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The police called to tell me Ive been accused of harassment, told me they would arrest me if it happened again.Can they do this?

Erie, PA |

My ex and her boyfriend went to the police in their town and reported I had been harrasing them via phone and email. This is not tue at all. The police called me and told me if there is another report, I would be arresed. I asked on what grounds and they said harassment by communication. I asked if they had proof and he said that her boyfriend was going to bring supposed emails I have sent in to him. The only emails I have sent were simple ones regarding our 4 kids which live with me. Can I be arrested when they have no real proof, just their say so? Is it right for them to threaten me with arrest? I have emails and chat logs from her boyfriend in which he clearly threatens me. I'm just wondering what my next move should be.
Thanks for your time.

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Attorney answers 1


Although the law veries somewhat from state to state, if someone reports to the police, (and they believe the report), or witness the action; that they have been assaulted or threatened with speciific, immeidiate bodily harm, the police may (or may even be required to), arrest that person. On the other hand, if there is an allegation that someone is "harassing" someone else: continuing onwanted communication via telephone, email, in person, following them, etc., but there isn't a clear, immediate threat, I have definitely heard of the police agreeing to contact that person, recite the allegations, and tell them to "knock it off." However, if the alleged harrasser has not done anything directly viewed by the police, he or she should simply tell them that the allegations are not true. The police, if competent, may well warn of the possible consequences of harassment but ultimately should tell the complaintent to get a restraining order. In order to get such an order the complaintent will have to prove to a judge/magistrate/court commissioner that actual harassment is occuring. If the judge is convinced and the order is issued THEN and only then (in any jurisdiction that I know of), are the police free to arrest based on continued contact. If these facts are correct then the police are being unusually medlessome. My experience has been the exact OPPOSITE. I can rarely get the police to give a warning without first obtaining a restraining order for my client. In short, if you have done nothing wrong, SAY SO, politely, repeatedly, and if necessarily loudly. I really doubt the cops will do anything unless 1) there is a restraining order, b) something happens in there presence or c) there is physical evidence of assault, (bruises, cuts, etc.) What can I say some cops are bullies but most are not stupid enough to arrest on mere hearsay and risk the resulting false arrest/civil rights violation lawsuit.