More Power For Bad Cops: NYPD Head Supports Raising 'Resisting Arrest' To A Felony

from the only-a-felon-would-resist-arrest-because-resisting-arrest-is-a-felony dept

Here’s a horrifying statement:

Asked whether the penalty for resisting arrest should be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony, [NYPD Commissioner Bill] Bratton said he supported the idea.

“We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest,” Bratton reiterated to reporters after the hearing. “One of the ways to do that is to give penalties for that.”

The most half-baked “weapon” in any policeman’s arsenal should never be raised to the level of a felony. “Resisting arrest” is the charge brought when bad cops run out of better ideas. This truism runs through nearly every law enforcement agency in the country. When you take a look at videographers and photographers who have been arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights (and backed by a DOJ statement), you’ll see plenty of “resisting arrest” charges.

When a San Francisco public defender tried to head off a detective who wanted to question and photograph her client without her permission, she was arrested for “resisting arrest.”

When someone has been brutalized by the police, the words “resisting arrest” are repeated nearly as frequently as the mantra that accompanies every taser deployment and baton swing (“stop resisting”). Resisting arrest is a dodge that makes bad cops worse and marginal cops bad.

Turning resisting arrest into a felony shouldn’t happen anywhere. But perhaps especially not in New York City. A WNYC investigation turned up these damning statistics. (via Vox)

WNYC analyzed NYPD records and found 51,503 cases with resisting arrest charges since 2009. Just five percent of officers who made arrests during that period account for 40% of resisting arrest cases — and 15% account for almost 3/4 of such cases.


If resisting arrest was a legitimate charge, the distribution would be much more even. But it isn’t. It’s a charge that’s used most by abusive cops — and law enforcement agencies know it.

Many policing experts consider charges of resisting arrest to be the best broad measure of use of force in arrests. The department has tracked charges of resisting arrest as a way of identifying officers who may use excessive force, said a former senior department official who insisted on anonymity because he still works in law enforcement.

To turn this into a felony is to grant bad cops a longer leash — and allows them to do much more damage. Not only will the victims of excessive force have to deal with injuries and psychological trauma, they may also find their futures severely disrupted by a felony charge that will follow them around for years.

The protests following the clearing of the officer involved in Eric Garner’s death, followed shortly thereafter by the murder of two NYPD officers by a civilian, have turned the NYPD against the public. Bratton’s support of this abhorrent idea makes it clear he’s willing to put more power in the hands of his worst officers. However bad he feels the situation is now, this action will only make things worse. The answer lies in greater accountability from the NYPD, not additional punishments for members of the public.

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Comments on “More Power For Bad Cops: NYPD Head Supports Raising 'Resisting Arrest' To A Felony”

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61 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They’ll probably do something like making up another thing on the spot that is not defined by law to get away without consequence, like calling it false assumption or sonething…….dont you know, they cant be seen to look bad, might shatter the illusion, pro stuff only chap, sweep the bad under the rug incase the peasants clock on…

Cal (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All that happened was the NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton confirmed that he already committed a felony because breaking the lawfully required Oath is a felony.

Resisting arrest is what is actually called “color of law”, it is a pretend law put into place by someone who is supposedly acting with the authority of state. It is the misuse of power only made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state, and the people are too ignorant to realize that no one who serves within our nation – federal or state was given that authority.

The US Constitution, basically, is our government put into writing on a document so that those who are put into place to carry out the duties assigned by it cannot use the excuse that the do not understand exactly what their authority and duties of the branch they occupy are.

It matters not if they are elected, hired, contracted, volunteer, etc those are the ONLY duties they can lawfully carry out, and it IS the contract they are under.

They get by with what they do because most people anymore are too ignorant of what our government is (constitutional republic), what duties and authority those who serve within them (yes plural, federal and state governments concurrently – NOT as one) are assigned, and that they cannot lawfully step out of those boundaries.

This quote below is why we are having the problems with the domestic enemies, traitors and foreign enemies to the USA.

Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution: “Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence…Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”

Those who wished to destroy the idea that all men are equal have considered our nation an abomination and a major threat to their own powers. Once others in the world realized that they also can make the choice our forefathers did, those who believe they are superior by birthright, and the social strata they were born into would lose – forever.

The internet has proven to be a bigger threat, but they would have no longer had the power to destroy us, control the world – NWO/One world government (new names same old idea) without dumbing down Americans.

What happens is up to us. It has always been so.

Cal (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It is a felony.

