3 Occasions You Can Make a Citizen’s Arrest in MN
I saw a video recently of a citizen's arrest made in Alaska.
In the video -- which has gone viral -- a vehicle is seen driving erratically on a busy highway. For most of the video, other drivers avoid the vehicle. Towards the end, however, a large pickup truck pulls ahead of the erratic driver, forcing him to slow. Other vehicles pull up alongside and behind the vehicle, eventually forcing it to stop. Various drivers get out of their vehicles, approach the driver and find a drunk woman, who they essentially arrest as citizens until troopers arrive and arrest.
After watching the video, I realized while I'd heard of a citizen's arrest, I really knew nothing more about how or when one could be made.
According to Minnesota Statute 629.37 (2017), a citizen's arrest can be made on three occasions:
(1) for a public offense committed or attempted in the arresting person's presence;
(2) when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in the arresting person's presence; or
(3) when a felony has in fact been committed, and the arresting person has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.
A "public offense" is credited as "violations punishable by fine or imprisonment, including petty misdemeanors."
A friend who's a State Trooper once told me "Summer's when the stupid people come out." Let me clarify that I'm not endorsing making citizen's arrests. But I do think it's something I ought to be educated on as a privilege and responsibility. Of course, before considering or making any citizen's arrest, safety and consequences of all must be considered. It's a wonder the woman didn't actually hit any vehicles, including those of the drivers who boxed her in. In other situations, consideration must be made of any visible or potential weapons or threats, and an arrest should only be made it the citizen feels that they -- alone or with the help of others -- can confidently do so. Of course, do only what you must to control a situation until authorities can get involved. A WikiHow page on "How to Make a Citizen's Arrest" -- while not gospel -- offers some further advice and suggestions on the motives and act of making an arrest.
Have you ever made a citizen's arrest or known someone who has?