Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can a person be arrested and the only charge is resisting arrest?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46618points) August 7th, 2014

I mean, they have to have had a reason to arrest him for him to be be able to resist arrest, right?

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19 Answers

rojo's avatar

Yes, and I have always wondered how this was justifiable but it is.

From the article above:
“An interesting case is that of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Officer who stopped an ambulance transporting a patient because the ambulance driver did not yield for the officer (see video here). The officer pulled the ambulance over, and when the paramedic tried to explain the emergency situation, the officer went into a rage and assaulted the paramedic. The officer was given 5 days suspension without pay (see article here).

In California, this officer ironically would have fit the definition of “resisting arrest” because he was delaying a medical technician in the course of his duties. Strangely enough, in California, the medical technician would have also been “resisting arrest” because he was delaying or obstructing an officer from the performance of those duties. This completely absurd result only highlights one of the many problems with this law and its underlying assumption that a certain class of people (emergency personnel, police, firefighters) are always doing the right thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can you give me an example?

rojo's avatar

How ‘bout that @Dutchess_III

Dutchess_III's avatar

Wow @rojo. That is unbelievable!

zenvelo's avatar

If one is being questioned by a police officer, and becomes combative or attempts to leave without permission, you are then eligible to be held, and any attempt to not be held is resisting arrest.

Here is the Florida definition of Resisting Arrest Without Violence:

Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any [law enforcement or probation] officer or other person legally authorized to execute process . . . In the law execution of a legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

To prove a Resisting charge at trial, the prosecution must establish the following four elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant resisted, obstructed, or opposed a law enforcement officer;
2. At the time, the officer was engaged in the execution of legal process or the lawful execution of a legal duty;
3. The officer was a person legally authorized to execute process; and
4. At the time, the defendant knew that the person resisted, obstructed, or opposed was in fact an officer or other person legally authorized to execute process.

In other words, police are allowed to arrest you for even looking at them cross-eyed. we live in a police state.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@rojo I watched the video. Incredible. The cop is a mental case.

Where was the cop going that he needed the ambulance to yield? If it was so critical why did he have the time to waste on that nonsense? He should be fired.

Thanks goodness for cameras.

stanleybmanly's avatar

O yes. It happens ALL the time. It’s the charge they can cuff you for when there’s nothing else. Anything from “Fuck you, pig!” to “no need to rough me up”, to “these cuffs are too tight” can be interpreted as “resistance”.

zenvelo's avatar

@stanleybmanly You don;t even need to be that demonstrative:

Even seemingly minor actions by a suspect or arrestee can form the basis of a Resisting Arrest allegation in Florida. Tensing your arms while being handcuffed, not obeying verbal commands, refusing to stand up, refusing to put your hands behind your back, giving information deemed to be false or misleading, presenting invalid identification, concealing evidence, refusing to leave when required, evading police when there is reasonable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, and inciting others to interfere with police activities can all form the basis of a Resisting Without Violence.

Even words, by themselves, can support a Resisting Officer / Arrest Without Violence charge. Florida courts have identified three scenarios under which words alone are sufficient, including where the officer in question is (1) serving process, (2) legally detaining a person, or (3) asking for assistance.

All from

rojo's avatar

@zenvelo If an officer says “help me change this tire on my police car” and you say “No” that is sufficient for a resisting charge? Scary stuff.

rojo's avatar

@LuckyGuy filming a cop in the performance of his duty is a totally ‘nother ball o’ wax and in many states illegal if there is not a law stating that it is ok.

zenvelo's avatar

@rojo You might get off as not guilty in that instance (unless there was a pressing emergency and the cop needed to use his car as soon as possible). But you can still be arrested and have to go through the criminal justice system.

kritiper's avatar

No, that’s redundant. Resisting arrest is an additional charge.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s what I thought too, but that isn’t always the case. Read the article Rojo linked (first response.)

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The secret formula for avoiding arrest:

1) Stay on the right side of the law.
2) Be polite to and cooperate with police officers. Stay calm and rational throughout.
3) Be white, educated, and in the middle class or above.

Yep, #3 can be the tough one.

jca's avatar

There was just the death of Eric Garner in NYC a few weeks ago. He was a large black guy, selling “loosies” on the street. Loosies are loose cigarettes, obviously in violation of the law. The cops put him in a choke hold to take him down, and he was saying “I can’t breathe” and then he died. The coroner just ruled it a homicide. If you look at the video (yes, someone videoed it) he had his hands up and they jumped on him anyway. Now the cops are facing serious charges and jail time.

rojo's avatar

@jca the person that took the vid has been arrested, as has is wife, on unrelated charges certainly but it sure looks like a vendetta from my point of view.

jca's avatar

@rojo: Yeah I heard that. An interesting point, with the choke hold (maybe worthy of a Fluther question). If the cops have a 350 pound guy that needs to be taken down (whether or not this guy needed a take-down is another story) and they don’t want to taze him, how do they do it, if not by the head?

zenvelo's avatar

@jca They use Arm-bar techniques. Safer all around.

rojo's avatar

There is a different hold, called LVNR still around the neck, that leaves the airway free while cutting of the blood supply to the brain causing the person to quickly pass out.

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