They broke their Oath, which is a felony, and in some instances more then one, plus perjury, etc. The right to resist unlawful arrest IS a constitutional one. The US Constitution is the supreme LAW of this land that ALL laws, regulations, treaties, etc – state and federal are required to follow to be lawful here in OUR country.

It stems from the right of every person to his bodily integrity and liberty of movement, which are among the most fundamental of all natural rights.

Article VI, Clause 2 of the US Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The Constitution of the United States of America and all laws, bills, treaties, etc that are IN PURSUANCE THEREOF are the Supreme Law of this land, NOT those who serve within the federal government. The Supremacy Clause of Article VI does NOT declare that laws passed by the federal government are the supreme law of the land, period. What it says is that the “laws of the United States made in pursuance” of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land. So if the federal government is carrying out the duties assigned it by the US Constitution in a constitutional manner they are supreme. That is the ONLY time they are supreme.

42 USC § 1983 – Civil action for deprivation of rights: Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable.

5 U.S.C. 3331, provides the text of the actual oath of office the three branches of our government, the military, all law enforcement, the heads of the States, all federal employees are required to take before assuming office.

5 U.S.C. 3333 requires the three branches of our government, the military, all law enforcement, the heads of the States, all federal employees sign an affidavit that they have taken the oath of office required by 5 U.S.C. 3331 and have not or will not violate that oath of office during their tenure of office as defined by the third part of the law

18 U.S.C. 1918 provides penalties for violation of oath of office described in 5 U.S.C. 7311 which include: (1) removal from office and; (2) confinement or a fine.

5 U.S.C. 7311 which explicitly makes it a federal criminal offense for anyone employed in the United States Government to “advocate the overthrow of our constitutional form of government”.

The definition of “advocate” is further specified in Executive Order 10450 which for the purposes of enforcement supplements 5 U.S.C. 7311.

Executive Order 10450 provision specifies it is a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311 for any person taking the oath of office to advocate “the alteration … of the form of the government of the United States by unconstitutional means.”
Our form of government is defined by the Constitution of the United States.

Thus, according to Executive Order 10450 (and therefore 5 U.S. 7311) any act taken by government officials who have taken the oath of office prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 3331 which alters the form of government other then by amendment, is a criminal violation of the 5 U.S.C. 7311.

28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

“An officer who acts in violation of the constitution ceases to represent the government.” Brookfield Construction Company V. Stewart 284 F Sup. 94

The advent of governmental professional policing has endangered important rights, lives, and property of the American people. This” changing balance of power” between police and private citizens now revels itself by the unlawful power of modern police to easily use violence against the population, and to use unlawful arrest techniques with no consequences.

Professional police as we know them today originated in American cities during the second quarter of the nineteenth century, when municipal governments drafted citizens to maintain order. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, police forces took on the role of crime-fighting. The goal of maintaining public order became secondary to chasing lawbreakers. The police cultivated a perception that they were public heroes who “fought crime” in the general, rather than individual sense.

This “new” role followed the law enforcement model developed in England. Our country had cut its ties with England to develop our own form of government with LESS governmental involvement in the affairs of the people. The “new” law enforcement was incorporating MORE government into the affairs of the people against the US Constitution as is done in England.

The 1920s saw the rise of law enforcements new concepts developed and spread by J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI came to to be a perfect example of “police”. They represented how to expand the police profession in its sleuth and intelligence-gathering role. FBI agents infiltrated mobster organizations, intercepted communications between suspected criminals, and gathered intelligence for both law enforcement and political purposes.

This very new view of police as” soldiers combating against crime”quickly became very popular law enforcement agencies of both the feds and the states. The FBI assisted local police to develop integrated repositories of fingerprint, criminal, and fraudulent check records. The FBI took over the gathering of crime statistics (which used to be gathered by private associations). Then the idea of governmental professional law enforcement as a “thin blue line,” that “serves and protects” civilized society from lawlessness was pushed to change the way individuals saw their own duty as the Militia versus a professional governmental law enforcement.

The treatment of law enforcement in the courts shows that the law itself of crime control has hugely changed. Under the common law, there was no difference whatsoever between the privileges, immunities, and powers of law enforcement and those of private citizens. Professional governmental law enforcement were literally and figuratively clothed in the same garments as everyone else and faced the same liabilities — civil and criminal — as everyone else under identical circumstances.

When the USA started delegating their constitutionally required law enforcement duties to the professional governmental law enforcement, the laws were then relaxed to allow police to execute warrantless felony arrests upon information received from 3rd parties. Since the information received could not be confirmed, the Professional governmental law enforcement could no longer be required to be “right” all of the time, so the rule of strict liability for false arrest was lost.

