CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Man arrested for putting teen in chokehold while attempting “citizen’s arrest”

Oct 2, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: 1:10 pm

Stock image of a man in handcuffs. A man in Herriman, Utah, is under arrest and accused of forcing ...

Salt Lake City police said gun violence seems to have simmered down since the New Yorker, a downtown nightclub, closed earlier this year.(Canva)

(Canva)

NORTH OGDEN — North Ogden police have arrested a 57-year-old man for aggravated child abuse after he put an unnamed teenage boy in a chokehold and attempted to conduct a citizen’s arrest.

The arrest report says North Ogden police officers responded to a dispatch call about a fight between two men. They found Michael Larson on top of a teenage boy when they arrived at the scene.

The boy told law enforcement he was walking home from a nearby skate park and picked up a broken street sign. He says Larson saw him from a distance and yelled at him to drop the sign. The teenager did so, but Larson allegedly kept coming closer and calling him names.

The report says Larson pushed the boy to the ground of a neighbor’s lawn and put him in a chokehold. The teenager attempted to call the police. Larson allegedly threw away his phone.

Larson reportedly told police this was a citizen’s arrest, and he wouldn’t allow someone to steal from his street. The arrest report emphasizes that Larson did not own the sign and that it was not on his property.

He faces a charge of aggravated child abuse and another of interrupting a 9-1-1 call.

Citizen’s arrest laws

Under Utah law, a private person has the ability to make a citizen’s arrest. The law applies not only to police but to private citizens as well according to KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas.

But, according to Skordas “the fact that you can and the fact that you should are two different worlds.”

Skordas believes this case was not a proper use of a citizen’s arrest for a property crime, “It didn’t happen on his (Michael Larson’s) property in the first place.”

To make a proper citizen’s arrest, Skordas gives the following parameters. “You can’t use force unless force is justified,” an example of this would be someone breaking into your home, or if the other person also gets physical. 

In this case, the chokehold was unnecessary, Skordas said. 

Skordas recommends not making citizen’s arrests, instead, he says people should gather all the information they can and contact the police.

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Man arrested for putting teen in chokehold while attempting “citizen’s arrest”