By John Vibes
If you saw a police officer assaulting someone and attempting an arrest, would you get involved? If so, whose side would you take? In some places, like South Carolina for example, citizens are actually required by law to help a police officer with an arrest if they are asked.
According to Section 23-15-70 of the SC Code of Laws, any person refusing to assist an officer in making an arrest could face fines of up to $100 and the possibility of 30 days in jail.
The law states that,
Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or other officer specially empowered may call out the bystanders or posse comitatus of the proper county to his assistance whenever he is resisted or has reasonable grounds to suspect and believe that such assistance will be necessary in the service or execution of process in any criminal case and any deputy sheriff may call out such posse comitatus to assist in enforcing the laws and in arresting violators or suspected violators thereof. Any person refusing to assist as one of the posse comitatus in the service or execution of such process, when required by the sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or other officer shall be liable to be indicted therefor and upon conviction shall be fined and imprisoned, at the discretion of the court any person who shall fail to respond and render assistance when summoned by a deputy sheriff to assist in enforcing the laws and in arresting violators or suspected violators thereof shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction shall be fined not less than thirty nor more than one hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days.
Obviously, this law overlooks the fact that the police are not always on the correct side of the law. Oftentimes they assault and arrest innocent people; so if a civilian were to help them, they would actually themselves be committing a moral transgression by assisting in a kidnap or assault.
This law could potentially be forcing people to do something that they find to be immoral, and it is basically asking them to side with the police in every situation. In fact, there have been some instances across the United States where bystanders have intervened during an arrest, not to help the officer, but to protect the suspect from the officer; because, after all, in most arrests the officer is actually the aggressor. This fact can be confidently stated because a majority of people locked up in today’s prisons are actually non-violent offenders.
Furthermore, this law could put innocent bystanders in danger by pushing them into the middle of a scuffle between multiple people who likely have weapons.
This story caught national attention this week after a local report called attention to the bill and even seemed to show support for it. In the article, an extreme example was used of a suspect who risked the life of a child, which is obviously a circumstance where the media is using the most extreme example possible to justify government overreach.
John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. John is currently battling cancer naturally, without any chemo or radiation, and will be working to help others through his experience, if you wish to contribute to his treatments please donate.
Image Credit: Matthew Cooke