California Near to Ending 150-Year-Old Posse Comitatus Law
SACRAMENTO — California is moving to eliminate what state legislators call an outdated Wild West law requiring that citizens help police upon demand.
Lawmakers on Thursday sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a measure eliminating the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872.
The nearly 150-year-old law makes it a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000 for failing to help police make an arrest or catch a fleeing suspect.
Legislator: Law Used to Apprehend Runaway Slaves
Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys says his interns initially proposed eliminating a law that he says “belongs in the history books, not the law books.”
Democratic Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove of Los Angeles says it was also used to help apprehend runaway slaves.
She calls it “a visage of a bygone era” now that California has plenty of professionals to catch criminals.