"Soldiers Arrest Civilians in Homestead"

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by LineInTheSand, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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  2. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    But they didn't arrest them according to this. They essentially acted like any citizen is authorized to do and detained them until the Miami police came and then handed them over to the Miami police department. It's pushing the spirit of the law but it's not in itself a vioation of posse comitatus.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I agree. Any citizen has the authority to detain someone in the act of committing a crime. Being these are military police, simply means that the offender probably was less apt to "Resisting". 'military police are armed".

    This type of detaining, even with civilians, has always been a sticky situation.

    1. What if the person you are detaining because you believe they committed a crime, is actually innocent. Can they sue?
    2. What if the person you are detaining decides they aren't going to "Stay detained". The only thing a civilian can do, and legally the military police, is to say: "You committed a crime. I'm calling the police. You STAY RIGHT THERE". If the person being detained says: "Screw you, I'm leaving"; what are your options. Armed military police and/or armed civilians can NOT brandish their weapon on a potential criminal, unless they feel their life is IMMEDIATELY being threatened. In other words, if the detainee says: "Screw you, I'm leaving", you can't pull a gun on them.

    So i never really understood the whole "Citizen arrest" thing. If the bad guy is presenting an immediate threat to you or someone else, and you feel pulling out your gun and shooting them is the only recourse to saving a life, then that is ok. But just because you caught a vandal, shop lifter, or even a mugging without a weapon and STOPPED the offense; it doesn't mean you can hold them there at gun point. You can't tackle them if they decide to not cooperate and wait for the police. All you can do is follow the person while staying on the phone with police. If they get in a car, get the license number. And hope the individual is indeed guilty.
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    Lol, I can't help laughing, but every time I hear those words I see this in my mind:

    http://youtu.be/9efgLHgsBmM

    :biggrin:
     
  5. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Would be a pretty easy case.... did the individual feel like they were in custody? Let's see...uniformed officer. Check. Carry gun. check. Not able to leave. Check. A reasonable person would believe they were under arrest.


    Hardly a "citizen's arrest."


    I don't think they article was well written, and the radio show I listened to was horrible, but I do they they were abusing their power. You also don't really want MPs or AF security forces throwing down with civilians... STAY ON BASE! Want to be a cop? Join the police.


    The radio show did annoy me however.
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The "not able to leave" part is the question. Military police are not allowed to arrest off of federal military property. Civilians can't actually arrest at all either. They can say u r under arrest, but they cant actually physically restrain you. If the suspect simply said: yea, right, screw you; and they started leaving, you can't pull out your gun and shoot them if they refuse to stay put. You can't tackle them down either.

    The only thing the military police has going for them is the suspect's ignorance. Believing the military police actually had some legal authority. And the chance that a military police had a weapon off of the installation is also pretty slim.

    Now; if Airmen ARE armed, and allowed to ARREST civilians off of the installation, then there is definitely a problem.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    It doesn't matter if they are actually arrested, it matters what a "Reasonable person" would believe. Would a reasonable person believe that a uniformed, armed U.S. official has the power to hold them? Sure!

    If I do something wrong and a uniformed police officer says "you're in trouble". I of course assume I am. Even if that uniformed police officer is not in his jurisdiction. I wouldn't just "run off" to test him.

    Also, from the tone, it sounds like they didn't just happen upon something doing something wrong, but were called in, more than once.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Not arguing with you LITS. Simply saying that a "Real Criminal" is not going to think like you are right now. You are thinking like a law abiding citizen. So yes, if a military policeman was "Detaining" a vandal, shoplifter, pot smoker, etc... (Basically a crime not intent on harming someone), then chances are that the perpetrator would probably stay "Detained". If it was a mugging, rape, armed robbery, etc... where the individual contemplated the consequences of "Getting Caught", then there is a very good chance that the perpetrator is going to take off running. And the military policeman or civilian recognizing it, is NOT going to be pulling out their weapon and going in "Hot Pursuit".

    At least that is what I HOPE they aren't allowing military police to do off of a military installation. That is when I'd have a MAJOR PROBLEM. Military police are not and should not have that type of authority.
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I think we need to think about the people who are detained by U.S. military on U.S. soil who did nothing wrong. Most people won't think like I am in the heat of the situation. I can imagine someone just walking away from a cop who DOES have jurisdiction...just to be pepper sprayed.

    Also, we have to consider many of these service members have no training to interact in that way with the general public. MPs on a base tend to approach the job a little differently than the state police. Their job is on base, not the Circle K down the street.
     
  10. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    It depends on the state. In California a citizen may use whatever force is reasonable to both stop a crime from happening and detain someone who has committed a crime in their presence until law enforcement arrives.

    Granted, what is allowed and how it will actually play out are two different.

    I personally don't have a problem with the military policing in a civilian environment. However, the military approaches law enforcement much differently than their civilian counterparts and I see that as being problematic.

    In the situation described though, if the security forces guys were called, and the situation were serious enough, and they were closer or it would be in the interest of life preservation I don't see any reason why they can't send some of their guys to deflate the situation until civilian law enforcement arrives.

