The greater surprise in a story of several people refusing to come to the aid of a police officer is not that they wouldn’t intervene, but that it is illegal for them not to do so.
Fox affiliate WAFF-TV reported:
Huntsville police say several people in a Huntsville neighborhood stood and watched as a police officer struggled with a suspect.
Police say, a hit and run suspect Devonte Conerly tried to grab the officer’s gun.
Officers eventually cuffed Conerly, who’s now charged for felony assault on an officer.
While it’s not clear if the officer asked for help, police did ask bystanders afterwards why no one helped the officer.
According to WAFF-TV, it’s illegal to not respond to an officer in distress who is asking for assistance, and according to Alabama legal code, a person can be charged with a misdemeanor crime for failing to help.
Although, given the current state of affairs in the country, cops may want to be careful whom they turn to for assistance. With Black Lives Matter protesters trumping up strong anti-police sentiments, some just may intervene on behalf of the suspect.
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Nevertheless, Bill Davis with the Fraternal Order of Police said the public should feel a moral obligation to help a police officer.
“I wouldn’t ask anybody in the public sector to get involved in a shootout or anything like that,” he said. “If a police officer is involved in a shootout, get out of the way.”
But under difference circumstances, Davis said the public should assist an officer in need.
“If it’s just an altercation where someone is wrestling with the officer and it looks like they’re getting the best of the officer, yes you need to help.”
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