To the Concerned Residents,
The Guardian Angels are all volunteers and are in the community to assist residents and act as eyes and ears for the police. We either have full time jobs or in school and spend our spare time giving back to the community. We dare to care. The police cannot do it alone; everyone must pitch in and help with reducing crime.
Just recently on 14th & Parkwood Streets, a homeless man was beaten and stomped and went into a comma for a few days. Witnesses were standing around during this ordeal and no one did nothing to assist him. The entire beating was videotaped by a neighborhood store surveillance camera. He passed away due to his injuries. If bystanders had reported this to the police immediately, this young man could possibly be still alive today.
I have answered your questions below.
Do the guardians angels have special permission to detain people? or is that also maybe called assault, battery or maybe kidnapping? and it can lead to a vigilante.
The Guardian Angels are not vigilantes. We abide by the law and we are not judge, jury and executioner. We have no special powers, and are no different from anyone else out on the street, except we are trained to work as a team.and we train in citizens arrest procedures. We are also trained in first aid, which is hardly a vigilante type activity. We are against violence. Our aim is to help people who are in danger and act as a visual deterrent to crime. It is the right and duty of all responsible people to help others. The right to intervene to save someone's life is given to all of us by the laws of the country.
Some of the answers are clear cut, eg, you can't detain someone for a minor crime unless you actually witnessed it
The difference between making a citizens arrest and detainment:
- A person who voluntarily remains where they are and agrees to answer questions is referred to as "detained". Detainment means they are consenting to stay until the police arrive.
- Arrest means you are holding a person against their will.
When the lookout came over the air for the seven young men who assaulted the metro bus driver (X2 bus line) on 7th & H Sts NW, we saw some young men who fit the description. We informed dispatch that we were on 7th Street between G & H and have in our view some young men that fit the description. We politely asked the young men to wait until the police arrive because they fit the description of suspects of a crime that had just occured. We are aware that if the crime is a misdemeanor and we did not witness it, then we have no power to hold them against their will.
When can a Guardian Angel make an arrest?
a. For a misdemeanor crime - providing the Guardian Angel witnessed the crime being committed.
b. For a felony crime - If the Guardian Angels either witnessed a crime or has reasonable cause to believe the suspect committed it. The Guardian Angels does not have to witness the crime in order to make a citizens arrest on a suspect.
If MPD continues to endorse/support this are they open to liability from lawsuits
The Guardian Angels are responsible for their actions not the police. We have been working with police and have been involved in the fight against violent street crime for 30 years around the world and we have never been sued for our actions. We have a great relationship with the police. They recognize the value of what we are doing. Preventing street crime is not just a job for the police. In fact, it is not a job at all. It is a moral duty that everyone look after each other and help if someone is being attacked or get involved if we see a crime.