Man Posts Offer to Make Citizens Arrests in Woodland

WOODLAND -- A post on social media has the city of Woodland talking.

"There's a couple of things that are really concerning about a post like that," said Sgt. Dallas Hyde with the Woodland Police Department.

The post is from a man offering to help make citizens arrests. It's an offer Woodland police don't recommend.

"You don't know what you're getting into, you don't know what they have on them, you're not trained to apprehend someone who has committed a crime," Hyde said.

It was written by Stephen Chaudhry, a Woodland resident who tells FOX40 he's tired of the homeless problem and wants the good people of Woodland to fight back.

"Anybody who is going to go out and advocate vigilantism and tying people to fixed objects clearly are setting themselves up for civil and probably criminal liability as well," Hyde said.

However, despite what police say, some of the people who spoke to FOX40 said they were open to the idea.

"And I would if needed to. Because criminal justice major, I do know about citizens arrest." said Woodland resident Thai Bui.

Chaudhry, who declined to comment, is offering ride-alongs to citizens who want to join him. He says he'll "be carrying long and wide zip-ties to arrest anyone doing something too stupid or too illegal."

"Citizens arrests, I mean they do go back to the Middle Ages," said local attorney Mark Reichel. "And now it's actually codified in the California statutes, which allow it."

Reichel says while it's within every Californian's right to make a citizens arrest, he says you're better off calling 911 and having the police handle it.

"Police often have what's called immunity, they have immunity from liability, meaning civilly they can't be sued for damages if they're acting reasonable and so forth. But private citizens don't have that same protection nor do private citizens have criminal protection, so if you're really wrong, you could be libel criminally for false imprisonment and kidnapping," Reichel said.