| In practice, the effects of this charge disturbingly fall on undeserving victims. Strangely, people can be charged with nothing else but resisting arrest – meaning that there only crime was resisting arrest. This makes little sense. In essence, there was no reason to arrest them, but since they resisted their wrongful arrest, they are now criminals.

The California Penal code (§148) defines Resisting/Delaying/Obstructing an Officer or Emergency Medical Technician as follows:

“Every person who willfully resists, delays or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician…in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment….”

This law is somewhat vague, and assumes that officers “in the discharge or attempt to discharge” their duty are always doing the right thing. Herein lies the problem. In fact, sometimes officers do harass people for absolutely no reason, and when people rightfully resist, the officers use the “resisting arrest” charge as a subjugation or punishment for resisting their authority.

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). Read More

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