False imprisonment is “the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another.” (California Penal Code § 236). The tort requires direct restraint of the person for an appreciable length of time. The plaintiff must have been compelled to stay or go somewhere against his or her will. The physical force may be slight, like an officer putting his hand on a person’s shoulder. Actual force is not essential. The restraint can be by words, gestures, or acts. A false arrest is one way to commit the tort of false imprisonment.
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