Non Crime-Stopping Bystanders - My9 New Jersey

Non Crime-Stopping Bystanders

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Camden, New Jersey (My9NJ) - 57 year-old Timothy Appling was stabbed to death in Camden this weekend and the attack was caught on surveillance video. While this situation is extremely tragic, this type of crime is not that unusual in Camden. What makes this case different is that several people watched it happen and once again nobody intervened or even called 911.

If you watch the video you can see several cars that stopped and watched as Appling was stabbed to death. One car even turned around to get a closer look but still didn’t call the police.

Criminal Defense Attorney Rick DeMichele discussed whether or not witnesses in situations like this have any legal obligation to do anything to help.

“There is no obligation to affirmatively report a crime, but keep in mind this stabbing occurred at the corner of Broadway and Atlantic in Camden at 3:00 in the morning. There may be a good reason why the people that went by wouldn’t want to be identified particularly with the 911 that gives not only the location, but the identity of the person making the call,” he said.

The law is clear that in most states, including New Jersey, you may have a moral obligation but you do not have a legal obligation to help unless you’re a medical or law enforcement professional.

In fact, there is a psychological principle called “bystander effect” which says the more people who are around, the less likely someone is to get involved.

Situations like this seem to happen a lot. Is it time for the law to hold those witnesses accountable? Or should Bystanders be morally responsible to intervene in cases like this?

Anyone with information on this stabbing should call 856-757-7420.


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