Sacramento, CA – California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on a bill ending the requirement that citizens must help law enforcement officers if they ask for it.
Under the former law, known as the California Posse Comitatus Act of 1872, citizens faced a potential misdemeanor charge if they refused to help officers who asked for their assistance in making an arrest, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The offense was punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, according to the Associated Press.
The bill was sponsored by democratic Senator Bob Hertzberg, who said that the original law “belongs in the history books, not the law books,” the Associated Press reported.
Democratic Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove referred to the original law as “a vestige of a bygone era,” and said that the state’s law enforcement agencies have plenty of other ways to apprehend criminals on their own.
Requiring citizens to help officers who are struggling to apprehend suspects subjects those citizens to “an untenable moral dilemma,” Hertzberg declared, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Proponents of the bill further argued that the original law needed to be struck down because it had also helped law enforcement officers enforce slavery laws in the past.
Slavery was abolished years before the creation of the law.
The California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA) opposed the bill, and noted that there are times when officers need an extra hand.
“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for assistance in matters of emergency or risks to public safety and we are unconvinced that this statute should be repealed,” the CSSA said in a statement, according to The Sacramento Bee.
Newsom did not issue a statement after he signed the bill into law on Tuesday, FOX News reported.