This has had the effect of depriving Americans of the certainty of guilt when warrantless arrests are committed against the populace. Plus judges now consider only if there was “reasonable grounds” to suspect a person, rather than “actual guilt” in committing a crime by those doing the (illegal here) warrantless and no knocks on peoples homes. This, combined with greater deference to the “state” in most law enforcement matters has reversed and gone against the supreme law of our land that they all are sworn to support and defend. It has reversed the original intent and purpose of American law enforcement that the state act against stern limitations and at its own peril, Americans now have fewer assurances that they are free from unreasonable arrests, and no way to recover the damages caused from false arrests under the “color of law” being perpetuated on the people.

The differences between the “privileges” of citizens and professional governmental law enforcement have grown rapidly wider in the twentieth century. State and federal lawmakers now give them expansive immunities from firearm laws, plus from laws regulating the use of equipment (scanners, body armor, and infrared scopes) while trying to tighten up and do away with those natural rights belonging to US citizens and those lawfully allowed to be here.
Legislatures also exempted professional governmental law enforcement from day to day expenses and annoyances such as toll road charges, auto registration, and even exempted police from fireworks regulations, and giving them confidential telephone numbers; some even practice “professional courtesy” – exempting off duty police from things as speed limits, etc. Police are also protected by other statutory immunities and protections that the common person here no longer has such as mandatory death sentences for defendants who murder them, etc.

Officers who illegally eavesdrop, wiretap, or intrude upon privacy are now protected by a statutory (as well as case law) “good faith” defense. Private citizens who do so face up to five years in prison. The tendency of legislatures to equip police with ever-expanding rights, privileges and powers has, if anything, been strengthened rather than limited by the courts as the US Constitution requires of the judges within the courts – state and federal.

This growing power differential goes against the principles of equal citizenship that is the bedrock of this nation. The great principle of the American Revolution was, after all, the doctrine of limited government. Advocates of the Bill of Rights saw the chief danger of government as the inherently aristocratic and disparate power of government authority, so wrote in immunities (natural rights) of the people from those in government overreaching themselves against the people. Constitutions – state and federal – specify the principle that all men are “equally free” and that all government is derived from the people.

The has had the effect of depriving Americans of certainty in the executions of warrantless arrests. For instance judges now consider only the question of whether there was “reasonable grounds” to suspect a person rather than whether then the guilt of the person of any crime. Unsubstantiated “third party” information can occasion that people are arrested without any evidence as required by the US Constitution. This loss has reversed the original intent and purpose of American law enforcement that the state act against stern limitations at its own peril. Because arrest has unlawfully become the near exclusive province of governmental professional police instead of the Militia’s Americans have fewer assurances that they are free from unreasonable arrests.

This unconstitutional disparity between the rights and powers of police and citizen shows up most in the modern law of “resisting arrest”. Any US citizen could resist arrest if probable cause for arrest did not exist or the arresting person could not produce a valid arrest warrant where one was needed as individual liberty is the bedrock of our constitutional republic.

It wasn’t that long ago that the United States Supreme Court held that it was permissible (or defensible) to shoot an officer who displays a gun with intent to commit a warrantless arrest based on insufficient cause. Officers who executed an arrest without proper warrant were themselves considered trespassers, and the owners had a right to violently resist (or even assault and batter) an officer to evade such an unlawful arrest.

Well into the twentieth century, violent resistance was considered a lawful remedy for Fourth Amendment violations. Even any third-party person who voluntarily assisted were lawfully able to forcibly assist to liberate wrongly arrested persons from unlawful custody.

By the 1980s many states had unlawfully eliminated the common law right of resistance for the people in order to make it easier for professional governmental law enforcement to do the work of the state. They unlawfully criminalized resisting of arrest or anything else by the general populace of any “officer” acting in his official capacity. Then they eliminated the requirement that an arresting officer present his warrant at the scene, PLUS drastically decreased the number and types of arrests for which a warrant is required. Basically destroying the basis of our legitimate government, and the level of protection given to us by, and put into place by the Framers into the US Constitution and state Constitutions.

“Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart.” Justice Robert Jackson, Chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials

The Nazi’s in Germany was tried here – Nuremberg. This is also where was put into writing those who serve within governments are not allowed to use the excuses of “just doing their jobs” or “just following orders” to excuse the crimes they committed.

