POST FALLS, Idaho – A man was taken into custody in Post Falls after he showed a pistol during an argument on Saturday. Post Falls police were not the ones responsible for arresting him though. The neighbor, who was in the argument, decided to place the suspect with the gun under citizen’s arrest.
It started after a neighbor, living near Cimmaron Street and Stockman Avenue, called police. The suspect was walking his dog without a leash and the neighbor went out to confront him, according to a police report.
The police report said he went out and asked the suspect to put his dog on a leash for the sake of the kids in the area. The suspect than lifted up his shirt and showed the neighbor he was carrying a pistol, the police report said. The neighbor called the police right after.
Police officers arrived and talked to both people about what happened. The neighbor and the suspect then tried to have a conversation in front of police but the suspect with the gun, also drunk, was not cooperating.
Police told the neighbor that he could be charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon While Drunk, which is a misdemeanor.
Police in Idaho normally can’t arrest someone on a misdemeanor charge unless the crime took place in their presence. So the police could not actually arrest the suspect with the gun.
They told the neighbor what he could do next to the suspect: Give him a citation, a warning, or placing him under citizen's arrest.
The neighbor asked for the guy to be placed under citizen's arrest.
How common are citizen’s arrest?
Post Falls police said they get a few citizen’s arrest a year and they are not very common. Police officials said a citizen can detain another person if they are familiar with the law, but they do not recommend it.
“We really don't want to see them going hands on if they don't have to,” Post Falls Police Captain Pat Knight said. “A person has the right to certainly defend themselves and things like that. If the individual wants to hold on to somebody for us until we get there. Those things have happened to us in the past."
Talked w/PFPD re: citizen arrests. I'm told they only occur a handful of times each year. "It's not uncommon, but you don't see it everyday" pic.twitter.com/BKEmVHzsGY— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) October 24, 2016
So what is the proper course of action? Police officials said what the neighbor did when he confronted the suspect who displayed his gun was the right course of action.
“Exactly what happened here,” Knight said. “That the individual would go inside the home, call police, let the police come out and investigate and then make a decision at the end of it.”
Police officials said they tell people that it might be a wiser choice just to issue a citation and rather than a citizen’s arrest because most jails are already overcrowded, like Kootenai County Jail.