Putting someone under Citizen's Arrest, is it the right thing to - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Putting someone under Citizen's Arrest, is it the right thing to do?

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BOZEMAN -

This video went viral just a couple of days ago.  It’s a video of a man yelling at someone saying he is placing them under a citizen’s arrest. What is a citizen’s arrest and is this the proper way to do it?

Sgt. Travis Munter with Bozeman PD said that under Montana state law an arrest can be made by a private person, but it’s something that he says should be left to the police.

According to Montana State Law, a private person may arrest another when there is a probable cause to believe that the person is committing or has committed an offense  and the existing circumstances require the person’s immediate arrest. However, Sgt. Munter says that probable cause is key. If you are the person detaining someone and you do not have probable cause, then you could be in a lot of trouble. Sgt. Munter says there are plenty of other ways you can be involved without placing someone under citizen’s arrest.

Sgt. Mounter said, “Just make themselves the best witness, and stay on the scene. If they observe something, call us and let us know. It really puts each individual member, the public at risk of injury, I mean you try to arrest somebody and they fight back, you could injured, you could injure them, you could be civilly liable.

Another thing to note, Montana State Law also allows temporary detention by merchant, which means that a store can detain someone if they have reason to believe the person is stealing. 

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