SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NEWS10) – The Governor of California, is striking down a law that dates back to 1872 which made it a misdemeanor for any “able-bodied person 18 years of age or older” to refuse a police officer’s call for help.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 192, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, on Tuesday.
The original bill, The California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872, dates back to the Sunshine State’s Wild West days. It derives from medieval English common law, but saw widespread use in America’s early days, including as a tool of enforcement for the Fugitive Slave Act.
The California State Sheriff’s Association opposes the change in law, saying 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for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, the law was cited as recently as 2014 when the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office invoked posse comitatus in its defense during a lawsuit filed by a man and woman alleging they were deceived into responding to a dangerous 911 call on the office’s behalf.