Can A Citizen Arrest A Police Officer: The Shocking Fact

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Can A Citizen Arrest A Police Officer

Can a citizen arrest a police officer? This question will appeal to many citizens, especially those who have had several dealings with the police. 

The police have a duty to protect lives and properties. They also have the power to patrol neighborhoods, control traffic, and make arrests. 

But what if the table is flipped? Does a citizen have the legal right to arrest a police officer in uniform and on duty? What we discovered will shock you, so keep reading. 

Can A Citizen Arrest A Police Officer

Yes, you can. A citizen’s arrest is lawful in some states and involves a private citizen arresting another for an unlawful act. You’re not a sworn law enforcement agent, but you are acting in a similar capacity. 

So, yes, you can arrest a police officer as a private citizen. Should you try this? Keep reading as we throw more tips into the ring to help you make an informed decision. 

Is It Proper For A Citizen To Arrest A Police Officer?

The first thing is the law remains the same. It doesn’t change because an officer is wearing a uniform. It also doesn’t change because it’s a high-ranking police officer that’s involved. 

If someone breaks the law, you’re within your rights as a citizen of this great control to call them to order. You can also make a citizen’s arrest. 

Is it advisable or proper to arrest a police officer as a private citizen? Here is what you should have in mind. 

You can arrest a police officer if you feel the person violated the law or committed a serious crime. You can contact another officer while waiting. 

A Handy Tip: When arresting an office, rule out the use of force. Again, have enough evidence to prove that the police you’re arresting committed the offense.  

Is It Dangerous For A Citizen To Arrest An Armed Police Officer?

Yes, it is, and for two reasons. The first reason is that the police officer could use his weapon on you and claim he was protecting himself.

Unless you have enough evidence to prove that the officer committed a crime and you were only trying to make an arrest, the officer will be let off the hook. 

Your evidence should be strong enough to swing the pendulum of the law in your favor. It should show clearly that the officer committed a serious crime and that you were trying to arrest him or her. 

Another thing is the manhandling of the office which may result from you trying to make the arrest. If you don’t have enough evidence to prove that you were indeed trying to arrest the cop, you could land in big trouble. 

The police could charge you for assaulting one of their officers. You could face charges for battery, kidnapping, assault, and other severe offenses against an officer of the law. 

In summary, arresting a police officer for a crime you believe he or she committed can be lethal. You could get shot and not live to tell your side of the story. Another reason is the law may not be on your side unless you have strong evidence. 

In a nutshell, don’t let anything push you to arrest an officer of the law. You could be in trouble when the case finally lands in the police station or law court. 

A Handy Tip: Instead of you arresting a police officer, or a fellow citizen, as a private citizen, be a good witness instead. You’ll contribute massively as a good witness than actually conducting the arrest. 

What we’re literally saying is that you shouldn’t play the hero. Don’t try to arrest an officer of the law. 

The difference between an arrest conducted by a police officer and a private citizen is this. You don’t have to commit a crime in the presence of the police to get arrested. They’ll arrest you if they feel you have committed a crime. 

The case is different for private citizens. You can only arrest someone when you catch the person in the act and have enough evidence to nail them. 

When A Citizen Can Make An Arrest

It’s essential to learn about the law on citizen arrest in your area before arresting anyone. Most states might be against citizen’s arrest considering the risk involved. 

However, private citizens have the legal backing to initiate an arrest if:

  •         The suspect committed a felony.
  •         The suspect is committing a crime such as a breach-of-the-peace misdemeanor in the citizen’s presence. An example of a scenario that could result in a breach of the peace is when the suspect owns a firearm illegally. However, we don’t advise anyone to try to arrest suspects with weapons. Instead, be a good witness. Arresting a person with a firearm can be fatal. 

State laws vary from one state to another. However, most states forbid citizens from taking the law into their hands. 

This means when you arrest someone, you must hand over the person to the police immediately. 

Can A Private Citizen Utilize Force To Make An Arrest?

The simple answer is no. Firstly, you’re not an officer of the law. So, there’s no reason to arrest anyone using force. 

By arresting others with us, you’re exposing yourself to grave danger. Even the police that use force to arrest sometimes end up fatally wounded. 

These arrests can get messy sometimes, even for trained police officers. So, it’s a considerable risk to arrest someone using force. Besides, you’re a private citizen, not an officer of the law. 

In addition, using force to arrest someone can be fatal. You could face criminal persecution and civil liability. The legal ramification could be even more severe when a private citizen utilizes deadly force to arrest another. 

The court might only support you for using force to arrest a private citizen if you were also protecting yourself. The court also fears that allowing private citizens to make arrests using force will lead to armed vigilantes roaming the street. 

As a private citizen, the right is to get the police involved if you think someone is committing or has committed a crime. You’re not a police officer, so don’t try to take the laws into your hands. 

Give the police your information and allow them to make the arrest. Note that even if the police make a false arrest or use force, the law would somewhat protect them. However, such laws do not apply to you as a private citizen. 

Again, the police are well-trained to handle a wide range of criminals. So, they can handle the situation better than you if the culprit is armed and dangerous. 

Trying to make an arrest can land you in trouble. You could get injured or killed during the process. You can be a better hero and stay alive for your family by letting the police and the arresting and not you. So, contact them as soon as possible if you have any information you think would be helpful to them. 


Can a citizen arrest a police officer? Yes, a citizen can arrest a police officer or anyone. It’s called citizen’s arrest. In other words, the laws in some states empower private citizens to carry out an arrest like police officers, even if they aren’t one.  

However, the fact that you can arrest a police officer doesn’t mean you should do it. Remember, the officer could be armed, and he or she could react. 

The best thing to do is to be a good witness. Don’t play cop. If an officer of the law commits a criminal offense, report the officer to their superiors at the station. Don’t take the laws into your hands. 

You could be charged with assaulting an officer even though you’re trying to make an arrest. You could only be let off the hook by showing enough evidence that you were trying to arrest the officer for a specific crime. 

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Susan Tapia is an ambitious, savvy news writer with a vibrant personality and an eye for detail. She is highly experienced in crafting compelling stories and dedicated to seeking out the truth. With her inquisitive nature, she delves deep into every subject she touches, uncovering unexpected facts that help her engage her readers. Susan has an unbridled passion for writing, and she strives to inspire others through her work. She confidently shares her thought-provoking ideas with enthusiasm and candor, making sure the world can see the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Simply put, Susan Tapia is a trailblazer in the journalism industry who never fails to deliver her readers riveting stories they won't soon forget.

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