Oklahomans believe in justice so much that we can carry concealed weapons and shoot people anywhere we feel threatened. But don’t forget, for those tinhorns who don’t carry a gun or are a little squeamish about shooting someone, you can arrest folks too.
Johnson of Del City had just made a delivery to a Sonic Drive-In in south Oklahoma City when one of the employees told him his truck was leaving without him.
Johnson chased the truck down, wrestled a man out of the driver’s seat and, with the aid of two bystanders, made a citizen’s arrest.
What Johnson did is legal and has been endorsed by state law since 1910.
But that’s the old fashioned way. Today we have House Bill 2615, signed into law just this year.
The major provisions of House Bill 2615:
- authorize residents to use deadly force, if necessary, to defend themselves against attackers inside their homes or, in some cases, vehicles;
- declare an individual does not need to retreat from danger and “has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force … if force is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm or the commission of a forcible felony;”
- and provide immunity from criminal prosecution or civil action for using justifiable deadly force.
I would say car-jacking is a “forcible felony”. It seems to me that in most cases, it is easier to shoot someone than make a citizen’s arrest. Caveats for making a citizen’s arrest:
For a public offense committed or attempted in his presence.
When the person arrested has committed a felony although not in his presence.
When a felony has been in fact committed, and he has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.
It’s worth a try!
Oklahoma City’s police policy ensures that officers accept custody of suspects arrested by people. The policy says police must take the suspect unless the person is intoxicated, impaired by mental illness or is “obviously incompetent to exercise reasonable judgment.”
However, before all you discharged employees and spurned lovers get to thinking, there is one thing that kind of takes the fun out of making a citizen’s arrest:
A private person who has arrested another for the commission of a public offense, must, without unnecessary delay, take him before a magistrate or deliver him to a peace officer.
I wonder if they’ll let you bring handcuffs when visiting the State Capitol.
And finally, don’t overlook the obvious:
If you witness a crime, it is your civic duty to report the crime to the police.
When a crime is committed, you have the right and responsibility to make a “Citizen’s Arrest”.
Thus, if YOU commit a crime, it would be extremely helpful (and provide a savings of tax dollars) for you to perform a Citizen’s Self-Arrest.