From the Provincetown Police Department (Verbatim)
On February 24, 2020, just after 4pm, the Provincetown Police responded to Commercial Street for a report of a disturbance. It was reported that a large, military-style truck was parked in front of town hall with political signs, flags and banners all over it. There was also a secondary report that someone “was running after somebody” and that “somebody pulled a flag off of” the truck.
Upon arrival the reporting party and driver of the truck, identified as Adam Lange, of Brewster MA reported that an intoxicated man had ripped several of the truck’s flags. These included a “Trump” banner and a “thin blue line” flag. This incident was investigated by the responding police officers and the male involved in the incident was highly intoxicated and taken into police protective custody at the scene for his safety.
Early this morning, it was revealed via a story on a Cape Cod news blog that Lange claimed he had chased the man responsible for the alleged vandalism into an alleyway and escorted him back to the scene before our police officers arrived. Lange also reported that a “small crowd” was challenging his associate when he returned. It was also claimed that a “citizen’s arrest took place”.
It should be noted that responding officers did not observe any of these reported actions upon their arrival and found no active disturbance to be occurring.
Also, we caution people against believing they have the power to conduct a “citizen’s arrest”. There is no statute which authorizes “citizen's arrests” in this state and case law only provides for the citizen arrest of a person who has "in fact committed" a felony, Comm. v. Lussier, 333 Mass. 83 (1955); This is common law authority, which the colonists of Massachusetts brought with them from England; The "in fact committed" standard is thought to mean that only a conviction for the felony will justify the citizen in having made the arrest. The consequences for a regular citizen making a citizen's arrest that is not justified by a conviction for a felony is potential liability in a civil lawsuit for false arrest, assault and battery, etc, and possible criminal prosecution.
Our advice: always call your police department. Professional police officers have been trained to detect, investigate and mitigate criminal acts.
This event remains under investigation and additional criminal charges may be filed.
The Town of Provincetown is a welcoming international destination for all people. It historically respects the rights, differences, and dignity of others. The men and women of the Provincetown Police Department strive to uphold the rights and values of all citizens and visitors of our community and commend Sergeant Enos and Officer McCauley for their professional response to this incident.
Some information in this release has been withheld to comply with applicable law.