Cop speak

Bob Fitzke fitzke at VOYAGER.NET
Sat Jul 24 01:42:00 UTC 1999

Assault, in the law, has a fairly specific meaning. Essentially it's a
threat of harm, plus apparent ability to carry it out. Actual unauthorized
touching is the battery.


G S C wrote:

> Suspect that, somewhere, there is a DA, or similar attorney, who
> insisted on a precise use of language in police work.  Language as
> defined by that attorney, or maybe Black's Law Dictionary.  The outcome
> of a case might turn on the checking of the proper box on an incident
> information form.
> Don't know about today, but, years ago, an MP could -apprehend- a
> troublemaker, but never -arrest- the same.  In the civilian world,
> assault could refer to both verbal and physical abuse; seem to remember
> that MPs could only use the word with reference to a physical action.
> There were other precisions, but they've slipped away over the years.
> Some MP language is affected by treaties governing the deployment of
> U.S. troops in various countries.
> George S. Cole   gscole at
> Shippensburg University

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