7 Steps to Making an Ill-Advised Citizen's Arrest
Crime. You just hate that crime, don't you? Whether it's because your parents were brutally murdered or your television was brutally stolen, you've vowed to do everything you can to stop crime. Not stop it; you want to kick crime's teeth in. Talk is cheap, and you're ready for something concrete, more concrete than "nothing at all," which is what the rest of us are planning on doing. "But what?" you ask, while browsing the aisles of a cape store. "What can one man -- one extraordinarily surly man -- do?" I'll tell you what. You're going to go make some citizen's arrests. And I'm going to tell you how.
Know the Law
The laws around citizen's arrest vary a great deal depending on which country or state you're in, so your first step will be to conduct plenty of research on the laws that apply in your jurisdiction. "Plenty of research? What kind of bullshit advice is that? That's what I came here looking for, you son of a bitch!" I imagine you saying, before attempting to place me under citizen's arrest for Felony Intent to Commit Bullshit. Don't apologize; it shows your arresting heart's in the right place. If you do just want to wing it, here are a few commonalities that most Western legal systems have, which will be useful to know if you don't want your citizen's arrest exploding in your face. First, citizen's arrests are generally only permissible for serious crimes -- felonies or indictable offenses only -- so if you had visions of putting a jaywalker into a figure-four leglock while screaming the theme from The A-Team, that's not gonna fly. There is a wrinkle, though, in that if you observe a crime that is explicitly damaging your property, you do generally have the right to stop and arrest the subject. An Example: To illustrate the techniques necessary for making a citizen's arrest, last week I tried these out in my hometown, Canada City. When conducting this first, boringest step, I first consulted with a Canadian police officer ...
Costume DesignUnless this becomes a habit of yours, you probably won't want to go full cape and cowl here. But you'd be surprised at the confidence you feel when you look the part, and if you think you're dressed like a vigilante badass, you actually may become a little more like one.
I am the hero Gotham deserves.__
Submission TechniquesThe Internet is traditionally a place to hate, mock or otherwise rail against police officers, so please bear with me a second here when I don't do that at all, and point out that they are actually highly trained professionals. The kind of skills needed to wrestle a tweaking purse snatcher to the ground without hurting him or yourself are actually kind of hard to learn, and even if you are pretty OK with hurting him, it still isn't easy. For that reason, before making any citizen's arrests, it couldn't hurt to brush up on some basic self-defense techniques, or at the very least look into weighing a lot more. One other point bears mentioning here, and it relates to that -- ha ha -- police brutality joke I alluded to a second ago. You're not going to have the built-in legal protections afforded police officers, which means that when making a citizen's arrest, you're exposing yourself to a huge amount of legal liability. Criminal charges could very easily come in your direction, to say nothing of the civil damages you could potentially face if you arrest someone's face right through a table. For that reason, when selecting your self-defense training regimen, I'd strongly suggest you consider a noncontact martial art like tai chi or even Pilates. An Example: I spent most of the summer of 2000 getting really big into Tae Bo when I found a Tae Bo DVD and thought it would be hilarious if I got really big into Tae Bo. For those who don't know, Tae Bo is a kind of high-intensity exercise regime/martial art that is I think used to train Special Forces aerobics instructors. Most notably, Tae Bo is completely noncontact, which means I'm unlikely to hurt my arrestees with it.
It turns out that a split-squat tiptoed punch is more dangerous to the puncher than everyone else in the world.
ExecutionA crime is happening! Only this time you're ready for it, having done all your homework and honed yourself into a crime-fighting Pilates machine. So take a deep breath, and do this: Approach your criminal confidently, announce that you're placing him under citizen's arrest and ask him to lie face first on the ground. If he doesn't (he won't), use your martial arts against him as gently as possible until he complies. An Example: I'd been trolling my wallet around downtown sidewalks for the better part of an hour before I felt a tug on the line. A catch! I turned around to spot a dirtbag holding my wallet. "Excuse me," she began to say before I interrupted her with my prepared speech, which was a sort of remembered version of the Miranda Rights.
"You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to ... uh ... remain an attorney. If you do not remain silent, an attorney may be held against you."I then formally placed the young tough under citizen's arrest. Seeing the blank look on her face, I could tell she wasn't going to make things easy, at which point I escalated and conducted about 20 seconds of a Tae Bo routine right in front of her face. Finally, a reaction -- the hoodlum set the wallet down at her feet, then backed away from me slowly, accidentally tripping over a curb as she did so. Success -- I'd gotten my first "collar"!
BondageAfter catching the criminal, you'll have to detain him until police help arrives, and here lies one common pitfall of citizen's arrests. After the fact, it's entirely probable that the criminal will complain to the courts that you detained him inappropriately and strongly imply that you locked him up to do sex acts on him. Knowing this trap, you have to make those claims seem laughable right on the surface. Make sure you're not using any restraints with fur on them, and that you're not wearing a leather hat, or assless anythings.
"The safe word for tonight is justice."__ An Example: Carrying any kind of restraints around with you on the street is a good way to get labeled a pervert, so I knew I'd need a subtler method of restraining my criminal. Which was why, underneath my leather jacket, I was wearing a shirt covered in glue, which I intended to use to hug my criminal into submission. But due to a miscalculation of ... basically the entire plan ... it turned out that I couldn't get my jacket off to unleash my justice hug. Panicking slightly, I decided to sit on my criminal, who was, fortunately for me, a smallish Chinese girl, incapable of kicking me off. "Citizen's arrest, checkmate!" I announced. "Someone call the real cops and tell them I'm giving free lessons on how it's really done!" I yelled at the crowd of strangers who'd gathered around. "It's all right, I write for Cracked!" I clarified, when several of them seemed to get more upset at me than the criminal. I was as surprised as anyone when this worked -- they may have thought I was saying something else.
LectureIt's important to take advantage of the time you have before the police arrive to lecture your criminal about the error of his ways. The current prison system simply encourages criminals to trade crime-making secrets with each other so that they might break the law more adroitly, and you'll want to counterbalance this coming miseducation by sharing your experience as an upstanding citizen. Tell him about Cracked.com, and how it's become a beacon of correctness for you.
The HandoffEventually the police will show up, and after they try to arrest you for sitting on a teenage girl for 10 minutes, things will eventually get sorted out, and you'll be acknowledged a hero. The main thing to remember is to be honest and cooperative; police officers will often be a little prickly about citizen's arrests, because of I think a union thing, and you don't want to aggravate them further. Just be polite and say that you're definitely not thinking of doing this again, even if you're already mentally shaking hands with the mayor and promising him that the city will no longer know fear.
"And this key to the city is awarded to Darren Mitchell, who, having saved the president from ninjas, proved that, indeed, he was a Bad Enough Dude."__