Robert Plassmeyer: No crime involved in United fracas


This is regarding your opinion of the man who was dragged off the United Airlines plane (“Lesson learned on the wing,” Our View, April 29).

The biggest problem is the incident was a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Police do not get involved with civil matters except to keep the peace.

They never should have been involved in this situation. The only reason United used them was for a show of force.

The man never committed a crime.

The Penal Code says the man would have been wrong if the officers were discharging a duty of their employment. Taking a person off an airplane just because the airline wants to give his seat to another person is not the duty of a peace officer.

Penal Code Section 834a states if a person has knowledge that he is being arrested by a peace officer it is his duty to refrain from resisting the arrest. The officers were not arresting the man, nor did they say anything about being arrested.

841PC states a person making an arrest must inform the person that he or she is being arrested.

This incident would be like you waiting in line to enter a movie theater when the manager told the police he wanted you to go to the end of the line so his friend could take your place. If you refused to do what the manager said, do you think the police have the right to physically remove you?

Of course not. They only deal in criminal matters. That is why the man was correct in resisting his removal from the plane so his seat could be used by someone else.

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