NYPD wants to reclassify resisting arrest as a felony

AUTODIDACT 17 | 2/19/2015, 9:27 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 4, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch urged state legislators to increase the ...
Protester getting arrested at a Dec., 2014 anti-police violence rally in Harlem (Bill Moore photo)

Wednesday, Feb. 4, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch urged state legislators to increase the penalty for resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.

This decision outraged many within the inner-city, whose concerns of coming in contact with cops is already heightened. They contend that the two city officials are primarily doing this to continue criminalizing a generation of Black and Hispanic males, support the prison-industrial complex and mask police brutality and police terrorism.

“There’s a widespread pattern in American policing where resisting arrest charges are used to sort of cover—and that phrase is used—the officer’s use of force,” explained law enforcement expert and retired University of Nebraska-Omaha criminal justice professor Sam Walker. “Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest.”

It is common knowledge in urban environments that police routinely slap the ambiguous “resisting arrest” charge on anyone and everyone to shield their racial profiling. Some reporters have documented this at an array of protests they have covered.

Bratton said he’s pushing the upgrade so that New York residents “get around this idea that you can resist arrest. You can’t. You must submit to arrest, you cannot resist. The place to argue your case is in the court, not in the streets.”

If approved, you could become a felon simply by refusing to be stopped and frisked or physically abused and kidnapped by cops during this next stage of this police state. Some are concerned that it may cause prisons to be more packed and push the American public to erupt.

Reclassifying “resisting arrest” as a felony would mean sterner sentences. The penalty could rise from a maximum one-year incarceration to anything between four years probation and life imprisonment. Additionally, those convicted would be deprived of the right to vote.

Lynch also recommended enhanced penalties for public protestors, suggesting the Legislature make assaulting police during a public assembly a Class B felony, which could lead to a 25-year term in prison.

“We believe this change in law is necessary to deter the type of conduct we saw during last month’s demonstrations,” Lynch stated in a prepared remark.

Some say that the new proposals are the result of the months of angry demonstrations across the country protesting police executions of unarmed Black men with impunity. They feel politicians are empowering police to destroy more lives. Additionally, some analysts suggest that overly aggressive cops often use resisting arrest claims to shield the behavior.

A 2014 New York report from WNYC revealed that 40 percent of resisting arrests cases are brought about by just 5 percent of the police force.

Last September, a New York Times article quoted an anonymous police official as saying the NYPD was tracking cops who draw an extremely high number of resisting arrests charges as a red flag for use of excessive force.

“If resisting arrest is a reasonable indicator of the use of force, department statistics for 2013 suggest that officers used force more regularly than indicated on arrests reports,” the article stated. “In 2012, there were 12,453 arrests that included charges of resisting arrests, about 3.1 percent of all arrests, thousands more than the total number of recorded use of force.”