California News

Newsom Signs Bill That Makes It Legal For Citizens To Refuse To Help Police

Sacramento Bee-


A legal vestige from California’s Wild West days is no more.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill striking down a law that makes it a crime to refuse a police officer’s request for help.

The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872 made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for assistance in making an arrest.

Posse comitatus derives from medieval English common law, but saw widespread use in America’s early days, including as a tool of enforcement for the Fugitive Slave Act.

Senate Bill 192, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, removes the law from the books. Hertzberg called the law “a vestige of a bygone era” that subjects citizens to “an untenable moral dilemma.”

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