An altercation on Monday, July 25th resulted in rapper/producer/entrepreneur Dr. Dre cited for brandishing a firearm outside his Malibu home. According to reports, the good doctor exited his home Monday morning when he noticed a man was parked in front of his home and blocking his driveway. He asked the driver to move his vehicle, though the motorist initially refused to do so.
At this point in the story, the two sides have differing accounts as to what happened next.
According to the motorist, Dr. Dre pulled a handgun out of his pocket and pointed it at him. According to Dr. Dre, he pulled out a cellphone in an attempt to record the driver’s words and actions. Either way, the motorist called police who quickly responded. Dre was handcuffed, questioned and searched (to which he willingly submitted) and no weapons were found at the scene.
Since no weapon was found, the police were going to let Dr. Dre go, though the motorist chose to initiate a citizen’s arrest while the police were present. The result of the arrest led to a citation and a charge of misdemeanor brandishing a firearm. Dr. Dre was not arrested, taken into custody, or otherwise detained after the search was otherwise completed.
Citizens’ Arrests don’t happen often, but under California Penal Code 837, a citizen may initiate an arrest upon another private citizen if:
- A public offense was committed in their presence
- When the person arrested has committed a felony (though not in the presence of the arresting citizen)
- When a felony has been committed and the arresting citizen has reason to believe that the individual under arrest is the one who committed it
Citizens’ arrests can be dangerous, and private citizens are not always granted the same protections during an arrest that law enforcement is. The reason the citizen’s arrest in the above case went off so easily is likely because the motorist chose to invoke his right while the police were already there and there was no need to physically detain Dr. Dre.