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California Law: Citizens Not Required to Help Officers in Need

California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on Tuesday that no longer requires any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” in the  Golden State to help a police officer who requests assistance during an arrest.

The old law, the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872, was common in the country’s early days, as The Sacramento Bee [1] reported and Fox News [2] noted as well.

But Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the old law was a “vestige of a bygone era.”

The law was employed to help catch runaway slaves, the report said.

The old law made it a misdemeanor that carried a fine of up to $1,000 for refusing to help a police officer who requested assistance during an arrest.

The new bill just signed by the governor was opposed by the California State Sheriff’s Association, the Bee reported.

Related: Philadelphia Officers Injured in Neighborhood Incident [3]

The association said in a statement, “There are situations in which a peace officer might look to private persons for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”

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