That was created because if they had not “just done their jobs” or “just followed orders”, that episode in history would not have happened. The same for those who was “just doing their jobs” or “just following orders” for Stalin’s country-wide elimination of undesirables, Pol Pot, Amin, Bosnian Serb massacre, the massacre of helpless villagers in the Sudan by government forces, the “land-reform” executions of landlords in the Soviet Union, the Khmer Rouge, etc, etc, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

somebody make a citizens arrest on an officer…..just on the off chance that MAYBE one or two brain cells might collide with one another and they realise how stupid they are

Or are they gonna be even more stupid to suggest that their immune to the laws they pass and that nobody outside this exclusive group gets a say in those laws

Fking morons

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And its fking disgusting to hear some folks stand there and wonder why their getting so much hate, which implies that theres nothing wrong that people are getting worked up over nothing………no, were starting to get fed up with the whole bunch of “nothings”………that never get reported by the channels that consistantly show a pro imperialistic agenda…….long live the empire, kill every thing else that opposes our reign, long live the leader, long live our way or the highway, death to all opposition regardless if their might actually be better and more peacefull, we’d be out of our cushy jobs then sic /s sic

Heres a great fking example boys in blue…….and its not the ONLY example, theres a damn list, you’ll be your own downfall unless you change your imperialistic ideaologies

Anonymous Coward says:

“We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest,”

YOU need to get past the point that your position does not make you right or justified 100% of the time……what your condoning aswell as what you think your condoning, is an authority to basically do what you want irregardless of right or wrong or moral justification

I dont want a future were we need a perpetual policing force as this mentallity will no doubt guarantee a dependancy on one……i dont want to see people FORCED to do the right thing for everyone, i want to see people WANT to do the right thing for everyone……..that will never happen with a force mentality, as a system of force against ones will will naturally breed opposition…….you are force and opposition is your by product…….you need to start understanding that………this stofy shows me that you dont

Anonymous Coward says:

The protests following the clearing of the officer involved in Eric Garner’s death, followed shortly thereafter by the murder of two NYPD officers by a civilian, have turned the NYPD against the public.

You mean those have made the NYPD stop pretending it’s on the side of anyone other than themselves. They’ve been against the public for years now.

Anonymous Coward says:

There is no need to increase the penalty, because resisting arrest — legitimately no-holds-barred resisting arrest — already carries the death penalty, as we’ve seen with Michael Brown in Ferguson. There are many examples of people who get into a fistfight/wrestling match with the arresting cop and end up being shot dead. And whenever that happens, the standard “he tried to grab my gun” excuse often gets attached, even when video shows the victim’s hands got nowhere near any gun.

Of course, many people feel that anyone who actively fights a cop (whether offensively or defensively) deserves whatever punishment they get, including death, and the cops are entitled to administer some “Street Justice” as they see fit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Question:

The WNYC.org link doesn’t have much in the way of statistics than what is listed in the article above.

Does the study also break down “resisting arrest” charges by unit?

I imagine too that there were a lot of resisting arrest charges brought during the OWS protests, that might disproportionately skew the numbers for the officers involved.

Though I imagine that the statistics for “had to defend against violence lawsuits” would be interesting to see as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Question:

One thing I noticed from watching protests is that any protester who is overcome with chemical weapons that were applied indiscrimately on a large crowd, that person is targeted for arrest. Charged with “failure to disperse” (due to being blinded by chemicals) and of course the obligatory “resisting” arrest.

So it’s interesting that the police prefer to pick the low-handing fruit.

Anonymous Coward says:

“she was arrested for ‘resisting arrest.'”

How can someone be arrested solely for resisting arrest? In order for them to resist an arrest you have to be arresting them for something else in the first place. This is some crazy circular argument. Either I’m missing something or the world was gone mad, like, Alice in Wonderland mad.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: It's the second one

What you’re missing is that to be charged with resisting arrest, you don’t actually have to be resisting arrest, since the term would more accurately be described as ‘Misdemeanor/Felony Contempt of Cop’.

Basically it’s the charge they bring out when you don’t grovel enough, or they feel like pretending to be big boys and throwing their weight around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: It's the second one

Good deal for cops that love recursion and work in states with three-strikes laws:

Cop: I’m going to arrest you for resisting arrest.
Civilian: You can’t do that. It’s nonsensical.
Cop: Did you say ‘no’? Resisting the resisting arrest arrest!
Civilian: Are you crazy!? Get away from me!
Cop: Resisting arrest for resisting the arrest for resisting arrest. Boom! Life sentence!

