Why shouldn't you run away from the cops when falsely accused? - Page 2




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  1. #11
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    The protagonist almost always runs in fiction, because the alternative is the protagonist being robbed of his/her agency, and sitting in a room while other characters do the interesting stuff. The only examples I can think of is when the protagonists are just brought in for questioning and pick up some clue or potential alliance while at the station. Or they're arrested and then escape right away. Or being in jail is the story.

    In real life of course you'd want to go with the police while being as non-threatening as possible. Not that injustices don't happen, but the system will really destroy you otherwise. And cops don't get punished for shooting someone they thought was dangerous, innocent or not. At least not in the US.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spatula View Post
    The protagonist almost always runs in fiction, because the alternative is the protagonist being robbed of his/her agency, and sitting in a room while other characters do the interesting stuff.
    And in those stories the real protagonist is usually a family member, a friend, a lawyer, a private eye, one of the cops, a crime solving doctor, a guy who gets a paper every morning that tells him what happens in the future, a guy who reads minds, someone who just happened to be there and saw he wasn't guilty, a vampire slayer, a time traveller, a..

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    It would depend almost entirely on what information I had available to me (about the situation) at the time.

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    Depending on the situation, and the game - if you run, you might get shot. Getting shot, especially if you're innocent is not a worthy death. I'd say go ahead and arrest me, and hopefully my innocence will be proven, and that I have a competent attorney.

    Now if you're an escaped slave in the deep south before the Civil War, a Jew in Nazi Germany and other similar situations. Run! Getting shot, might be a relief versus getting caught on the run...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesy View Post
    And in those stories the real protagonist is usually a family member, a friend, a lawyer, a private eye, one of the cops, a crime solving doctor, a guy who gets a paper every morning that tells him what happens in the future, a guy who reads minds, someone who just happened to be there and saw he wasn't guilty, a vampire slayer, a time traveller, a..
    Important thing to note: if you get arrested and spend the entire time sitting in jail while somebody else works on getting you out, then you are NOT the protagonist.

    Great answers so far. Thus far the common wisdom is "in real life, don't run" and "in fiction, almost always run"

    One new idea I just had on why the two are different is that in real life (ex. living in the the U.S right now) there's a decent justice system (better than some places). In fiction, these stories are almost always about a BAD justice system. Thus, in even in a story based in the U.S. it'll feature crooked cops or hacked legal systems that frame the protagonist.

    I suspect that there are fewer "framed" crimes in real life in the US than in fiction (as a ratio of crime stories/actual incidents). Note I would differentiate between crappy justice (let's blame this Elf for that crime, because we know an Elf did it and all Elves look alike) versus an actual setup (let's get @Umbran's fingerprints on the tire iron and alter the logs so it shows his IP address).

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    Where I live, in the Netherlands, chances are you'd never get arrested -- rightly or wrongly -- or, if you were, the case would never go to court. Apparently 60% of all incidents in the Netherlands never gets referred to the public prosecutor. And only 50,000 cases out of 800,000 (total number of incidents per year) lead to convictions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dioltach View Post
    Where I live, in the Netherlands, chances are you'd never get arrested -- rightly or wrongly -- or, if you were, the case would never go to court. Apparently 60% of all incidents in the Netherlands never gets referred to the public prosecutor. And only 50,000 cases out of 800,000 (total number of incidents per year) lead to convictions.
    So people report crimes, but the cops don't follow-up or successfully identify a likely suspect to bring as a case?


    That reminds me of the story I saw in the Freakonomics documentary about Japan's murder rate. They had a great murder conviction rate because they didn't classify "hard to solve" cases as murders. Apparently that fell apart with some famous Sumo guy got murdered and they pooched it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elf Witch View Post
    In real life running is just stupid because you have now broken the law and you resisted arrest which is a crime. So if you were innocent before you are now guilty of a crime.
    Actually, resisting a wrongful arrest is not a crime. Caveat - you don't have to be guilty to be arrested. But happening to be on the street when the store was robbed is no justification for an arrest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRRNeiklot View Post
    Actually, resisting a wrongful arrest is not a crime. Caveat - you don't have to be guilty to be arrested. But happening to be on the street when the store was robbed is no justification for an arrest.
    Resisting by running might be okay, but resisting through violence probably won't be tolerated by the cops or the courts, wrongful or otherwise.

    Whether the arrest will be seen as justified will depend on the details, not the generalities - do the cops have "reasonable" basis for suspicion? The rules of evidence for arrest are really, really loose, and unless the officer had clear knowledge that you were innocent of the crime, it probably won't be counted as "wrongful arrest" either.
    Last edited by Umbran; Thursday, 8th March, 2012 at 10:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    Resisting by running might be okay, but resisting through violence probably won't be tolerated by the cops or the courts, wrongful or otherwise.

    Whether the arrest will be seen as justified will depend on the details, not the generalities - do the cops have "reasonable" basis for suspicion? The rules of evidence for arrest are really, really loose, and unless the officer had clear knowledge that you were innocent of the crime, it probably won't be counted as "wrongful arrest" either.
    True, the details probably matter. As do the specifics of how/why the cops are approaching you.

    Asking you to come downtown for some questions doesn't sound like an arrest.

    Getting pulled over for speeding and having your license examined and called in is not an arrest either.

    Having a cop yell "Freeze! You're under arrest!" when he first sees you because he has an APB that says you are a wanted murderer is probably an arrest.

    I have no clue if "running from a wrongful arrest" is truly protected. Say the cops have an APB that says you're evil twin just robbed a bank. The cop sees you and moves to arrest on sight (as in cuff and return to base for a cookie). The cops have the wrong man, but don't know it. Is it legal to run?

    If you run and they catch you and take you to the judge and your court assigned defendant correctly demonstrates that your fingerprints don't match, will the judge still be mad at you that you ran and punish you in a legal way?

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