citizen's arrest


Definition of citizen's arrest

: an arrest made not by a law officer but by a citizen who derives authority from the fact of being a citizen

Examples of citizen's arrest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web One woman who was unhappy with DeWine’s handling of the health crisis apparently plotted to conduct a citizen's arrest of the governor. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, "Analysis: What options did DeWine have on COVID-19? Not many, and they all hurt," 11 Nov. 2020 Several Democratic lawmakers joined protesters and called for Georgia to pass reforms including the repeal of the state's citizen's arrest and stand-your-ground laws. Russ Bynum, Anchorage Daily News, "‘When does it stop?’ Slain man’s family makes tearful plea," 16 June 2020 The case has caused nationwide pain and outrage, and raised questions about the scope of citizen's arrest laws. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for May 22: Coronavirus, health, China, Open Skies Treaty, Ahmaud Arbery," 22 May 2020 Other citizen's arrest laws specify whether the law can be used for felony or misdemeanor crimes. Aj Willingham, CNN, "Citizen's arrest laws aren't cut and dry. Here's what you need to know," 12 May 2020 Martin made a citizen's arrest, according to a County of Riverside Sheriff's Department Order of Arrest. Amir Vera, CNN, "A California man was beaten after being mistaken for a suspected child predator," 18 Aug. 2019 O'Malley said in the release that citizen's arrests are legal, but dangerous. Cory Shaffer,, "County prosecutors say trio who brought teen car thieves to police station in trunk of car committed no felonies," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'citizen's arrest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of citizen's arrest

1940, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of citizen's arrest was in 1940

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Cite this Entry

“Citizen's arrest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for citizen's arrest

citizen's arrest


English Language Learners Definition of citizen's arrest

: an arrest made by a citizen rather than by the police

citizen's arrest

Legal Definition of citizen's arrest

— see arrest

Comments on citizen's arrest

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