Huntsville police say several people in a Huntsville neighborhood stood and watched as a police officer struggled with a suspect.
Police say, a hit and run suspect Devonte Conerly tried to grab the officer’s gun.
Officers eventually cuffed Conerly, who’s now charged for felony assault on an officer.
Police then asked bystanders why no one came to the officer’s aid.
Many people might not be aware of this, but it’s actually illegal to not help out if an officer is in distress and asking for assistance from bystanders.
It’s unclear if the Huntsville police officer involved in the incident Wednesday ever asked the bystanders to help him, but he said the suspect was trying to grab his gun and none of the witnesses stepped up to help.
Alabama legal code said refusing to aid a police officer is actually a misdemeanor crime. If you’re in a situation where you see a police officer trying to arrest someone and he asks you specifically to help him, you could be charged if you don’t respond.
Bill Davis with the Fraternal Order of Police said unless it appears to be a dangerous situation, even if you’re not legally obligated to help, you should be morally obligated to help.
“I wouldn’t ask anybody in the public sector to get involved in a shootout or anything like that, if a police officer is involved in a shootout, get out of the way,” Davis said. “He’s not going to ask you to get involved in it, and I wouldn’t suggest it so if it’s just an altercation where someone is wrestling with the officer and it looks like they’re getting the best of the officer, yes you need to help.”
The bystanders said they felt the need to video tape the incident Wednesday in case something happened.