police4aqi

Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Minneapolis police officers use “citizen’s arrest” to skirt Minnesota arrest requirements

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Case:  Gilmore v. City of Minneapolis, Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit 2016

What happened:  The part of this case I find interesting involves state law, rather than Fourth Amendment law.  The Minnesota state law in question forbids police from making warrantless arrests for misdemeanors unless the arresting police officer personally witnessed the misdemeanor.  In this case, the police officers violated the Minnesota law.  Still, the court gave the police qualified immunity (qi) because the court held that the arrest was a “citizen’s arrest” made by a complaining citizen.

First criticism:  This loophole regarding citizen’s arrests makes no sense, and the court should have interpreted the law in a different way to avoid the absurdity.

Second criticism:  Based on the facts of the case, it does not sound like a citizen’s arrest was made.  Rather, the police officers made the arrest.  The above-linked opinion contains an explanation about why the court considered this to be a citizen’s arrest despite the fact that police officers made the arrest.  I found this explanation less than convincing.

Question:  Is it too late for the plaintiff to sue the private citizen who made the so-called “citizen’s arrest?”

Anomaly:  It is weird to see police being on the side of a citizen’s right to arrest.  However, this becomes less of an anomaly when one considers that the citizen did not actually make the arrest in any meaningful sense of the word “arrest.”

Written by Burgers Allday

September 17, 2016 at 10:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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