How to go from pedestrian to career criminal in 30 seconds.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Just for the record, a year and a half or so later: my understanding is that this is actually a quirk in the local law. More specifically, nder the law of that state, the “refusing to obey lawful order of a police officer” statute is also the “resisting arrest” statute – and, consequently, any arrest for “refusing to obey lawful order” is classified under the law as “resisting arrest”.

Padpaw (profile) says:

Re: Re:

the whole government is corrupt from the top to the bottom. There might be about 5-10% that are honest but compared to the rest its hard to see.

They see their leaders getting away with breaking the laws, so they figure they can as well. What do you know 99% of the time they get away with acting like criminals instead of police officers

Reality bites (profile) says:

Re: Re: Maybe 5 to 10% decades ago.

The last good cop left decades previously, the recruitment requirements limiting intelligence level and the social conditioning system, you end up with mindless automatons that simply act out their given orders without humanity nor intelligence.

Ask them a question and watch the eyes twirl in hopelessness.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Brilliant, make contempt of cop a felony…

The police in that city are obviously in full panic mode, and are lashing out like crazy against a rightfully angry and distrustful public, and rather than trying to calm them down and make amends, getting the public back on their side, they are instead ratcheting things up more and more, to the point where I’d almost suspect they’re doing it on purpose, because really, they can’t be that stupid can they?

Anonymous Coward says:

Won't anyone think of the cops?

Every day there are police officers with bruised fists they have gotten from someones face, strained arm muscles from choke-holds, tedious requisitions for new batons, tazers and ammo they have been forced to use against unwieldy citizens who exercise those pesky “rights” they are so fond of.
I am telling you: being a cop is exhausting enough with billions of criminals walking around each day. Cops deserve the reward of watching those who rub them the wrong way, with the gift of surviving the encounter, to at least see them get as much of their life ruined as possible.
It is only fair.
Don’t be selfish… think of those poor officers.

Just Another Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Re:

But in all seriousness, there’s no need for resisting arrest to be a felony. Felonies are major crimes. If they actively fight the officer and by divine providence survive, then they can be charged with assaulting a police officer, which is a felony. At best, making resisting arrest a felony will turn minor criminals into felons for no good reason. At worst, which is likely, it will be massively abused for cops to easily turn citizens they don’t like into felons with a wave of their magic baton of STOP RESISTING onto your head.

Anonymous Coward says:

Among the *many* problems with "resisting arrest" charges

Generally, the law fails to adequately define, and almost universally the cops fail to apply, any common sense as to what should constitute “resisting (legitimate) arrest.” To wit, if the cop grabs you from behind and tries to cuff you, without specifically stating that you are under arrest, and you react to being grabbed from behind, that’s often taken as “resisting arrest” even if you couldn’t reasonably know that you were being assaulted by a police officer in the course of his legitimate duties. Similarly, as mentioned sarcastically above, any verbal response the cops don’t like is considered “resisting arrest” even if it is nothing more than confusion or an attempt to talk the cop out of it.

The proper definition for “resisting arrest” would be that a reasonable observer, having heard all statements made by the officer (in a language appropriate to the arrestee or to the area – no Latin, no using Russian in America, but OK to use French in France, even if the arrestee is not French), would conclude that the arrestee should know he/she is under arrest, has had an opportunity to surrender peacefully, and has taken physical actions inconsistent with surrender (running away, fighting back, etc.). Verbal dispute, if not backed up by action, does not count under this definition.

Nate Piper (profile) says:

Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight is basic human nature. If you are grabbed by an officer your natural reaction will be to try to get out of that grip either by hitting back or pulling away. Fight or flight is not even a conscience decision. A conscience decision is to allow an officer to arrest you. The only way you can make that conscience decision is for the officer tell you explicitly that you are under arrest. Grabbing a person while saying you are under arrest will automatically trigger the fight or flight response.

What the NYPD commissioner is trying to do is make your automatic fight or flight response a felony. Good luck trying to outlaw that.

Anonymous Coward says:

So if I remember current, and not so current events, an NYPD officer would be able to:

– Lie about who they are.
– Arrest you for laws that don’t exist.
– Have wide discretion to charge you with a felony, for protesting against that fact.
– When all else fails, apply deadly force, and be put through a process that is meant to apply everyone equally, but is biased in their favor.

*sigh*

BrenBart (profile) says:

RE: 5%

Although it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the majority of the Resisting Arrest charges came from a minority of the officers I am always somewhat suspicious of the simplicity of an infographic.

How many of the NYPD officers in that statistic actually work out on the street? If a significant percentage of the 60% of those who never file resisting arrest charges have desk jobs then that would present a very different picture.

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