California Governor Signs Bill That Lets Citizens Refuse To Help Police Officers

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Tuesday signed into law a bill abolishing state citizens’ responsibility to aid police officers who request assistance while making an arrest.

California Senate Bill 192 strikes down a nearly 150-year-old piece of legislation requiring that “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” aid such officers or they could be charged with a misdemeanor, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Persons charged with failing to aid a responding officer were also subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, The Bee reported in February.

Democratic sponsor for Senate Bill 192, state Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Los Angeles, referred to the original California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 as a “vestige of a bygone era” that creates “an untenable moral dilemma” for citizens.

The Bee echoed this sentiment, referring to the law in its report as a “legal vestige of California’s Wild West days,” adding that the law was put in place shortly after similar legislation was introduced elsewhere in the nation to catch runaway slaves.

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However, the decision to repeal the bill has not been popular with state authorities.

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Despite the bill receiving little media attention, state police and peacekeepers suggest it may, in some instances, increase the challenges faced by stations lacking man-power as they attempt to catch fleeing suspects.

According to The Bee, the California State Sheriff’s Association indicated this week that they are simply “unconvinced” a repeal was necessary or helpful.

“There are situations in which a peace officer might look to private persons for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed,” the association said in a statement.

Newsom did not release a statement regarding the repeal, according to Fox News.

The liberal governor has, however, earned the ire of state and national law enforcement in recent months, making a variety of anti-police remarks.

“It’s just incomprehensible to me that we have a system that is so biased, so random, so unbelievably racially biased,” Newsom told The Marshall Project in August.

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The progressive governor had just signed into law the strictest police “use of force” restrictions in the nation at the time.

Time Magazine reported that law requires police officers be held criminally responsible for employing force in their policing duties unless there is “no reasonable alternative.”

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