New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton told New York state lawmakers on Wednesday that he wants to upgrade the charge of resisting arrest from a misdemeanor to a felony.
“I think a felony would be very helpful in terms of raising the bar significantly in the penalty for the resistance of arrest,” Commissioner Bratton told reporters after the hearing with lawmakers, noted Observer.com.
“We need to get around this idea that you can resist arrest," added Commissioner Bratton. "You can’t. You just can’t do it. It results in potential injuries to the officer, to the suspect. And we need to change that, and the way to change that is to start penalties for it."
WNYC reported in December 2014 that there have been 51,503 cases of resisting arrest made by the NYPD since 2009, and almost 3/4 of those arrests were made by only 15 percent of NYPD officers.
According to Sam Walker, a retired criminal justice professor from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, police officers across the country are charging people for resisting arrest as an excuse for using force.
"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," Walker told WNYC. "Why did the officer use force? Well, the person was resisting arrest."
Commissioner Bratton recently made the news when he announced his intention to use a new anti-terrorism unit (armed with machine guns) on protesters, which the NYPD later retracted, reported RT.com.
Civil rights activists were often charged with resisting arrest in the 1960s, but under Commissioner Bratton's new plan present day activists could do jail time in a state prison with murderers.
Sources: RT.com, WNYC, Observer.com
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