    It's a simple courtesy. There are times even in the civilian world where one department will have jurisdiction and another department will occasionally respond to their calls because the handling department is busy, doesn't have the resources, are much farther away, etc.

    SOURCE: I worked in LE for 3 years.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    An what capacity did you work in LE?

    Also, probably important to remind people that the military is forbidden by law from acting as a domestic police force. Perhaps a civilian should have "arrested" the airmen.

    Those airman are in no way qualified to act in this way on the street on a FL town, no likely educated in the FL state law (because they certainly aren't enforcing federal law).
     
  12. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    In Texas a person can arrest without a warrant for the following offenses committed in his presence, a felony, theft or breach of the peace. In Florida a person can make an arrest without a warrant for a felony or a breach of the peace which may include violence. Both states have Good Samaritan Laws but they are geared toward protecting parties who stop to render aid.

    I would be exercising caution if I were a military policeman, in uniform and carrying a weapon outside of my jurisdiction. If a bad guy sees them and runs or fights the officers involvement could escalate the situation and that may expose him to civil penalties. If he gets hurt off base attempting to enforce a state law who will protect him? Meaning - does the MP know what constitutes a felony or breach of the peace? I would be very careful.
     
  13. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    I got the opportunity to work 30-50 hours a week at my local sheriff's station during high school. I also got to go out on patrol with them in a semi-official capacity for 2-4 eight hour shifts a week. Part of the reason I'm aware of citizen arrest laws is because the laws regarding it (and CA Posse Comitatus laws in general) were part of the legal justification for myself and my partners being allowed to do as much as we did in a semi-official capacity.


    Most definitely. I realize that the airmen had no real legal authority to do what they did. But practically speaking, it may have been justifiable for them to do what they did.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Also JMC.....does the local law enforcement know who's "carrying the gun"?

    Also, if it escalates, are they operating on the same frequency? Are they able to communicate.

    If they're carrying their weapon, especially in uniform, they may not LEGALLY enforce state/federal law. Sorry. If they wanted to, there are MANY agencies that would allow them to.
     
  15. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    If you are acting under color of your office outside of your jurisidiction at the request of a neighboring agency (municipalities) your department better have a mutual aid agreement in writing to protect you if the fur begins to fly. Most fire departments respond mutual aid to large fires.
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Sounds like an "ends justify the means" argument. I can't agree that enforcing a state law justifies breaking a federal law (or any law).
     
  17. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    Again, it depends on the state. In California every law enforcement agent is certified by the state through CA POST (obviously this does not include federal). Therefore the jurisdiction for any police officer or deputy sheriff is the entire state (interestingly enough this also extends 50 miles into Nevada and Arizona). No agreement is necessary for enforcement of laws.



    I'm not saying it should be done for routine enforcement of laws. However, if a person's life is in danger and the only resource is the military, then should anyone expect the military to say "Sorry, I know I could save your life, but I'm not allowed to do so in the capacity you're asking me to."? I certainly wouldn't.

    For me personally, it wouldn't even require that someones life be in direct or immanent danger. If a military presence can offer a semblance of law enforcement and deflate a situation that could potentially result in loss of life or serious injury then I would be for it.

    Then again, I'm biased as I'm not against the military being used for law enforcement and don't necessarily agree with the Posse Commitatus Act.

    Perhaps this particular scenario is not one where I'd agree that the airmen did the right thing, but I can certainly think of places where the issue would be something to consider.

    For instance, I-5 in California runs close enough to Camp Pendleton that it is extremely likely that the Marine MPs there would be able to respond faster and with greater resources to a situation on the highway. With the highway patrol having a 10-15 minute ETA for a life-threatening call and the MPs having a 4-5 minute ETA I think the MPs should be a resource is that is used if the situation warrants it.
     
  18. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

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    LITS - good question. Our portable radios are programmed to pick up most agencies in the county. There is a Joint Reserve Base here and they are not on our radios. That is bad news if the MP's are chasing someone and can't talk to you and can't call for help.

    As long as I see a uniform while someone is carrying a gun the warning lights in my brain will go from red to flashing yellow, especially if the guy is someone I don't know. Something that may constitute a felony on a military reservation may not be a felony off of it.

    I have served warrants for desertion with MP's and their
    operating procedure was way different than mine - example - forcing entry to make an arrest.

    The officers were very professional and well-trained. We have cross-trained with them and use their range from time to time.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Could be that their radios are "secure". If they're on a channel, all you hear is static. Also, as we saw in Norway, a uniform and a gun is not a 100% correct indication that person should be there. Random uniform, armed somewhere you don't often see it.....reason to turn some heads.
     
  20. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Camp Pendelton is huge, They lose their own people on base there. I would hate to be the guy who says "Ma'am, I'm sorry we sent your son into a situation in which he had no local knowledge or communications and he was shot by authorities."

    Like sending a SEAL to do a boarding of a recreational vessel...not needed, not the proper training or approach to be used on a civilian U.S. population.

    Frankly, as much as I like the military, I don't need the military knocking on my door at my house, within the borders of this country. Stay on base or join a real police department.
     

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