachusetts 02045
Tel. 617-925-5253
Fax 617-925-3906
All Rights Reserved

Limited License:

The right to publish this article off-line in print,
or via CD-ROM, floppy diskette, tape, laser disk, or
any other media, electronic or otherwise, can only be
granted by the author and must be in writing. Online
usage is unrestricted as long as this article,
including the byline, copyright notice, publisher's
address, and limited license, is published in its

See also:
Re: Don't Hate the Cops. Be the Cops!
04 Jun 2002
Re: Don't Hate the Cops. Be the Cops!
04 Jun 2002
But what we need to do is arrest cops
05 Jun 2002
"Eat shit" - gee you're fucking lucid. That criticism helped me a whole lot.

Dear Mr. Lawyer --
What's the law on making a citizen's arrest of a cop, when they're the one committing the crime? A concerned citizen wants to know.
lawyers are half the problem
09 Jul 2002
Modified: 25 Feb 2003
Lawyer can orate to someone that wants to listen....shit you already made the decision to fuck people for a living...spent long hours in school studying how to do it too...bottom line...your proffession creates wack laws that over time need more and more cops to to hell with "this is breaking the law" and cannot separate yourself from are them.