It's no secret that "resisting arrest" is the go-to excuse for violence committed against suspects by corrupt cops -- it's practically a running gag.
But if NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton gets his way, resisting arrest will offer near-perfect impunity to his force's most violent and sleazy officers, who will be able to threaten anyone who complains about gratuitous violence during arrests with long prison sentences and felony records.
The Commission has suggested that he will be able to curb abuses of the new powers by having the police investigate fellow officers who lay higher-than-average resisting arrest charges in the course of their duties.
In theory, a resisting arrest charge allows the state to further punish suspects who endanger the safety of police officers as they're being apprehended; in practice, it gives tautological justification to cops who enjoy roughing people up. Why did you use force against that suspect, officer? Because she was resisting arrest. How do I know you're telling the truth? Because I charged her with it, sir.
Consider a few recent would-be felons:
* Chaumtoli Huq, former general counsel to NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, who was charged with resisting arrest for waiting for her family outside the Times Square Ruby Tuesday's.
*Jahmil-El Cuffee, who was charged with resisting arrest after he found himself on the receiving end of a head-stomp from a barbarous cop because he was allegedly rolling a joint. ("Stop resisting!" cops screamed at him as he lay helpless, pinned under a pile of officers.)
*Denise Stewart, who was charged with resisting arrest after a gang of New York's Finest threw her half-naked from her own apartment into the lobby of her building. (They had the wrong apartment, it turned out.)
*Santiago Hernandez, who was charged with resisting arrest after a group of cops beat the shit out of him following a stop-and-frisk. "One kicks me, he steps back. Another one comes to punch me and he steps back...They were taking turns on me like a gang," Hernandez told reporters.
*Eric Garner, who no doubt would have been charged with resisting had the chokehold from Daniel Pantaleo not ended his life first.
NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon [Andy Cush/Gawker]
(Image: An incident at 133rd Street and Seventh Avenue during the Harlem riot of 1964 , Dick DeMarsico, New York World Telegraph & Sun, Public Domain)
(via Making Light)