South Carolina — Imagine, for a moment, that you see a cop beating up a teenage girl for being in possession of a little bit of cannabis. The girl, not wanting to be kidnapped and caged for a plant, is naturally ‘resisting’ her arrest. So, the cop asks you to step in and help him. What do you do?
Well, even if you are morally opposed to the war on drugs, and believe that people should not be kidnapped and caged for possessing a plant — that the US government admits can kill cancer cells — you must step in. If you do not help the cop, in South Carolina, you could go to jail. Seriously.
On the police propaganda show from A&E, Live PD, a recent episode exposed this tyrannical and outright ridiculous law.
Last week, a highly controversial episode of Live PD showed an officer involved in the high-speed chase of Bryan Martin who had his two-year-old daughter with him during the arrest after the chase came to a dramatic end.
When Martin exited his vehicle, after he flipped it, he was holding his daughter as the officer attempted to arrest him.
Once the officer was on top of Martin, he was asking the bystanders, some of whom were filming, to help him in the arrest. No one stepped in.
While someone did get his daughter out of the way and safe, the officer’s calls for help fell on deaf ears — including those from the A&E camera operator who just moved around to film from different angles.
WFMY News, then reported on the arrest, caught on Live PD, and informed their viewers, who were shocked to learn, that state law says officers can call out for help from bystanders if suspects are resisting an arrest.
Section 23-15-70 of the SC Code of Laws states any person refusing to assist the officer could be charged with a misdemeanor, fined $30 to $100 or imprisoned 30 days in jail.
The entire SECTION 23-15-70 – Call out for assistance or posse comitatus; penalty for refusing to assist — reads as follows:
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.
While Martin’s case is an extreme one, the fact is that police apprehend and arrest otherwise entirely innocent people on a daily basis. Laws like this one open up Pandora’s box in regards to the potential for ominous scenarios to play out.
While many people would likely step in to break up a severely one-sided fight, there should never be a requirement to do so.
Threatening entirely innocent people with fines and jail for refusing to put themselves in harm’s way to help an officer who may or may not be violating the rights of an innocent person is nothing short of tyrannical and goes against all measures of a free society.
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What do you think? Should people be thrown in jail for refusing to help a police officer who is asking for their assistance? Let us know in the comments below.